Loveland Reporter-Herald

How to store and prepare avocados


baby’s spine and brain. One avocado contains about 41% of the prenatal daily dosage of folate.

Avocados are picked unripe off the tree and ripen within one to two weeks at room temperatur­e. The best bet is to select firm fruit at the grocery store and set on the counter to ripen slowly until it yields slightly when pressed. If you don’t plan to eat it right away, avocados can be stored for up to five days in the refrigerat­or to maintain ripeness.

To cut the fruit, wash it to remove any bacteria. Place it on a cutting board and cut directly from top to bottom on one side, following the cut line around on the other side of the fruit. Gently twist the two halves, leaving one half with the pit. Holding the avocado firmly in one hand on the cutting board, carefully remove the pit with the tip of a knife, or pop it out with a spoon.

You can either cut the avocado into sections and peel off the inedible skin, or use a spoon to scoop it out of the skin. Dice or slice it to use in salads, sandwiches, atop burgers or roasted boneless chicken. Or mash it into guacamole — an Aztec original recipe enjoyed for thousands of years called ahuaca-mulli, or avocado sauce — sprinkled with flaky sea salt, a squirt of lime juice and a pinch of minced fresh cilantro. Spread it on toast and top with an egg for the trendy favorite, avocado toast, or pile it into a bowl and serve with chips.

Are you looking for a no-recipe idea for Super Bowl Sunday? Bake up a batch of Cheesy Chicken Avocado and Salsa to warm your guests while you’re cheering on your favorite team. and sliced lengths

• Desired handfuls of mixed, shredded Mexican cheese

• 1 jar of your favorite chunky salsa

• Mexican crema, sour cream or Greek yogurt for drizzling

Chunkier salsa holds up its consistenc­y better during cooking than a runnier salsa. Experiment with flavor combos to create different textures and finishes. In the mood for sweet heat? Design your dish around Sting N Linger’s Raspberry Chipotle, Pineapple or Prickly Pear salsa. If eye-watering hot is your ideal balance alongside creamy avocado, the Arizona company’s Habañero salsa is your go-to.

If you’ve never tried it, check out Cacique Crema Mexicana, available in most grocery stores. With a consistenc­y of pourable créme into 1/4-inch fraîche, it’s table cream with tantalizin­g heft. Drizzle over baked chicken immediatel­y before serving.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray a 9” x 11” baking dish with cooking spray to prevent sticking and allow for easy cleanup. Place chicken breasts in dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bake chicken uncovered for 20 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove baking dish from oven. Pour salsa on top of chicken, then layer strips of avocado. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheese and return baking dish to oven. Continue cooking for 10-20 minutes, until chicken registers 165 degrees F with an instant read thermomete­r and cheese is evenly melted.

Serve immediatel­y drizzled with Mexican crema.

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