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Grilled Chicken Change Up: Southwestern Style

At our house, we L-O-V-E grilling. Since we live in a townhome, our grill happily lives in our garage. That means that all it takes to make a meal is to wheel the grill out a few feet and light it up. How convenient!


blog_image by Amanda

blog_image by Amanda



At our house, we L-O-V-E grilling. Since we live in a townhome, our grill happily lives in our garage. That means that all it takes to make a meal is to wheel the grill out a few feet and light it up. How convenient!

Rain, shine, snow or sleet (just read about our Burg-a-lation Celebration in winter and you’ll know we mean business!) Ryan, the grill master, is willing to brave the elements for that flavorful – healthy! – grilled main course.

Naturally, we rely on some basic grilling staples. We also gravitate towards new marinades when we’re grocery shopping. But, all this grilling means that we sometimes fall into a rut. We need new recipes to spice things up. And if that recipe is fast? All the better. That’s where this Southwestern Grilled Chicken Sandwich was such a pleasant surprise. With just some simple seasoning and a ridiculously easy spread, you have a distinctly different meal – set apart from the barbeque, teriyaki and Italian variations of grilled chicken.

To make this quick, tasty meal, start by heating your gas grill on medium or warm your charcoal grill until the coals are ash white. While that’s going on, you’ll be pounding your chicken. Admittedly, this seemed like an unnecessary step to me – I had never pounded chicken before. But, here’s what I loved about it in the end: your sandwich is even! You don’t bite into a giant chunk of chicken and nothing else. Your toppings don’t slide off. It’s great! I should have followed recipes sooner! And, as a bonus, your chicken will cook more evenly, so you may not be as likely to overcook your meat this time. Nice, huh?

That said, here’s how it works: just place a layer of waxed paper on your counter or cutting board, then place the chicken breasts on top. Layer one more waxed sheet over the chicken. You can pound your chicken with a meat mallet if you have one. Otherwise, the trusty frying pan will do the trick. Just hit the chicken repeatedly until it’s thinned to your desired thickness.


When you’re done, the chicken breasts should look nice and flat like this.


Sprinkle the southwest seasoning over the meat. I also rubbed the seasoning in a little.

A note for you ambitious seasoners out there: I have SO many herbs and seasonings in my cupboard, that I didn’t want to buy another container of southwest seasoning (although – admittedly – that would have made things even easier). Instead I did a little online research and found endless quantities of southwest seasoning combinations. So, if you want to have a little more control over the flavoring, consider mixing your own combination of chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, etc. You can customize until you get a flavor all your own!


Now throw the chicken breasts onto the grill, turning once, until cooked through and the juices run clear. About two minutes before they are finished, add the Monterey Jack Cheese for melting. You could also use your favorite cheese for grilled sandwiches like this.


In the meantime, whip up your simple spread of mayo (I used Light) and salsa. And for those of you who are not mayo fans, I will tell you this: my husband hates mayonnaise and he had no clue there was mayo in this spread. When we sat down to dinner, he wanted to know if there was extra “sauce” to top off his sandwich! I was tempted to make something up when he asked what the ingredients were…


Finally, your chicken should be coming off the grill and it’s time for assembly. Our take-and-bake ciabatta rolls were a little small, so we cut each chicken breast in half to make mini Southwestern Grilled Chicken Sandwiches. Add lettuce and the salsa spread and your meal is served!


These tasty little sliders were quick and flavorful. Ryan and I agreed that we will be making Southwestern Grilled Chicken Sandwiches again for a quick summer dinner or an evening with friends. Vine-ripened tomatoes would be an excellent seasonal addition, so we’re counting down the weeks until Granddad’s garden is in full swing!


Add this meal to your list of grilling go-to’s, then rate and review Southwestern Grilled Chicken Sandwiches.

Looking for a fun after-school snack for the kids? Come back in a few days when Liz will share a kid-approved snack mix.

Amanda is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.

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Southwestern Grilled Chicken Sandwiches Image
Southwestern Grilled Chicken Sandwiches