Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cajun Chicken Salad with Salsa Ranch Dressing

I love a good, chopped salad.  A BIG salad if you of my many references back to Seinfeld - it's just too easy sometimes.  :)  "It's a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it" says Elaine trying to explain to her waitress.  And I can just picture her face - makes me laugh every time. 

But, I digress.  A big, full-of-great-stuff salad can make for an excellent dinner.  And that's exactly what we did last night.  I marinated chicken breasts in a super spicy mixture of salt, garlic, peppers and thyme and blackened them in my skillet.  

Add black beans, corn, some chopped tomatoes, cheese and you have yourself a nice little meal!  I must warn you, this is extremely spicy!!  Easily toned down by scaling back on the cayenne pepper or using a mild salsa so as not to add anymore heat to the ranch dressing. 

  Serves 2-3

Cajun Chicken Salad with Salsa Ranch Dressing

For the chicken 
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons dried thyme
2 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the salad 
2 bunches of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup corn 
1/2 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/2 cup light ranch dressing
1/4 salsa (medium or mild)

Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you end up with 4 thin pieces.  In a large zip lock bag, combine garlic powder, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt.  Add chicken breasts, seal bag and shake to cover each piece of chicken with spice mixture.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  

Heat olive oil over medium to medium high heat in a heavy bottomed skillet.  Pull the chicken out of the zip lock bag, shaking off the excess seasoning and place in skillet.  Cook until done throughout, about 5-6 minutes per side.  When done, set aside, allow to cool slightly and then slice for the salad. 

Split the lettuce, black beans and corn evenly into 2 large serving bowls.  Top with chicken, then cheese.  Combine the ranch dressing and salsa in a small bowl and spoon on top of each salad.

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