Category Archives: Salads

Layered Chicken Taco Salad in Baked Tortilla Bowls

Layered Taco Salad 1

Sure, you can eat taco salad on a regular plate, but it is much more fun to eat it out of an edible tortilla bowl. Tortilla bowls are also a great enforcer of portion control. Have you ever noticed that when you layer taco salad on a plate it seems to grow well beyond your original intentions by the time you add all of the toppings you want? Tortilla bowls are the perfect solution, especially for the kids in my family who usually end up with a plateful of food they can never finish.

Intimidated by the thought of shaping and deep-frying tortillas? Me too. Good thing these are simple to make, and baked instead of fried. All you need is a super-old-scratched-and-rusty muffin pan.

Tortilla Bowls

To make your baked tortilla bowls, warm tortillas slightly in the microwave (just enough to soften). Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with olive oil cooking spray (or brush very lightly with oil). Turn a muffin tin upside down. Press tortillas into the spaces between muffin cups. Make sure the bottoms of the tortilla bowls are flat so that they will not wobble when served on a plate. Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes, or until crunchy and just beginning to brown.

You can layer your regular taco salad fillings in the bowl (seasoned ground beef, cheese, lettuce, etc) or try this layered shredded chicken salad. It is similar to some of the semi-fast food Mexican restaurants where you build your own burrito/salad. There are layers of seasoned chili-cilantro rice, black beans, crock-pot cooked shredded chicken, and a cilantro ranch dressing.

Green Chili Cilantro Rice

This Green Chili Cilantro Rice is also great served alongside other Mexican dishes or grilled meats.

RECIPE:

Layered Taco Salad 1

Layered Chicken Taco Salad in Baked Tortilla Bowls

Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken
Green Chili Cilantro Rice
Tortilla Bowls
Cilantro Ranch Dressing
Black Beans – mix with 1 Tbs lime juice
Shredded Cheese
Corn
Lettuce
Chopped jalapenos or banana peppers
Salsa
Sour Cream

Place baked tortilla bowls on a plate. Layer with rice, black beans (these are really good mixed with 1 Tbs lime juice!), shredded chicken and other desired toppings. Top with cilantro ranch dressing and serve.

Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken
2 lb boneless chicken breasts or tenderloins
1 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup salsa
1 Tbs taco seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced

Stir together all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until chicken can easily be shredded. Shred chicken, stir in sauce from pot and serve. If the sauce is too thin (this will especially happen if you use chicken that is injected with broth), shred chicken and return to crock pot, then cook on high with the lid OFF until sauce thickens.

Green Chili Cilantro Rice
1 ¾ cup chicken broth (or water+2tsp chicken bouillon)
1 can (4 oz) diced mild green chilies, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
½ tsp salt (omit salt if using bouillon)
1 cup Basmati rice (or other long grain variety rice)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine broth, green chilies, garlic, olive oil and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Stir in chopped cilantro. This can also be cooked in a rice cooker: combine all ingredients except cilantro in rice cooker and cook according to directions; stir in cilantro.

Tortilla Bowls
Flour tortillas
Olive oil (or olive oil cooking spray)
Muffin tin

Warm tortillas slightly in the microwave (10-15 seconds; just enough to soften). Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with olive oil cooking spray (or brush very lightly with oil). Turn a muffin tin upside down. Press tortillas into the spaces between muffin cups. Make sure the bottoms of the tortilla bowls are flat so that they will not wobble when served on a plate. Bake at 400°F for 8-10 minutes, or until crunchy and just beginning to brown.

Cilantro Ranch Dressing
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup buttermilk or regular milk
2 tomatillos** or 4 Tbs green salsa
½ bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup chopped)
2 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced
1-2 jalapenos (with or without the seeds; with seeds=spicier)

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until well mixed. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving for optimal flavor.

**Optional: Roast tomatillos for 20 mins at 400°F before adding them to the blender. If you are using a spicy green salsa instead of the tomatillos, go easy on the jalapenos.

