It is also Leap Day, which really doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot except there's a perception you have stolen a chunk of time that normally shouldn't be here. It's a good reminder, really, that all time is precious and special, not just this day.
I'm sitting here trying to think of what to do with my day. Cleaning and cooking go without saying, and I already have my mental to-do list for both of those tasks. Laundry, certainly. Not a day goes by that I don't do at least one load. But other than that.... hmmmmm. Liam is cutting the last of his baby teeth and is a snotty, sneezy, fussy mess. Yesterday we sat around and cuddled a lot, which makes him feel better but was terribly boring for Chloe and I. I'm thinking today he might benefit from a walk in the woods. It's a muddy mess, but meh. That's what I do a bunch of laundry for, anyway. :)
OK - onto the food! As promised, it's my new favorite go-to salad: Southwest BBQ Chicken. The reason it's my favorite is actually more like several reasons, the most important being:
1. it uses ingredients I almost always have on hand and more than likely ready to go between my fridge and freezer
2. it's delicious :) 'nuff said.
Southwest BBQ Chicken Salad
Yield: 4 adult dinner servings
1 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped
1/2 C monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 to 3 T ranch dressing (optional)
chipotle bbq chicken
bean and corn salsa
baked tortilla strips
Layer everything as directed in the photos below into a salad bowl. This can be covered and set for a few hours prior to serving (except the tortilla strips - they'll mush), as long as the layers are all stacked well and the salsa and ranch are kept away from the cut lettuce. Toss well and serve.
1 chicken breast, poached and shredded
1/2 recipe a little different bbq sauce with the additional crockpot ingredients added
1/4 to 1/2 t chipotle chili powder added to the bbq sauce while simmering (to taste)
Poach the chicken breast in plain boiling water for 30 minutes. Remove it to a cutting board with tongs, hold it steady with the tongs, and run a knife through it, shredding it easily.
Meanwhile, make the bbq sauce and simmer it well, adding the extra crockpot ingredients from that recipe and the addition of the chipotle chili powder. You may also simply add chipotle chili powder to your favorite bottle of bbq sauce.
Toss the chicken in the sauce and refrigerate until ready to use.
NOTE: I like to do this well in advance and often - I simply buy bulk chicken on sale, poach it all, and portion that into baggies for freezing. Baggies will get this sauce and be frozen in the sauce, as well as the honey lime chicken sauce for enchiladas and the rollover crockpot chicken tortilla soup very often. These two shredded chickens are great in salads, latin-flavored soups, on pizzas, and in burritos/burrito bowls/quesadillas/tacos. Easy peasy.
|The chipotle bbq chicken layer sits on top of the lettuce in the bottom of the bowl, and the cheese sprinkled onto the lettuce.|
Bean and Corn Salsa:
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 C frozen corn
2 C petite diced tomatoes
1 C canned black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t siracha
1/2 C lime juice
1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/4 t ground cumin
a dash of cayenne pepper
Combine everything in a lidded tupperware and refrigerate until ready to use. This lasts one week, sometimes even giving a day or two. This is the salsa that gets layered into burritos, onto salads like this one, or on top of the rollover crockpot chicken tortilla soup. It's double yum! And don't you dare leave out the cilantro, even if you think you're a cilantro hater. No one, even those who profess to hate cilantro, has ever turned their nose up at anything I make with cilantro in it. (Because I use it RIGHT). :)
|The salsa goes on top of the chicken layer.|
Baked Tortilla Strips:
1 large flour tortilla - at least 9 inches
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C lime juice or a few drops lime oil
a dash of garlic powder
a dash of cayenne pepper
sprinkling of sea salt
Cut a tortilla in half lengthwise, then into 4 pie shapes, then each pie shape into strips. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Drop your tortilla strips into it and smoosh them around, then plop them onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spreading them out a bit. They do not have to be perfectly level and can even be a little on top of one another. Sprinkle sea salt over the top and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until crisp. Let cool slightly before scooping onto the salad. These can be made in advance and kept in a ziploc baggie for up to 1 week.
|The tortilla strips are the last layer. You do not want to add these if you're planning to refrigerate this for serving later. Just make the strips and store them in a baggie, adding just before you toss the salad.|