When I was younger and we traveled to weird places to live and then came back stateside all jet-lagged and groggy, we often stayed with my mom’s parents for vacations and summers. I loved those times, because they often involved really long trips to Target or American Eagle to buy enough clothes and toiletries for entire years.
I love toiletry aisles so much it hurts sometimes.
Anyway, one thing I remember so vividly about that time in our lives was that my grandmother would always have some kind of casserole or crock pot dish waiting for us when we got to her house. She’d have made it early in the day so that when we got back from the airport she could stick it in the oven and feed us before someone face-planted fast asleep on the table.
Jet lag’s a bitch.
Anyway, this was one such meal that she made for us a lot when we stayed with our grandparents. It’s simple, flavorful, and healthy, so mama’s trying to get veggies in kids won, and kids not wanting to eat too many veggies won! Baked chicken and veggies with a homemade Mexican spice blend in salsa. YUM. Let’s do this.
Now bake! You can make the entire dish up to this point, stick it in the fridge, and bake it whenever you’d like. Bake the dish for 15 – 20 minutes (or longer if you use large pieces of chicken) until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly.
This is so simple, and hugely flavorful – wonderful for ANY dinner. I’ve eaten this with rice, like in these pictures, or with corn tortillas for wrapping, or just with lettuce and some lime juice on the side for a lighter option.
- 1 pound chicken tenders (8-12 chicken tenders)
- 2 bell peppers, any color, cut into chunks
- 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cup jarred salsa
- 8 ounces jarred tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt or seasoning salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F and and ovenproof skillet to medium-high with a drizzle of olive oil. Combine all the spices in a small bowl.
- When the skillet is hot, add the chicken in 1 layer with a sprinkle of the seasoning blend. Let the chicken cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip when chicken is brown. Brown on the second side, then remove to a plate. Brown the chicken in multiple batches if you need to.
- Add the vegetables to the hot skillet, and turn off the heat. Sprinkle the veggies with a bit more seasoning blend. Arrange the browned chicken on top of the vegetables, and pour the salsa and tomato sauce on top.
- Bake the skillet at 400F for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly. Serve with rice, salad, or any way you like.
- If you use larger pieces of chicken, increase the baking time to fully cook the chicken.
- If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, brown the meat in a skillet and set aside. Toss the veggies in the hot skillet to pick up any pan drippings, then arrange everything in a baking dish and bake until cooked through.