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Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

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This is a basic chicken salad recipe with a few extras that add a nice zing. Dried cranberries provide just the right amount of sweetness. Toasted pecans, which I always love paired with cranberries, add the perfect crunch.

This is a very adaptable recipe. I usually have shredded chicken in the freezer, so I often use that. But leftover roast chicken makes a really great salad. And you can’t beat the price and ease of pre-cooked roasted chickens these days!

You can use halved grapes instead of cranberries, but if you haven’t tried chicken salad with cranberries, it really is amazing. I have also made this with walnuts or slivered almonds. Be sure to toast the nuts first. This keeps the nuts from being bitter and helps them retain their crunch when mixed with the dressing.

Crumbled bacon is listed as an optional ingredient in the recipe below, but around here it is mandatory. My family always wants crumbled bacon sprinkled on the top of their sandwiches, but “Did you make bacon?” is a pretty standard question around here, regardless of what the meal is.

RECIPE:

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Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

4 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (about 2 lb)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1/2  cup dried cranberries  (or use 1 cup halved grapes)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or use walnuts or slivered almonds), toasted
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried dill (or tarragon)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional

In a large bowl, mix cooked chicken, celery, green onions, cranberries or grapes, and toasted nuts.

In a small bowl mix dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over chicken until salad is desired consistency. There may be a little extra, depending on how moist you like your chicken salad.

Garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon, if desired. Do not mix the cooked bacon into the salad. It becomes too soft and mushy. Sprinkle over individual sandwiches just before serving.

 

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Grilled Greek Chicken

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The weather here has turned from dreary, cold and rainy to beautiful, sunny and warm. So I am putting away the soup recipes for a couple of weeks, and firing up the grill. This chicken is marinated in a dressing made from lemon juice, olive oil and Greek spices (including fresh oregano-which is still hanging on in my garden!). The tomato cucumber salad is a nice accompaniment to the grilled chicken, providing a tangy balance to the chicken.

When I prepare chicken or other meat to grill, I always make double and freeze half in a separate Ziploc bag for a quick meal another day. You can either cook all of it and freeze the extra cooked chicken (either whole or diced) to add to future recipes, or freeze the extra raw chicken in the marinade, and then thaw and grill it another day.

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After making the marinade, I put a small amount (about 1/4 cup) in a separate Ziploc bag and marinated some fresh asparagus, and then grilled it alongside the chicken. I put the asparagus on the grill at the same time as I turned the chicken over, and they were done at about the same time. Zucchini/summer squash would be another great vege to marinate and grill.

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We ate the grilled chicken and asparagus with this Greek tomato and cucumber salad topped with feta cheese. Most of my garden is done for the year, but I do still have some green tomatoes slowly ripening on my kitchen counter. A couple of nice red ones made for a great fresh end-of-summer salad. You can find the recipe for the salad HERE.

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RECIPE:

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Grilled Greek Chicken
———–(adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Marinade:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup  lemon juice
1 tsp fresh lemon zest**
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
1 tsp Greek seasoning (or additional oregano)
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp black pepper**

Place chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Marinate in refrigerator 6-8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30-45 minutes before cooking.

Preheat grill to medium-hot and grill chicken 15-18 minutes, or until well browned and firm but not hard to the touch. Actual cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken, the heat of your grill and the temperature outside, so don’t overcook.

**or omit lemon zest and black pepper and substitute 1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning

FOR GRILLED GREEK ASPARAGUS (OR OTHER VEGETABLE):

1 lb fresh asparagus (or zucchini/summer squash or other vege of choice)
1/4 cup marinade from above recipe

Place asparagus or sliced vegetable into a Ziploc bag. Add marinade (be sure to place marinade in vegetable bag before adding it to the chicken bag). Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (longer is fine too). Grill for 5-6 minutes, or until crisp-tender.

