Monday, July 5, 2010

91. Southwestern Chicken Salad - It's a Meal (G)

The most familiar salads of my childhood were the iceberg-lettuce-tossed kind.  My mother included a variety of vegetables like celery, radishes, green pepper, mushrooms, carrot curls, tomato wedges and green onion. Sometimes green or black olives would show up in the mix and, infrequently, a  hardboiled egg. Sometimes, Mother would try to sneak escarole lettuce into the tossed mixture - I tried it but never liked its bitterness.

Although iceburg is still the most popular lettuce, other wonderful lettuce varieties with more food value are available in groceries and farmer's markets. A salad no longer has to be the plain side-dish from the past - it can be an colorful and healthy mealtime side dish or, like today's recipe, the meal itself.

My Southwestern Chicken Salad includes a variety of flavors and textures. The tangy dressing is one  I made up when I could not find one I liked. The dressing ingredients are enough for 4 servings exactly. All quantities are 'to taste' or appetite.

Note: I often cook a few extra chicken breasts to save for another day. I used leftover chicken for this recipe.

Southwestern Chicken Salad


Lettuce, shredded or torn
Black olives, sliced
Frozen corn, thawed
Canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 chicken breasts, cooked, cubed
Cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
Cilantro, chopped

Place enough torn lettuce on large individual plates to make a nice serving. Sprinkle the lettuce with black beans as desired. Add a little water to whatever corn is to be used for 30 sec. and then rinse with cold water and drain. Next, drain a can of pitted black olives and slice olives. Add as many olive slices to salad as desired. Cut cooked/refrigerated, (or hot grilled), chicken breast meat into cubes and add 1/2 breast per salad. Divide salad dressing evenly among the 4 salads, drizzling to cover lettuce and chicken. Sprinkle salads with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro to taste.

Diane's Southwestern Dressing

(Dressing quantity is for 4 salads; may be divided or doubled)

1/2 C Hellmann's mayonnaise
1/4 C Salsa
Juice from one lemon (lime)*
Cumin, to taste
Chili powder, to taste

Mix mayonnaise and salsa. Taste and adjust quantities if desired. Add lemon juice, mix well. Season with cumin and chili powder. Do not add too much...taste to decide the intensity of the flavors you like for your salad and add more if needed. *(Lime option: use two limes if they are small).

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