Pico De Gallo Chicken Skillet

Thin chicken breasts are seasoned and sauteed and then smothered with a quick winter version of pico de gallo salsa for a piquant, bright dinner.

Pico De Gallo Chicken Recipe

Predictably on Sunday, there was much consternation on the interwebs about the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. As clocks were thrust forward an hour, folks lamented the loss of sleep, the difficulty in adjusting schedules and the absurdity of holding onto a practice that is most commonly associated with farming in a country where fast and convenient have overtaken agrarian life.

With all due respect to my friends across the country, I kind of love Daylight Savings Time. I mean I really, really appreciate it. Here in Maine, where the longest days are longer than the ones experienced in Connecticut or Maryland or anywhere else they live, having the day start an hour later in June is a blessing. Waking up on my first morning living in Maine, I was shocked how early sunlight streamed in my windows … it was arresting to see it so bright so early. But it would have been even worse if it was an hour earlier.

And as someone who relies on natural light for photography, I am so happy to be able to shoot photos for this column in the evening hours again — it sure beats cooking at 6 am to capture the morning light.

And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be good for Maine’s farmers too — the ones who grow the potatoes, onions, carrots and other vegetable goodies that we’re digging into now while we wait for the summer harvest to begin.

Yep. I like Daylight Savings Time … even if others don’t.

Something else I really like right now: using thin chicken breasts to make flavorful chicken skillet dinners. You can purchase them already pounded-thin at the grocery store, which are so easy and convenient. Or you can pound them yourself using a meat mallet, an option that admittedly provides some much needed relief on the most stressful of days. If you’ve ever used a meat mallet, you probably know what I mean.

Chicken Skillet Recipe

Season the chicken breasts well — I usually opt for a simple seasoning of salt and pepper on both sides — and then cook them until browned in a skillet.

Now, to make them extra flavorful, a sauce adds a lot — and there are so many options. You could go for something Asian-inspired, like a sesame ginger sauce. Or you could smother them with sauteed mushrooms in a wine-chicken stock sauce. Or you could do what I’ve done here, and cover them with a homemade winterized pico de gallo.

Homemade Pico De Gallo

This is one we love.

Pico de gallo is a fresh, uncooked tomato salsa. But it’s winter and fresh tomatoes in Maine are … well, out of season. (To be fair, hydroponic tomatoes are available though.) So I trade fresh tomatoes for canned petite diced tomatoes for this recipe.

Pico De Gallo Chicken Skillet

Then the chicken cooks under the sauce a little more, until it’s cooked through and tender.

Once it’s done, serve it. This is delicious with avocado slices, and some flavorful rice. Or, shred it to top tostadas. And then enjoy. Good food is worth savoring.

Pico De Gallo Chicken

Pico De Gallo Chicken Skillet
Serves: serves 4
  • 1 lb thin-cut chicken breasts (or 1 lb chicken breasts, pounded thin)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 14.5-oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp finely diced fresh jalapeño
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  1. Season the chicken breasts all over with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until browned.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together the tomatoes (with juices), jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, red onion and lime juice. Pour over the chicken breasts. Cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
  3. Serve immediately.


How to Make an Easy Weeknight Dinner: Pico De Gallo Chicken Skillet

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is editor of Bangor Metro magazine and senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News. She is the author of "The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook," (Sept. 2018, Rockridge Press) and the co-author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains" (March 2015, DK). Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more. She also writes about food at www.sarahscucinabella.com.