Baja Chicken Salad with Taco Vinaigrette

  • 1 package (1.25oz) taco seasoning mix
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 to 2 T oil
  • 1 package (10oz) mixed salad greens or baby greens
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 2/3 oz shredded cheddar-monterey jack cheese blend (2/3 cup)
  • 1/3 cup dairy sour cream
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 3 T sliced ripe olives
  • Blue tortilla chips

1. In medium bowl, combine taco seasoning mix, brown sugar, 1/2 cup oil, and vinegar; mix well. Place chicken in shallow medium bowl. Pour 1/2 cup seasoning mixture over chicken. Reserve remaining mixture for dressing.

2. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons 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.

Yield: 6 servings

From Everyday Family Suppers 2007 by Pillsbury

Katie: I was not excited that this was my cookbook to choose from this week. (We have been alternating who chooses the recipes recently.) As I looked through the cookbook, my fears were confirmed. It has a lot of good sounding recipes, but it seemed like I’d seen the recipe before, or one of the ingredients was not something I would buy. Now, I’ve often bought things that I don’t normally buy while working on our cookbook project, but many of the ingredients in this cookbook are different than that to me. For example, a lot of recipes call for canned ham or chicken, and we’ve been trying to stay away from things like that due to their sodium content. Plus, why wouldn’t you want to eat fresh chicken or ham?

All that being said, this recipe caught my eye. For one thing, it used fresh avocado, one of my favorite foods in Hispanic cooking. (We had planned to make this on Sunday, but due to complications in a lighting installation, we had to postpone. I’m so glad we did, because the avocado was the perfect ripeness!) I read over the recipe a couple of times, and I really thought it was right up our alley. We happened to have a taco seasoning package left over from when we were buying them, so I did use it in this recipe, but we have decided after cooking many different recipes that we would rather make our own taco seasoning rather than buy those packages.

When getting everything ready to go, the apple cider vinegar was really pungent. So it sorta ruined my sense of smell, and everything just smelled like the vinegar. I didn’t even tear up while chopping the onion. (I chopped the onion because I prefer small pieces in a salad rather than slices.) Gray kept coming in the kitchen and saying how good it smelled, and I was wondering where he was coming from because of the overpowering vinegar smell. In fact, I still smell the vinegar! However, the salad was DELICIOUS!!  It was so good! Even though we don’t think we will keep this cookbook, we are definitely keeping this recipe. It wasn’t really hard after I got everything prepped. It seemed to take a long time to prep, but the actual cooking time was almost nothing (5 mins) and putting it together went smoothly as well. I can’t stress enough how prepping the ingredients has made cooking easier and more pleasurable. I highly recommend it!

Gray:  This recipe was great, and Katie did a wonderful job with it.  It was really pretty and appetizing.  I think we will definitely be making this again.  To second what Katie said about the cookbook, when we looked through it, we found a lot of good recipes, but they used a lot of packaged or canned foods.  That is something that you deal with when it is published by a packaged food manufacturer.  We decided that we probably wouldn’t keep this one since we have been trying to cut down on the packaged foods and make more from scratch.

We hope you enjoy it, and will try to get the next recipe out on time.

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One Response to Baja Chicken Salad with Taco Vinaigrette

  1. Eric says:

    I was gonna mention the ingredient thing, but you already hit on it. A branded cookbook like that (as opposed to something like Better Homes and Gardens or just Cooking Across North Carolina or something of some such) is always going to use ingredients that are part of the family.. look at Kraft recipes, they are always brand specific… like add some Bullseye BBQ Sauce and some Kraft Cheese and then enjoy with your Ritz crackers, and yes they will require canned or boxed stuff like soup or canned veggies or something along those line.

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