Little Brother was visiting me last week, all the way from...well, from where he lives. (Sorry, I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you. He works for the Government.)
Anyway, he's been traveling for work a lot and eating in restaurant after restaurant, which gets pretty tiring after a while, so I promised him some home cooking. We invited a few friends over and crammed five folks around our tiny kitchen table for a simple meal. Little Brother made his famous salsa (sorry folks, a secret recipe) and I made guacamole and a southwestern chicken salad. It's one of those dishes that I make all the time that came about one day when I was trying to use up leftovers. The secret, I hate to say, is in the store-bought dressing. One day I'll don my white lab coat and buckle down with beakers, test tubes and a Bunsen burner to reproduce the special sauce in my own kitchen, but till then you'll have to find it on your grocery store shelves.
Southwestern Chicken Salad
This salad is robust with lots of protein and vegetables, but if you want to make sure you don't go away hungry, just make a few cheese quesadillas to cut and serve alongside. I just shred cheddar onto a corn tortilla, stick it in a non-stick pan with another tortilla on top and work it around with my fingers till it's time to flip it over. When the cheese starts to ooze out the sides it's ready to eat. Olé!
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP coriander
1/2 TBSP pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 head of lettuce (red leaf is what I use, but most anything will do)
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 (10-oz?) can corn, drained
1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
6 TBSP (or so) Briannas Home Style Chipotle Cheddar Dressing
handful tortilla chips, crushed
1. Preheat oven to broil. In a small pan over medium heat, stir cumin, coriander and pepper 45 seconds, till just fragrant. Add salt and set aside.
2. Oil chicken breasts and drag them through the spice mixture, coating both sides. Broil 4-5 minutes per side, turning once, till cooked through. Cool thoroughly, then cut into inch-long pieces.
3. Meanwhile, combine lettuce, tomatoes, corn, black beans, green pepper and cilantro in a large bowl. Add chicken, then toss with dressing (to taste). Top with crushed tortilla chips and serve.