Healthy Recipe: Chicken Fiesta Salad

25 Oct
Note: Gracie is up to her eyeballs in work, so Emily is sharing her own family’s version of Fast Salsa-Ranch Chicken Salad below.

This colorful salad is as tasty as it is pretty.

Gracie’s hippie sister strikes again.

My husband likes taco salad. I’m not usually a big fan, but this particular version is so protein-packed and easy to make that it’s hard to go wrong with it.

Start by making a couple of chicken breasts. I bought four and baked them in a covered Corningware dish while I was watching the Yankees rescue CC Sabathia from a Chicago-style implosion on the mound in Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday night. Two of them (the chicken breasts, not the Yankees) went into a pot pie; I seasoned the other two for taco salad.

Shred the chicken with a fork and season to taste.

To prepare the chicken, just shred it up and sprinkle it with lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste, stir to coat, and let it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours if possible to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Start with a big, leafy salad.

Next, make a big salad (I used prewashed lettuce and just chopped up some tomatoes, celery, and carrots to go in it). Drain and rinse a can of black beans, mix with about a tablespoon of chopped green chile and a sprinkling of cumin and chili powder, and nuke until heated through (about three minutes in my microwave).

Warm up the chicken in the microwave.

Canned black beans provide protein, fiber, and flavor.

Keep the hot and cold ingredients separate until you’re ready to serve dinner, then prepare the salad in individual bowls: greens and veggies in the bottom, then meat, beans, shredded cheese, a handful of crushed tortilla chips, salsa or picante sauce, sour cream, and black olives. To make the recipe Atkins-friendly, leave out the chips and go easy on the sour cream; to make it vegetarian, skip the chicken and go heavy on the beans.

Thanks to the vegetables and salsa, this is a colorful, visually attractive salad; thanks to the beans, chicken, and cheese, it’s also a very filling salad, with plenty of protein. It was so filling, in fact, that I couldn’t finish my second helping and wound up picking the chicken out of the leftovers to give my dogs.

Riggy gets a little wild-eyed when he finds something he likes.

Our rat terrier, Riggy, liked the Mexican flavors so much that he helped himself to the rest of my salad when Ron wasn’t looking. You know your recipe is a winner when the dog actually eats the lettuce and tomatoes….

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3 Responses to “Healthy Recipe: Chicken Fiesta Salad”

  1. Kayci October 25, 2010 at 4:30 PM #

    OMG I love you Emily! =) red fork hippie…..love it!

  2. Gracie October 26, 2010 at 2:23 PM #

    🙂 I love it when she covers my butt and has dinner posts when I’m slacking. 🙂 (Thanks, Em)

  3. redforkhippie October 29, 2010 at 10:40 PM #

    OK … I totally just noticed the link to your earlier salad post. I have no idea how I missed the fact that you’d already made something nearly identical. I suppose it’s reasonable to expect that sooner or later, two women who learned to cook in the same kitchen would come up with the same idea, but it’s still hilarious….

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