Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mexican Chicken Salad a la California Style!

In southern California, summer finally hit - with GUSTO!! It has been hot and humid and just plain miserable.  Now if you live in the East or the South you will laugh at my intolerance of CA humidity. But we are spoiled - I admit it.  And when there is moisture in the air, it is just plain miserable unless you have the ocean breeze. I am just inland enough to miss that cooling mist...

I have been feeling so icky in the evenings that dinner has often been yogurt, frozen  yogurt,  mozzarella slices and tomatoes - in other words, anything easy!!  So I was determined to actually MAKE something and I did - from beginning to end, without a recipe. Granted, making a salad does not require a recipe, but I created a marinade for the chicken breasts and a dressing for the salad and it turned out delicious!!  So I just had to share.......

MEXICAN CHICKEN SALAD WITH GUACAMOLE DRESSING


Cilantro, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic olive oil and lemon juice = best Southwestern marinade
(Disclaimer - totally forgot to photograph the white wine vinegar - oops!!)

Marinade:

1/4 cup roasted garlic olive oil (found this at Costco and love it!!)
1/8 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. roasted red peppers
2 cubes frozen cilantro (Trader Joe's) or several Tablespoons of fresh, chopped
juice of 1 lemon

Combine all ingredients and mix with a stick blender.  I have the one from Cuisinart and  use it often!

Place two chicken breasts halves in a ziploc bag with the marinade and put in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.  Turn over occasionally to be sure it is distributed well.


Light ranch dressing, wholly guacamole and taco seasoning (with chives) = perfect dressing!


Dressing:

2 packets of individual servings of Wholly Guacamole! (you can certainly make your own, but I only had a few avocados and wanted them for the salad.)
1/2-3/4 c. ranch dressing - to taste
1 tsp taco seasoning (to taste)

Mix and refrigerate so the flavors can meld.


Salad:

romaine lettuce
black beans (rinsed and drained); kidney beans would work well as an alternative
orange pepper, sliced and chunked
yellow pepper, sliced and chunked\
fire-roasted corn (about 1 cup - I use the Trader Joe's brand)
tomatoes, chunked (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 avocados, chunked
black olives, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
*cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
*jack cheese, grated (optional)
tortilla chips, crushed for garnish

* I used a shredded Mexican blend

Assembly:



Grilled chicken breasts after marinade - YUM!


Grill the chicken and slice or chunk depending on your preference.  You can either mix all of the ingredients like a chopped salad, or layer on a plate with slices of the chicken on top (pictured below).

This was beyond delicious and made enough for several nights. I shared with my neighbor and we both had leftovers. The beauty of this salad is that you can use as much or as little of any of the ingredients as you want.  There are no hard and fast rules. This was fun and I will definitely be creating new salads in the future.  I wish I would have started this earlier in the summer as it's a great solution to eating healthy when it's just....... too....... hot!!



Salad in process...



The finished dinner serving - or several servings!!


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I am a mother to three and Grammy to two beautiful granddaughters and one very handsome little grandson.  Was born and raised in southern California and am happy to call it home.  I fill my days with volunteer work, paper crafting, needlework of all kinds and cooking and baking.   I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who fill my heart on a daily basis.