 

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Baked Chicken Taquitos with Cilantro Ranch Dressing

041811 073-1Finger foods with dip are always popular around here. These chicken taquitos can be served with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or our favorite is this creamy Cilantro Ranch Dressing. It is hard to say whether it is the chicken taquitos or the dip that is most popular. We use this dressing for all kinds of things: on taco salads or tostadas, for dipping quesadillas, as a regular salad dressing, over grilled chicken. Some little people around here have even been known to eat a vegetable or two if I serve this dip along side. It is also great as a dip for raw vegetables. The recipe below makes a dressing that is pourable, like a creamy salad dressing. If you want a thicker dip, substitute sour cream for half of the mayo, and use a little less buttermilk.

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I prefer to use flour tortillas for these, but you can also use corn tortillas. If you are using corn tortillas, place 2-3 tortillas between damp paper towels and microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften them before filling with chicken mixture. Corn tortillas tend to crack easily, so only work with a few at a time. Flour tortillas can be rolled easily at room temperature. Try to use the small fajita-sized tortillas; it is easier to get a tighter roll.

Brush the filled and tightly rolled tortillas with a small amount of olive or vegetable oil and then sprinkle lightly with a coarse salt (like kosher salt). Bake for 15-20 minutes and serve with your favorite dip.

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These make a great main dish or appetizer. Cut in half on an angle for a nice appetizer-sized portion.

RECIPES:

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Baked Chicken Taquitos
—————-(adapted from OurBestBites)

4 oz (1/2 pkg) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1 lime, juiced (about 2 Tbs)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 green onions, sliced
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese

12-18 small flour or corn tortillas
kosher salt
olive oil or vegetable oil

sour cream, salsa, guacamole or Cilantro Ranch Dressing (for dipping)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray (or use non-stick foil).

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds, until soft. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic powders. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well. (You can prepare this mixture ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to cook.)

If you are using corn tortillas: Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave between damp paper towels for about 20-30 seconds until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. Flour tortillas can be worked with at room temperature.

Place about 3 Tbs of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Roll it up as tightly as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other.

Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the uncooked taquitos lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends just begin to brown.

Serve whole, or cut taquitos in half on an angle (this is a nicer size for appetizers).

Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole or Cilantro Ranch Dressing for dipping.

Makes about 12-18 taquitos (using small flour tortillas); amount will vary depending on the size of the tortillas

Cilantro Ranch Dressing

1 package ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup kefir or buttermilk (or regular milk)
2 tomatillos** or 4 Tbs green salsa
½ bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup chopped)
2 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced
1-2 jalapenos (with or without the seeds; with seeds=spicier)

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until well mixed. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving for optimal flavor.

**Optional: Roast tomatillos for 20 mins at 400°F before adding them to the blender. If you are using a spicy green salsa instead of the tomatillos, go easy on the jalapenos.

FOR A THICKER DIP: Use 1/2 cup mayo and 1/2 cup sour cream, and reduce the kefir/buttermilk to 1/4 cup.

 

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End of Summer Produce: Greek Tomato Salad

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We are still getting a few ripe tomatoes off of our garden tomato plants, but with nights getting cooler and days getting shorter, most of our tomatoes still look like this:

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So here is one last summer tomato salad. When we start getting frost warnings, which could be any time now, I will bring in all of my green tomatoes and make some Green Tomato Salsa.

RECIPE:

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Greek Tomato Salad

3-4 tomatoes, chopped
3 small pickling cucumbers or 1 English seedless cucumber,
——– chopped (peeled if skin is tough)
½ red pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh oregano, finely chopped (or ½ tsp dried)
½ tsp Greek seasoning, optional
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper and onion. Stir together remaining ingredients, except feta. Pour over salad. Serve right away, or refrigerate. Stir in feta just before serving (or serve on the side to be sprinkled on).

 

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Greek Pork with Tzatziki in Pitas

Sometimes I think that I should be a paid spokesman for Ziploc. More often than not, dinner at my house either starts in a Ziploc bag full of marinade, or ends up in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.

I am not a fan of bland meat. Honestly, I prefer my meat to taste like something other than meat (except for the occasional really good-quality steak, and even then I tend to be a heavy seasoner). Which is probably why I lean towards Asian cooking so often. Soy sauce, ginger and garlic are a great cure for flavorless chicken breasts.

