Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

It’s safe to say that if Daniel and I ever split up, we both know whose fault it is. Alex Trebek.

We’re usually quite calm, big laughers, loving, a little like Laverne and Shirley, maybe. Only one of us is the masculine counterpart. So a lot like Laverne and Shirley. Generally, we’re making jokes at the world’s expense, I’m reprimanding pasta when its starchy water bubbles over the pot, Daniel is making promises to God in return for sports favors. Harmony on the whole.

But come 7:30 each evening, there is a marked difference in our den. You see, every night we play a lil’ ol’ game called Jeopardy. I bet the neighbors could tell you more about it than we can; the two of us so embroiled in game play that the outside world could be blown to smithereens and we’d still be positively wailing, “What are… THINGS THAT RHYME WITH SAILBOAT!!!”. The change in sounds booming from our apartment from 7:29 to 7:30 are like a flick of the radio dial from Mozart to gangsta rap. The explicit version.

We are stubborn, the two of us. Competitive in the way that pageant moms are on Toddlers and Tiaras. Both would sooner sign our bodies over to science than yield an inch of trivia territory. Let me put it this way, we’ve thought seriously about getting a voice recorder so we can replay answers when we’re unclear on who chimed in first. Guaranteed the voice recorder would be a pile of plastic parts next to the wall, two categories in.

The problem I find is this: Daniel is brilliant. Don’t tell him I said that. No seriously, please don’t. It’s true, though, I’ve never met anyone so intelligent in every way. One of the reasons I fell in love with him was for his genius. And that’s all well and good when we’re living our lives outside of the thirty minute time slot for Jeopardy. But once Alex starts reading those answers, Daniel is running categories and I’m rolling a snowball into a snowman of hatred. And while I consider myself to be smarter than a fourth grader (I make no promises about fifth graders), I’ve had to adapt to my Mensa competitor by using guerrilla game tactics. Darwin is smiling from the grave.

These tactics include, but are not limited to: shouting, crying, threatening, making obscene wagers and perhaps most effective, cooking. He wins: burnt toast. I win: Thanksgiving dinner. It’s best if I win, since I’m the mayor of the kitchen.

This dinner is one of the reasons our love can withstand Jeopardy. Chicken infused with the tartness of lime, bright notes of cilantro, and the fire of jalapeño. It is so moist and bold that one forkful into his mouth, Daniel forgot that I told him I hoped he’d never laugh again (sorry for that, Daniel). It’s made even more flavorful with a simple tomato-avocado salsa. Creamy, zesty, and cool. The whole meal conjures up the word ‘fresh’ in my mind. I served it with grilled vegetables, because the grill was hot and the timing was right and…anything that I can slightly blacken is a Daily Double in its own right.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

In the bowl of your food processor, combine lime

a big handful of fresh cilantro

Jalapeño pepper

Lime zest


And olive oil.

Pulse the mixture a few times to combine, until it is smooth.

Because I’m a little obscene about spice, I added some chili sauce in addition to the jalapeño. Very unnecessary for the rest of the world.

Pour the contents of your marinade over two boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a wide, shallow bowl.

Toss to coat. Cover and let the chicken marinate for at least 2 hours.

Now get your grill good and hot.

Might as well throw a few veggies on there while you’re at it. Toss them with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Grill them for about 5 minutes per side.

Toss your chicken on the grill. Cook them for 5-6 minutes per side.

The salsa that I used as a garnish was very simple. I tossed together: diced cherry tomatoes, minced red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, salt, and a few squeezes of lime juice.

And then added some diced avocado for creaminess’ sake.

I spooned the salsa on top of the chicken, and served it alongside the grilled peppers and onions.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

(serves 2)

  • 2 limes, juiced, plus 1 tsp zest
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 of a jalapeño pepper, sliced- ribs & seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz each)
  1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a food processor and pulse until smooth and well combined.
  2. Pour the marinade over the chicken breasts in a wide, shallow bowl (or in a large, sealable plastic bag), and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (but no more than 24).
  3. Preheat your gas grill- all burners set to medium. When the grill is hot, add your chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes per side.
  4. Serve with a simple homemade salsa.

Tomato Avocado Salsa

(serves 2, makes about 1  1/4 cups)

  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes OR 1 small vine ripe tomato
  • 2 TBSP minced red onion
  • 2 TBSP minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 TBSP minced jalapeño pepper
  • 1/3 of an avocado, diced
  • pinch salt
  • juice of 1 lime

Toss all ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes for flavors to blend. Use the salsa as a garnish or as a dip for tortilla chips.

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35 thoughts on “Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

  1. RhodeyGirl

    I used to consider myself really smart.. until I met my husband.

    He got an almost perfect score on his SAT’s.. AND he is a lawyer. I am screwed when it comes to any game shows, trivia games, strategy games, etc. Out of 20 chess games on our honeymoon.. I won ONE. Because he was hungry and sun sick. When it comes to fights I can never win because he is both rational and has the memory of a computer. It is quite frustrating.

    All that to say… I can relate to the Jeopardy issues ;)

  2. Cindy

    GAWD I love trivia shows too!

    my family refuses to buy Scene it too, because they know I will obliterate them!


    and I am Mayor of the Kitchen too! Well, I am KING!
    and they know it!

    LOVE your post today!!!! (and that chicken)

  3. Linda

    That whole meal is so colorful and reminds of summer. Well, I love mexican food, so food that contains avocado and cilantro are always good. :)

  4. Niki

    Neither me or my bf are smart enough to be able to get half the of answers (questions?) right combined… So we stick with Wheel of Fortune. I am a wordy kinda gal, so I usually win :)

  5. Megan

    Haha I don’t know how you do it! I am also very competitive and also really don’t like losing- thank goodness for leverage by way of culinary prowess! :)

    I have to say, I’m a little jealous that you’re still throwing grilled recipes out there- my condo association is working on our balconies and I had to haul my grill indoors. Wah.

  6. Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    I love this fresh summery recipe, but I’m still a little horrified at the mention of Toddlers and Tiaras – I’ve only just recently seen that for the first time and dear god, it’s so bad!!

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  8. Snowbird

    You are the reason I purchased WW this month. Photos are great!!! I just love the recipies on this site… problem. You don’t have the
    calorie counts! Please include that on any more of your recipies!! This weight for me is a shock! I used to weigh 100 lbs and if I got to 105 I knew I was pregnant!! Now following menopause, I’ve almost doubled my size. I’ve just got to do something. Thank you for your article.


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  11. LauraleeR

    This cilantro lime chicken was fantastic, easy, and my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Taking leftovers tomorrow to work to wrap up in a tortilla.

  12. chanel

    LOL!!!! Forget the recipe, this POST was golden!

    PS: I can relate, looove jeopardy, hate the Family Feud that follows (eh, eh, see what I did there? ;) )

  13. Pingback: Cilantro Lime Chicken | My Blog

  14. Pingback: Healthy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup | Can You Stay For Dinner?

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