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Jiffy taco chicken

Jiffy taco chicken

Vegetable oil spray

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

4 teaspoons homemade or purchased taco

seasoning mix (see below)

1 cup salsa

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

Optional garnishes: sour cream, chopped cilantro, black olives, crushed tortilla chips, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno peppers, pico de gallo and/or salsa verde

Makes 4 servings.

Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil. Pound chicken breasts slightly to even out thickness. Place in a plastic bag with the taco seasoning mix; shake to coat evenly. Arrange in baking dish. Spoon salsa on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink inside. Sprinkle with the cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes to melt. Top with garnishes as desired.

Per serving: 278 calories (39 percent from fat), 12 g fat (6.8 g saturated, 3.3 g monounsaturated), 97.8 mg cholesterol, 36.6 g protein, 5.7 g carbohydrates, 1.9 g fiber, 668.3 mg sodium.

Homemade Taco Seasoning: Combine 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne (for hot) or paprika (for mild), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less to taste) in a jar. Cover and shake well.

Write to Linda Cicero at or c/o Food, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. Questions of general interest are answered in the column.