Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chicken Taco Salad

I remember going to Pizza Hut with my family at least 20 years ago to redeem a Book-It.  My parents had many years of many of us in Book-It at a time which was great for them and for us.  We probably wouldn't have gone out to pizza once a month otherwise.  (Book-It is still a thing, right?  Because that's a huge thing to look forward to when Luke starts school - an excuse for monthly pizza.)  If you think about that "multiple girls receiving free pizza each month" thing a little you might come to the realization that my parents then later had 4 teenage girls at once.  Two different times.  My Dad gets a lot of sympathy any time that fact is brought up.  Actually, any time the "5 sisters, no brother" thing is brought, about 99.9% of the time (after verifying that "just 5 sisters" does in fact mean no boys), the next sentence is "I feel sorry for your Dad."  I always reply with "I don't!  He loves us."  But the multiple free pizza years may have been easier on my parents than the multiple teenage daughters years.

So, back to Pizza Hut.  So most of us were getting our free personal pan (which I still enjoy and consider to be a perfect pizza size for myself) and one of my parents got a taco salad which looks delicious.  It had one of those fried shells and filled with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and topped with Doritos.  (I think we were all looking to steal some of those Doritos.)  That "salad" looked delicious and I didn't even eat salad at that time. 

This salad, is not really that one.  It's probably a healthier option but still containing most of the taco essentials: spiced meat, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, crunchy chips, and a delightful and incredibly easy homemade dressing.  Matt enjoyed the dressing so much he was using the leftovers as chip dip.  This flips the salad so it actually is a salad with the lettuce as a base and the broken chips as topping.  We are certainly not the healthiest of eaters but sometimes it's nice to enjoy healthier versions of things, fewer calories to run off later and all (except I don't count calories).  This is a dinner we enjoy often and, bonus, even Luke eats it!  I mean, heavier on the chips than lettuce but baby steps. 

Note: I make the meat in the crock pot because it's my favorite way to cook chicken.  You could do this all on a pan over the stove if you are more pressed for time.

Chicken Taco Salad
yield: about 4-5 servings
-1 ¼ pounds chicken breasts (can stick them in the crock pot frozen!)
-1 can of corn or about 1 cup frozen (or fresh!)
-1 can black beans (or cooked and frozen equivalent)
-1 packet or 2 TB taco seasoning

-½ cup mayo (light is ok)
-¼-½ cup sour cream (light is ok)
~¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
-3-4TB lime juice
-½ tsp sugar, optional and to taste

-4 cups chopped or torn lettuce
-shredded cheese
-chopped tomatoes
-crushed tortilla chips (or Doritos)
-other preferred taco toppings

1) Put the chicken, corn, black beans, and taco seasoning in the crockpot and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 4-6 hours.  Stir occasionally if you are home.  Chicken should shred as it is cooked and you stir.

2) Prepare toppings - chop lettuce, shred cheese, chop tomatoes, etc.

3) To make the dressing combine the mayo, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, and sugar (if using) in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated as well as refrigerated after for leftovers.

4) To serve: plate the lettuce and top with chicken.  Add toppings as desired!  Enjoy!

Source: modified from Averie Cooks

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