Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baja Chicken Salad with Taco Vinaigrette

1 pkg (12.5 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 T brown sugar
½ c oil
½ c cider vinegar
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 to 2 T oil
1 pkg (10 oz) mixed salad greens
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
½ c sliced red onion
2 2/3 oz shredded Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend (2/3 c)
1/3 c dairy sour cream
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
3 T sliced ripe olives
Blue tortilla chips

1. In medium bowl, combine seasoning mix, brown sugar, ½ oil and vinegar; mix well. Place chicken in shallow medium bowl. Pour ½ c seasoning mixture over chicken. Reserve remaining mixture for dressing.

2. Heat 1 to 2 T oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. With slotted spoon, remove chicken from seasoning mixture; add to skillet. Cook 5 minutes; or until no longer pink in center; stirring frequently. Discard remaining used seasoning mixture.

3. In large bowl, combine mixed greens, tomatoes and onion. Add reserved seasoning mixture; toss to coat. Arrange salad mixture on serving platter. Top with chicken, cheese, sour cream, avocado and olives. Arrange tortilla chips around salad.

*A delicious basic recipe for chicken salad that can be adapted as needed.  Besides using regular tortilla chips, a Roma tomato, and leaving out the onion, the only real change was how I cooked the chicken.  I put a handful of frozen chicken tenders in the crock-pot, then mixed the dressing as instructed but left out the oil:  2 T taco seasoning, 1 T brown sugar, and 1/2 c cider vinegar.  After removing the fat drippings from the chicken, I added half the dressing mix (about 1/3 cup) to the crock-pot and let it cook through.  The chicken tasted great shredded and it didn't need the oil.  Later when I was ready to put dressing on the salad, I added 2 T extra virgin olive oil to the remaining dressing mix.  Very good.

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