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Fajita Hasselback Chicken

This Hasselback Chicken is deceptively easy to make, gluten free, low carb, and utterly delicious!  The fajita chicken is slathered in a chili lime spice rub, stuffed with bell peppers and red onions then blanketed in Monterey Jack cheese and baked to golden, ooey gooey melty perfection.  This recipe includes the option to bake the chicken on top of a bed of rice/cauliflower rice, corn and beans so there are zero extra side to prepare or simply top the Hasselback Chicken with your fajita favorites like guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo.  You can prep the entire recipe ahead of time then refrigerate and bake when ready for a hypnotic blend your whole family will adore. 
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

CHICKEN AND VEGGIES

  • 4 6-8 oz. chicken breasts
  • 1/2 each red, yellow and green bell pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion (may not use all of it)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Cilantro (optional for serving)
  • Sour Cream (optional for serving)
  • Guacamole (optional for serving)

CHILI LIME WET RUB

RICE AND BEANS (OPTIONAL)

  • 2 cups cooked rice (any kind, including cauliflower)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes, drained (optional if not using chunky salsa)
  • 1 4 oz. can mild chopped green chiles
  • ¼ tsp EACH EACH salt, pepper

Instructions

  • Make 5-6 slits/pockets in each chicken breast 3/4 of the way through, about 1" apart; set aside. DO NOT cut through - keep the base of the chicken breasts intact.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the Chicken Lime Rub ingredients together. Pour the rub over the chicken in a small dish (I use an 8x8 baking dish). Turn the chicken a few times so it’s evenly coated. Let the chicken rest while you prep the veggies and rice (preferable 30-60 minutes at room temperature) or refrigerate up to 8 hours then bring to room temperature before cooking. Meanwhile:
  • Optional: Add all of the Rice and Beans ingredients to a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Stir to combine then spread into an even layer.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice bell peppers and red onion into very thin strips, about 1/8-inch thick. Stuff each slit with one slice of red onion and one red, green and yellow bell pepper. Line chicken overtop the rice mixture or in a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish if not using rice.
  • Bake (uncovered) at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is mostly cooked through. Add the cheese on top of the chicken and continue to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes OR until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through (reaches 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer). Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts, you may even need to cook an additional 15-20 minutes. I recommend using a digital instant read thermometer to know exactly when the chicken is done.
  • Serve chicken with optional garnishes such as guacamole, sour cream, cilantro and an extra squeeze of lime juice if desired.

Video

Notes

HOW TO MAKE AHEAD

  1. Completely assemble according to recipe directions but don’t add the cheese.
  2. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.  You don’t want to refrigerate longer because the lime juice can eat away at the chicken and make it mushy.
  3. When ready to bake, let the dish sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  4. Bake according to recipe directions, adding an additional 10 minutes to the cooking time.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT 

  • Storage: Store in airtight container for up to 5 days. 
  • Freezer:  I do not recommend freezing this dish because the bell peppers become a soggy, unpleasant texture once thawed.
  • Reheating leftovers:  Reheat in the microwave for 90 seconds then for 20 second intervals or in a skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through or bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes or until warmed through.