This dinner is not at all Asian, but does start in a Ziploc bag full of strong flavors. Mediterranean cooking is also one of my favorite styles, with heavy use of olive oil, vinegar, oregano, feta cheese. No wimpy flavors here!

These filled pita pockets can be made with chicken or pork, but I prefer pork-either a pork tenderloin or a pork loin. The loin is a little tougher cut of meat, but if you leave it in the marinade long enough (overnight, at least), it will be tender when cooked. The sautéed pork is combined with peppers, onions, feta cheese and tzatziki and can be served in pita bread pockets or on a bed of lettuce for great salad.

RECIPE:

Greek Pork with Tzatziki in Pitas

2-3 lb boneless pork loin or pork tenderloin, cubed
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs chopped fresh oregano (or 1 Tbs dried)
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp ground cayenne red pepper

1 sliced Onion and 1 sliced Red Pepper
————— (or 1 bag frozen onions/peppers)
Pita Bread
Feta Cheese, crumbled
Tzatziki

Combine cubed pork with marinade ingredients (next 10 ingredients) in a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Drain pork in a colander. Sauté in a large skillet for 5 minutes; drain any excess liquid. Cook 10 minutes longer, or until pork is cooked through and nicely brown. Add peppers and onions to skillet; cook until tender.

Serve pork in pita bread halves with feta cheese and tzatziki.

OPTIONAL SERVING VARIATION: Serve cooked pork, onions and peppers on a bed of Romaine lettuce, topped with the tzatziki and feta cheese.

—–

Tzatziki

1 32-oz container plain yogurt (not nonfat) **
½ of a large seedless cucumber
salt
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dill
Dash white pepper

Line a colander with cheesecloth (or a coffee filter) and place over a bowl. Strain yogurt in cheesecloth in refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) until very thick. Grate cucumber (unpeeled), sprinkle with salt and drain in colander until most of the liquid is removed. Combine yogurt and cucumber with remaining ingredients. Add additional salt (usually about ½ tsp) to taste. Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors.

**You can substitute Greek Yogurt (about 16 oz) for the regular yogurt, and skip the straining process

 

While you can always use pre-made, tomorrow I will share my recipe for homemade pita bread. They really make a huge difference, and are not difficult to make.

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Chicken with Red Thai Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad

One more grilling recipe while the weather is still warm!

Asian flavors make a frequent appearance at our dinner table. Thai is one of my personal favorites. It can be made as spicy or mild as you like by adjusting the curry paste or red peppers. This chicken can either be prepared on the grill, or inside in a skillet.

I used the last of the Thai basil from my garden in this, but it is also good with chopped cilantro.

When I cook it inside, I pound the chicken flat first, so that it will cook more quickly. On the grill, I leave the chicken pieces unpounded. The sauce is made from coconut milk, peanut butter and red curry paste, plus a few other standard Asian ingredients (ginger, garlic, soy sauce). The sauce goes together quickly with the use of a regular blender (although, after a cooking demo today, I am feeling some serious Vitamix envy!)

This Thai cucumber salad was a nice accompaniment to the chicken. It is light, just a little sweet, and a little spicy. Made with my favorite little pickling cucumbers.

RECIPES:

Chicken with Red Thai Peanut Sauce

1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs brown sugar or 1 packet Stevia
2 tsp red Thai curry paste
1 tsp chicken bouillon

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
about 2 Tbs peanut oil
3-4 Tbs finely chopped Thai basil or cilantro

In a blender combine first 9 ingredients. Blend until combined.

Put each chicken breast inside plastic bag or between plastic wrap and pound to even 1/2 inch thickness. (*NOTE: Pounding the chicken will make it cook quickly on the stovetop. Alternately, you could grill the unpounded chicken breasts on an outdoor grill)

Heat 2T oil in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and black pepper, then add chicken to pan and sauté until chicken is cooked through. If you need to cook your chicken in batches, then keep chicken warm (on a plate under foil) while cooking additional chicken.

Add sauce to pan. Scrape off browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat and mix in chopped Thai basil or cilantro. Serve immediately over warmed chicken breasts, with additional chopped Thai basil or cilantro for garnish, if desired.

