Tag Archives: Main Dish Salad

Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Italian Dressing

There was this place we went in the Winter where we got a really good workout and had fun at the same time.

I was dating my then to be husband, and a Northern Michigan Winter could be long. I never knew any different, and I didn’t think to complain about the cold. It was how I was born, raised and lived my entire childhood and early adulthood.

Michigander’s were tough, resilient, and we knew how to have fun despite the weather.

Taco Salad 13

Although there were plenty of outdoor activities, the raquetball club was one of our favorite Friday night spots. You could work up a great sweat, and the court was smaller than a tennis court, hitting the ball more frequently in fast succession was very satisfying. The loud popping echo of the ball hitting the walls was loud and invigorating. I really worked up an appetite, and it was tradition to stop afterwards and eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant. They had the BEST Chicken Taco Salad and Margaritas! The salad was really big, and you were full when you were done. It was not a light salad at all, but there were plenty of great ingredients in it.

Taco Salad 12

Later, when we moved East and no longer played raquetball……after we were married and had two kids…….we recreated our own version at home and made it once a week religiously. It was very close, but I used a commercial dressing that I wouldn’t choose today. So,  I’ve come up with my own dressing, without the soybean oil but all the great flavor!

Currently, I hadn’t made the salad in years, but lately I’ve really missed it.

So, I have recreated it here with grain free chips, grass fed cheese and my own homemade creamy Italian dressing. It is darn good! My husband, Doug, said it was spot on, just like he remembered. I think you will love it too.

This is a BIG bowl. The leftovers are good, even though the chips won’t be as crunchy as when it is freshly made, and you can half it if you desire! Now all you have to do is:

Build It! Here’s the recipe:

Taco Salad Build It

Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Italian Dressing

Ingredients:

4 Boneless Chicken Breasts

8 Cups of Iceberg Lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces

8 oz. of Grass Fed Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 Can of Sliced Black Olives (I used this 3.8 oz. can of Field Day)

1/4 Cup of Sliced Scallions

2 Medium Sized Ripe Tomatoes, Chopped

1 Large Green Pepper, Diced

Cilantro (optional) Chopped, a handful

1 Bag of Siete Sea Salt Chips (5 oz) Crushed with your hands

Directions:

Make the Creamy Italian Dressing below and refrigerate.

Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Add the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cook for 18 minutes or until they are 165° in the center. Remove them from the water, and place them on a plate. Cover the chicken with another plate while they cool and you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. The chicken is supposed to be still warm when you add it to the salad later.

In a Large salad bowl, place ingredients in this order (see photos).

Lettuce, Tomatoes, Olives, Scallions, Peppers, Shredded Cheese, Crushed Chips, Chicken (Dice it when you are ready to add it. It will still be warm. I don’t like to chop it before hand, because it will dry out and be less juicy.) and Crushed Chips (Crush them right over the salad as you take them out of the bag.) Pour all the dressing over the salad, and toss it really well, coating everything.

Serve!

To Make the Creamy Italian Dressing:

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Mayo (I use Primal Kitchen)

1/4 Cup of Scallions

2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Honey

1 Tablespoon of Garlic Infused Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

1/4 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley

1/8 Teaspoon each of dried:

Marjoram

Oregano

Basil

Rosemary

Directions: Puree the dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate.

 

Chicken Taco Salad Trio

Chicken Taco Salad Grain Free Gluten Free

 

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad

Mango Cashew Chicken Dinner Salad

This salad is inspired by one of my favorite salads from Red Mesa Grill in Northern Michigan. I order it every year from their gluten free menu and it is so good, I decided to recreate it at home adding my own spin on it.

Mango Cashew Chicken Summer Salad

The salad has a delicious combination of sweet juicy mango, crunchy cashews, tart cranberries, onion and roasted chicken. The mango dressing is bursting with vitamin C. It is a perfect Summer main dish salad!

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad

Begin with making a marinade for the chicken breasts:

Marinade:

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

Zest and Juice of 1 Lime

2 Cloves of Smashed Garlic

2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Whisk the marinade together well. Add 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to a gallon zip bag, and pour the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag, and place it flat in the refrigerator for 3 hours, flipping once halfway through to ensure the chicken is evenly seasoned. You can refrigerate the chicken for up to 24 hours in the marinade.

Now prepare your salad dressing.

Mango Salad Dressing

Mango Salad Dressing:

Ingredients;

1 1/4 Cup of Ripe Mango, diced

1/4 Cup of Good Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Cilantro

2 Tablespoons of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (I use this kind)

1 Green Onion, sliced

1 Teaspoon of fine Sea Salt (I like this brand)

Blend the mango and olive oil in a blender until completely smooth and creamy. Add the lime juice, salt and cider vinegar and blend to incorporate. Now, add the fresh scallion and cilantro, and pulse the blender just until you can see tiny bits of scallion and cilantro. You want to be able to see it and not completely incorporate it into the dressing.

Refrigerate the dressing. This will keep 3 days in the refrigerator.

Now to make the salad! 🙂

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad Prep

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad Ingredients:

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 – 5 oz. Container of Organic Baby Romaine, washed and spun dry

1/2 Head of Organic Iceberg Lettuce, washed, spun dry and torn into bite-sized pieces

1 Ripe Mango, Diced in to 1 inch pieces

1/2 Cup of Salted or Raw Cashews

1/4 Cup of Apple Juice Sweetened Dried Cranberries (I use this brand)

1/4 Cup of Green Onion, Sliced

1/4 Cup of Red Onion, Finely Diced

Additional Sea Salt for Sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375° degrees. In a cast iron skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat on medium-high. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, and sprinkle them with additional sea salt, and add them to the pan. Brown the breasts two minutes per side, until golden brown, but not cooked through. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, and place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes or just until the chicken reaches 165° at the center. Remove the chicken from the oven, and set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Mound the salad greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with a generous amount of Mango Salad Dressing. Sprinkle the mango, cashews, cranberries, green onion and red onion on top. Slice your cooked chicken breasts on a diagonal (they can still be warm) and arrange the breasts on the top of the salad. Sprinkle with some additional sea salt to taste.

Serve!

4 Large Dinner Sized Servings (1 Chicken Breast per person)

 

 

 

 

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