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Cilantro yogurt chicken is delicious and nutritious

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Yogurt is one of those foods that just keeps on giving. It’s super nutritious, delicious, and versatile. Greek yogurt is a popular choice these days and it’s easy to make it yourself. Its creamy richness makes it great for recipes (substitute for sour cream), a perfect topping for everything from oatmeal to chili, and a terrific food on its own, but any type of plain yogurt will work in this recipe. One serving of yogurt gives you nearly half of your RDA of calcium and over half of your vitamin B12. Many yogurts also contain powerful probiotics such as acidophilus (read those labels!) that help boost your immune system, particularly good for battling yeast imbalance and harmful bacteria.

Considering all the health benefits in the yogurt alone, it’s tough to beat this tongue-tingling trio of yogurt, chicken, and fresh cilantro that you can prepare in under an hour. Serve it with rice or pasta and steamed vegetables or your favorite fresh fruit. It makes great leftovers on its own or as a tasty filling for pita pockets or tortillas.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast (free-range and hormone-free if possible)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cups chopped fresh cilantro
  • Seasoned salt
  • Lemon pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Olive oil (optional for browning)

Putting it all together

Browning the chicken before baking isn’t necessary, but I think it makes for a richer flavor. If you choose to brown it first, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil or chicken fat in a large skillet to medium high. Season both sides of each chicken piece with some seasoned salt and lemon pepper (regular salt and pepper also work well). Carefully place them in the skillet (the hot oil and moisture from the chicken can create splattering) and brown for a minute or two on each side. If using an iron skillet or other oven-safe pan you can use it for baking as well. If not, remove the pieces to a greased 8x8” baking dish.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, onion and about 1 cup of the cilantro. Pour it over the chicken and top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in one of the biggest pieces—juices should run clear, but be careful not to overcook. Top with the remaining chopped cilantro just before serving.

Serves 3 to 4

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