Man life has been busy recently! We have been doing a ton of travelling and hosting, with little free time left for blogging. On top of a busy personal schedule, work has been out of control. I work as an engineering consultant specializing in energy efficiency for existing buildings in the commercial sector. Someone once told me, “Consulting is like sitting on a beach watching a tsunami approaching. There’s nothing you can do until it hits and when it does, you just have to brave the storm.” That has really resonated the past month. We were slow through March and then BAM! We’ve had numerous projects sign contracts and ramp up. I’m currently writing this post from Kansas City where I’m spending my week for work.
It’s times like these that make me thankful for easy and delicious meals. The real star in this recipe is the vinaigrette. The recipe makes 1.5 cups, so I almost always have a jar of it in the refrigerator. Once the dressing is made, the recipe is a simple as chopping a bunch of stuff up.
Southwest Chicken Salad and Chipotle Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Salad Yield: 2-3 servings
Vinaigrette Yield: 1.5 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon taco seasoning of choice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cooked chicken
1 head Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped OR 6 cups of spinach
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, chopped
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cobs of corn
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup honey
¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Cook the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken thighs in a baking dish or on a baking sheet. Brush the thighs with olive oil, sprinkle the taco seasoning and salt on top of each thigh. Rub the taco seasoning in to get an even coating. Bake the thighs for 25 minutes. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before slicing them up.
Prepare the vinaigrette: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Prepare the salad: Rinse and chop the lettuce. Rinse and drain canned black beans. Shuck the corn, rinse it and cut the corn kernels off of the cobs. Half the grape tomatoes. Chop the avocado. Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss with the desired amount of dressing. Top each salad serving with cooked chicken.
To simplify the meal, feel free to replace the chicken with left over chicken from another meal or use a rotisserie chicken.
Don’t worry too much about the greens. I’ve used romaine, red-leaf, green-leaf and spinach all with great success. Just use what you like and what you have on hand.