Monday, 15 December 2014
I know it's winter and not really salad days . . . but what's a girl to do . . . I was craving salad today, which isn't actually a bad thing to crave per se . . . salad is pretty healthy stuff. I was thinking of a delicious Chicken Salad that I used to be able to get at a Mexican Restaurant in downtown Fredericton when we lived there . . . I have long forgotten the name of the restaurant . . . but not the salad. That's the way it usually goes . . . some people remember other things. I have food memories. It has ever been so.
Necessity being the mother of invention . . . and cravings driving me on (no, I'm not expecting, just a glutton) . . . I invented my own version of it. I had to make a few adaptions to the ingredients I had on hand, but I think I did that quite successfully. You be the judge of that!
I didn't have any tortilla chips, but I did have a package of soft corn tortillas and so I made my own. Which are actually much, MUCH better than store bought tortilla chips. YOU get to control the amount of spice and flavour . . . and they are baked, not fried. So easy to do. I love em!
The only chicken I had available was some frozen battered chicken strips . . . not totally healthy, but in small quanities, ok. These were actually chicken tenders . . . not chewed up chicken. I shook them (frozen) in a bag with some Taco seasoning and baked them. VOILA! South-western chicken strips. Cut in half diagonally, they were fab in this salad.
The real star though is the dressing. It's cool and creamy and very low in fat, which is an extra bonus! I used no fat mayo and sour cream for mine and it turned out just wonderfully delicious with just a bit of heat. You can control that by using more or less of the Chipolte chili paste. (This gives it a nice smokey flavour too.) I used mild salsa, as that is what I had.
If you don't have a stock pot, don't sweat it. You can just use some stock powder. You can of course make it even lower in fat by using plain skinless boneless chicken breast meat, cut into strips and then tossed with the taco seasoning mix. I had to use what I had to use . . .
With low fat cheese, and baked tortilla chips, lots of veggies, a bit of low fat cheese, and a very tasty low fat dressing, I think this is quite a healthy salad meal . . . Todd . . . well, he's not a salad person per se. He had a steak pie. Men!
*Chicken Taco Salad*
The dressing is the real star here. You can make it as spicy or not as you desire. It's easy to keep this low fat as well if you stick to low fat ingredients!
For the Salad:
10 ounces chopped cos lettuce (Romaine, about 9 cups)
1 (4-serving size) package of frozen chicken strips
1 package of taco seasoning mix
1/4 pound of shredded cheddar cheese ( 1 cup)
a handful of pitted olives, sliced (black and green)
4 ounces crushed taco flavoured tortilla chips (about 2 cups)
1 small tin of salad crisp sweet corn, drained well (about 1/2 cup)
4 spring onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 large ripe tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 small green pepper, chopped
1/2 small red pepper, chopped
For the Dressing:
250ml of sour cream (1 cup)
1 Knorr Vegetable Stock pot
1 heaped TBS mayonnaise
2 TBS tomato salsa
the juice and zest of 1/2 fresh lime
1 tsp chipolte chili paste (or as desired)
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 TBS chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
First make the dressing. Put the sour cream into a bowl along with the vegetable stock pot and mayonnaise. Mash and mix well together with a fork, until the stock pot is completely dissolved. Stir in the salsa, lime juice and zest, chipolte chili paste to taste, garlic and fresh coriander. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with fine seasalt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cover and chill until you are ready to use.
Shake the frozen chicken strips together with half of the taco seasoning mix. Place on a baking tray and bake according to the package directions. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature if desired. Cut in half on a diagonal.
Divide the lettuce amongst 4 chilled salad plates. Divide the olives, drained corn, spring onions, sliced tomatoes and grated cheese amongst the four plates, scattering all on top of the lettuce. Scatter the chicken pieces over top. Sprinkle with the crushed tortilla chips. Serve and pass the dressing at the table.
Note: You may serve this with additional tortilla chips if desired.
To make your own low fat tortilla chips. Cut several corn tortillas into wedges. Place on a baking tray. Spritz with low fat cooking spray. Sprinkle the tops with some ground coriander, ground cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, mild chili powder and oregano flakes to taste. Bake in a 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5 oven until crispy and lightly browned, giving them a stir halfway through the baking time. It should take between 8 and 10 minutes.