Thai Cucumber Salad

4-6 small pickling cucumbers, sliced
1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar, unsweetened
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or use additional 1/4 cup rice vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 pkt. Stevia (or 1 Tbs sugar)
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes

Mix sliced cucumbers, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Stir together remaining ingredients. Pour over cucumbers.

 

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Grilling with Chipotles

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As summer winds down, I find myself grilling even more. Trying to squeeze out every last drop of fresh summer goodness, before giving way to the rib-sticking comfort foods of fall and winter.

Grilled flank steak is one of our favorites. I love that I can prepare several at a time: preparing the marinade in the morning and putting one marinated flank steak in the fridge for dinner, and a couple more in the freezer for meals another night.

This flank steak has a wonderful smoky,  slightly spicy flavor. Which went perfectly with this Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad. Quinoa (KEEN-wa), is a gluten-free grain that has a similar texture to couscous, but with a slightly nutty flavor (which makes sense since it is actually the seed portion of a grain).

RECIPES:

Grilled Chipotle Flank Steak
—————-(adapted from The Perfect Pantry)

2 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 Tbs adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)
2 cloves garlic,  chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1  tsp oregano
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 flank steak (about 2 lb)

Combine everything except the steak in a blender, and process until peppers are chopped. Place flank steak in a Ziploc bag or glass baking dish, and add the marinade.  Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight (or freeze in the Ziploc bag until another day).

Heat grill. Remove steak from marinade. Brush grill lightly with oil. Grill steak for 7-8  minutes per side for medium rare (adjust time based on thickness of meat and heat of grill). Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice across the grain.

Serve with Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad OR use it as a base for fajitas with grilled onions and peppers in tortillas.

Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad
—————–
(adapted from Picky Palate)

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob (or 1 can corn)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2-3 green onions, chopped (about ¼ cup)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes, juiced (about 6-8 Tbs)
Zest of one lime
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers)

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, beans, corn, red pepper, green onions and cilantro.

In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice and zest, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Stir into quinoa mixture. Cover and chill until serving.

8-10 servings

Note: This can also be made with cooked brown rice or couscous instead of quinoa.

 

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Black Bean Fruit Salsa and Spicy Grilled Chicken

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I love the colors of summer food. Bright, vibrant hues that scream freshness!

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This fresh salsa is one of my favorites. Fresh tomatoes, mangos (or peaches or nectarines), cilantro, black beans, and just a little bit of fresh hot pepper. It is not too spicy, which makes it perfect to pair with a spicy grilled chicken.

RECIPES:

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Spicy Grilled Chicken
—————-
(adapted from Once Upon a Plate)

6 boneless chicken breasts or 10 boneless chicken thighs
1 Tbs smoked paprika
1 Tbs chili paste (or 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 chopped mint leaves

Place chicken pieces in a Ziploc bag.

Combine paprika, chili paste, garlic, salt, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and mint. Add to the bag with the chicken. Seal and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

Heat grill. Remove chicken from marinade and grill until cooked through.

Serve with Black Bean Fruit Salsa, if desired.

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Black Bean Fruit Salsa

1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup corn
3-4 tomatoes, chopped (or 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes)
1-2 mangos, nectarines, or peaches, chopped
1 hot banana or jalapeno pepper, minced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
5 green onions, sliced
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
½ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients. Toss gently. Serve with tortilla chips or as a condiment to grilled chicken or fish.

Also try with  Grilled Peruvian Chicken Thighs

 

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Asian Chicken Salad and Scallion Pancakes

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This chicken salad recipe comes from a good friend Heather. I love that it is both warm and cold. The cold, raw crunchy vegetables together with warm chicken and a warm soy dressing (that serves as both marinade and dressing) are fabulous! I served it this time with some homemade scallion pancakes, which my children ask me to make all the time.

I serve this “smorgasbord” style, lining up all of the ingredients on the counter and letting everyone make their own salad. This is mostly for a selfish reason, as I don’t have to wait for each person to pick around the vegetables they don’t like before the salad makes it way around the table to me (why is it that moms are always served last-or is it just in my house?)

