Monday, January 26, 2009

Lime Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Salad

After a long break from blogging anything, I'm back. It took a while to get hungry. Thanks for your patience, not everyone has waited so patiently to get back to work.

This recipe is a perfect mid-winter break from hot food. It can be hard to find good produce in the middle of winter but it's worth it when you have a craving for something that tastes like summer.

Wait for the kitchen supervisor to check that you didn't forget something.

This recipe is easy to make, it involves making three mixtures in separate bowls and then combining everything at the end. One bowl is the pico de gallo-like mixture of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice.

Another bowl is the chicken, which is mixed with barbecue sauce and salsa to coat the diced chicken before it is added to the salad.

I used Whole Foods Chipotle Salsa. It's inexpensive and really good! I also used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, I buy that at King Soopers. I use it in so many recipes, I wouldn't know how to cook if I ever ran out of it.

The supervisor and her assistant helped me this time. Isabelle, assistant kitchen supervisor, is shy and rarely makes appearances until the food is ready to eat. She tends to be less interested in cooking than Iris, who watches everything.

The final step is combining the greens, beans, corn, carrots, avocado, and any other veggies you put into the salad, and then mixing everything together in the serving bowls, sprinkle some cheese on top, and it's ready to eat.

You can't eat until the recipe gets Iris's approval.

Lime Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Salad


6-8 oz. of salad greens (I like baby spring mix, with arugula and watercress in it for flavor)
1/2 can black beans, drained
1/2 can corn, drained (use fresh corn in the summer)
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced into small cubes
2-3 large red ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 cipollini onion or 1/3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1-2 green onions, sliced thin
a handful of chopped cilantro
juice of 1-2 limes
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/2-3/4 cup of chipotle barbecue sauce
1/2-3/4 cup of chipotle salsa
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced
1/2-1 cup of shredded monterey jack cheese

1. Rinse the greens, drain and set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the cucumber, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, and squeeze lime juice on top.
3. Place the greens in a large bowl and add corn, beans, carrots, and cucumber mixture, including all of the lime juice.
4. Toss all of the above ingredients together, then add avocado and mix in.
5. In the separate bowl, combine chicken, barbecue sauce and salsa to taste. Mix until chicken is lightly coated with sauce.
6. Add cooked chicken to salad ingredients, toss entire mixture, or add chicken to individual serving bowls.
7. Add cheese on top of individual serving bowls, this keeps it from getting soggy.

It's important to use really good, fresh ingredients for this. If it's summer and you have a garden, grow your own tomatoes. One of my pet peeves is tasteless tomatoes. It's worth the price you pay for good ones. The mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, onions, and lime juice should resemble coarsely chopped pico de gallo. If you like it spicy, use hot salsa and barbecue sauce, or add a pinch of red chile to the sauce mixture, or use pepper jack cheese.

Cipollini onions look like miniature sweet onions. They are super sweet and very strong, if you're not a fan of onions go easy on these. I found them at Whole Foods but sometimes you can find them at a regular grocery store.

I left a lot of variation in the amounts of ingredients used. The amounts can be varied according to taste, dietary needs, etc. (e.g. if you need more carbs, use the whole can of beans and corn). To save time you can use cooked rotisserie chicken. This recipe serves 2 hungry athletes as a meal.

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