Thursday, June 23, 2011

CPK's BBQ Chicken Salad

Submitted by Linda
So in the quest to feed my hungry boys who are gainfully employed this summer, I pulled out this favorite recipe of CPK's BBQ Chicken Salad. You may remember that I posted the recipe for the Garden Herb Ranch Dressing that goes on the salad, but this time my plan was to do some shortcuts to make the prep easier.

Yesterday Michelle blogged about being accomplished women, but I am definitely the 'weaker link' in the kitchen. I can hold my own, especially in baking, but I am becoming more of a foodie thanks to Michelle's input into our friendship. I know that philosophically, she is always a fan of homemade vs. store-bought, yet sometimes our lives move so quickly that we need to get a good meal on the table after a long day at work.

Shortcut #1: Since salads always seem to require more time to chop and mince, I decided to buy my ranch dressing at Eddie's. I'm sure any nice ranch dressing would do.

Shortcut #2: Cook extra chicken earlier in the week. The CPK recipe says to grill or broil chicken breasts with a bit of olive oil, soy sauce, salt and minced garlic brushed onto it. So throw some onto the BBQ when you're doing some other cooking.

Shortcut #3: The recipe calls for fried corn tortilla strips tossed into the salad and sprinkled on top. I was willing to do this step, because they take very little time, and are such an upgrade. However, on a regular workday, I could easily substitute gently broken Tostitos.

I think the secret to the yumminess of the salad is that the salad is tossed in the ranch, and the chicken is tossed in BBQ sauce, and then the chicken is put on top of the salad. The blend of ranch and bbq sauce is 'bomb-diggity' (those were Nick's exact words last night!)

Here is the salad portion of the recipe:

1/2 head iceberg lettuce (cored, rinsed,dried and cut into 1/8" strips)
1/2 romaine lettuce leaves (separated, trimmed, rinsed, dried, and cut into thin strips)
12 large fresh basil leaves, cut into 1/8" strips
1 lb. jicama, cut into 1/4" by 1/4" by 3/4" strips (I did cubes)
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup canned sweet white corn kernals, drained
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cut into 1/2" dices
1/4 C. good-quality-sweet and spicy BBQ sauce (I used KC Masterpiece)
12 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4" strips and fried in hot oil (or use purchased tortilla chips)
scallions, chopped

Cut the (cooked and chilled) chicken breasts into 3/4 inch cubes and, in a bowl, toss with 1/4 C. barbeque sauce to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the lettuces, basil, jicama, cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, dressing and half of the fried tortilla strips. Transfer the salad to chilled serving plates. Surround each salad with the diced tomatoes and the remaining tortilla strips. Top each salad with chunks of chicken, and drizzle the chicken with the bbq sauce. Garnish with the scallions.

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