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021910 025-1 We love these crunchy sesame sticks! They make a perfect topping.

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Below I have included Heather’s original recipe, with my slight modifications.

Scallion Pancakes

 

021910 053-1 Scallion Pancakes are my children’s favorite Chinese restaurant appetizer (except for maybe gyoza- they love those too). When I finally decided to try them at home, I definitely won Mother of the Year in their eyes. That title lasted about as long as it took them to gobble down these treats and for me to enlist their help in cleaning up.

The following recipe makes a lot, maybe 12-15 full size pancakes, which are cut into wedges to eat. But it can easily be scaled back.

021910 007-1 Little J is always my helper at the mixer. She is a great button-pusher (or turner in this case).

The scallion pancake dough is a simple non-yeast dough made from flour, salt & pepper, chopped scallions and sesame & olive oils. These ingredients are bound together with some boiling water. The boiling water helps to start cooking the dough before it even gets to the pan.

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Roll the dough into thin circles, about 6-inches in diameter.

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Cook, one at a time, in a small hot skillet with about 1 tsp of oil.

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Cook over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes per side. Place on a paper-towel lined plate while cooking remaining pancakes.

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Cut each pancake into 6-8 wedges and serve with this dipping sauce made from soy sauce and Mirin (a sweet Japanese vinegar). We like things a little spicy, so it also has some crushed red pepper flakes mixed in, but you can adjust those to taste. Sometimes I add a little grated ginger to the sauce, but I actually prefer it without the ginger. Mirin is available in most supermarkets in the Asian section. It may also be called “seasoned rice vinegar”.

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RECIPES:

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Asian Chicken Salad
—————–
(from Heather, modified slightly by Kelly)

**NOTE: I doubled the dressing and chicken amounts and got about 6 servings.

Dressing/Marinade:
1/4 cup brown or white sugar (I used a few drops of Stevia)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar (I used the rice vinegar)
1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive oil)
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt (I left this out)
1/2 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs water

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salad:
2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and grated (I used sliced baby carrots)
3 green onions, diced
1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped (I used snow peas)
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1/2 cup sesame sticks (we used a lot more than this)
**I also used some sliced mini-cucumbers and sliced celery

Cut chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.

Mix the remaining dressing ingredients (except cornstarch and water) in a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and boil just until the sugar is dissolved, whisking vigorously to combine the oil with the rest of the ingredients. Mix the cornstarch and water and add it to the skillet, stirring until the dressing is thickened.

Reserve 3/4 cup of the dressing in a separate bowl (to be used as dressing on the salad).

Add the chicken to the remaining dressing in the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat until all of the liquid is evaporated and the chicken just starts to brown (this will take a while, up to 30 minutes).

While the chicken is cooking prepare the rest of the salad ingredients (chopping and assembling). You can mix all of the salad ingredients together, or serve them in separate bowls. Top salad with warm chicken and reserved dressing.

 

021910 053-1

Scallion Pancakes

4 ¼ – 4 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 Tbs sesame oil
3 Tbs olive oil
1 cup sliced scallions (green onions)
Peanut oil/olive oil/or coconut oil

Combine flour (start with 4 1/4 cups, add additional flour if needed to make a stiff, but workable dough), salt and pepper in a stand mixer. While mixer is running (with a dough hook), gradually add boiling water, sesame and olive oils. Continue mixing and add scallions. Mix until dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl and forms a smooth ball. Roll dough into small pancakes about 6” in diameter, keeping unused dough covered while you are rolling.

Heat 1-2 tsp oil in a small skillet. Cook pancakes over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. Add more oil to the pan as necessary.

Drain on a paper towel. Cut into wedges and serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:

¼ cup soy sauce
1 Tbs Mirin (sweet rice vinegar)
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp grated ginger (optional)

Mix all ingredients. Flavor will intensify the longer it sits.

Yield: 12-15 full-sized pancakes

 

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Filed under Appetizers, Breads, Main Dishes, Salads