Salsa chicken

I came down this morning to get my lunch cooking and start a pot of coffee to discover my teapot in pieces in the sink. Spout missing, handle on the counter in three sections and a chunk missing from the top. Instant anger, both at myself and the evil feline who had destroyed it because he/she (I strongly suspect the she) thought the catnip was hiding behind it. I thought it was funny the night before when they successfully got the nip, but instead of just moving the herb, I should have moved the damn teapot. It's a custom painted piece by my very close friend that would be very difficult to replace. I hope I can find someone talented with superglue to reassemble it for me, at least for decoration, if not for use. 
I'm sitting here baking my chicken and sipping my coffee waiting for the caffeine high to make everything better. 
I love to cook.  Granted, this is new for me, as I used to hate it and cooked as necessary only to survive, but circumstances and life changes. But some days, even those days where you didn't discover your roommate's cat destroyed, ya just don't wanna. For those days, there's salsa chicken. 
Salsa chicken is my world-famous recipe, well... sorta famous, well... my roommate liked it that one time.
This time, I was just a little more motivated and actually made my own salsa yesterday. I'm pretty excited, I can't lie. 

Don't that look tasty? It's my first time making salsa, I must say, I'm impressed. 
Anyway, once you have your salsa, either homemade (I'll even tell you how) or store bought (my go to is Newman's Own Peach Salsa, I have a serious weakness for fruit salsas as that combination of sweet and spicy is killer), it's as simple as seasoning the chicken and topping with salsa before baking. It's completely flexible depending on how spicy you do or don't like it. 
I'll admit, I'm terrible at measuring spices. My recipes always say "spice to taste", as my mood and presence changes from one moment to the next and I believe everyone is capable of making their own spice decisions. You can do it, I have faith in you. 

Would you like some tasty salsa chicken? Sorry, I only made enough for me, but here's how you can follow through:

Salsa chicken

2 chicken breasts or thighs
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Salsa (mango salsa recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350.
Place chicken pieces in baking dish and season with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste (I like lots of cayenne, feel free to sub other spices for the flavor you want!)
Top liberally with salsa and place in preheated oven for 20-40 minutes, until cooked through and juices run clear. 

Finished product! Doesn't it look good? I always reserve extra salsa for topping when I'm ready to eat, as well. 

Mango salsa

1/2 mango
4 plum tomatoes 
1/2 green bell pepper
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
Fresh cilantro leaves
Cayenne pepper
Chili flakes
Salt and pepper 
1/2 jalapeño (optional)

Dice mango, tomatoes and bell peppers. If using, dice and seed jalapeño. Adding the seeds to the salsa will make it spicier, so use your best judgement. Mix together. 
Break up cilantro into smaller pieces and add. 
Add in wet ingredients and mix in spices to taste. 
Let sit in fridge for at least 12 hours to absorb flavors before using. 

Note (this isn't required, but I discovered something new today): take the finished salsa and pulse it a few times in a blender if you want a more consistent texture, rather than just chunks. Also, a little bit of honey can help bring out the sweet of the mango to contrast the spicy.

Happy nomming!

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