Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Restaurant Favorite re-created:
Crispers Southwest Salad

If you're like me you are exhausted at the end of the day when you come home from work and the last thing you want to do is get involved in cooking a big meal.  (That's why I love cooking on my day off.  Cooking is one of my favorite things to do but I dread it when I'm tired.)

I had jury duty yesterday in Dade City and planned ahead the night before for something really simple for dinner as I didn't know when I'd get home.   I re-created one of my favorite restaurant items for our family's dinner  and most of the preparation was done Sunday night, allowing me to throw dinner together on Monday night in about 5-10 minutes!

The following was my at home version of Crispers Southwest Salad, which is my favorite thing on the menu there.  It is served at Crispers with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing.  I couldn't find that in the store and made my own version at home using a bottle of Ken's Lite Ranch, and  1 jalapeno.  I washed and seeded the pepper, then chopped it up and put it in my food processor along with the entire bottle of Ken's dressing.  After pureeing it together, viola!  I now had my jalapeno ranch dressing.  In case you are wondering, this was a very mild taste and wouldn't overwhelm anybody as far as the hot factor.

Next I took 3 boneless chicken breasts and seasoned them with seasoning to make blackened chicken.  I used "Blackened Steak Magic" (works for chicken too) and cooked them on my George Foreman grill.  After grilling them thoroughly, I cut them into bite sized pieces and stored them in the fridge overnight.

Once this was done I made sure all the other ingredients were ready and waiting in the fridge for when I got home from jury duty last night and it took me about 10 minutes to assemble everything and serve it.  I used the following approximate amounts for this for the whole family.

Blackened grilled chicken pieces  (I used 3 breasts)
1-2 bags (however much lettuce mix you want) of Romaine Mix
1 cup black beans (drained from can)
3/4 cup corn  (I had leftover corn we had cooked from night before and just used it.  If I did not have leftover corn I would just take some out of the freezer and let it de-frost before adding.)
2 Roma Tomatoes, washed and sliced
1 cup of shredded mexican cheese mix (I used 2% cheese)
Tortilla Chips  (Crispers uses little tortilla strips - I couldn't find those at the grocery store - I bought some all natural tortilla chips in the health food aisle, and took 2-3 chips and crushed them over each person's salad)
Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

*  Shredded carrots are also included in Crisper's recipe.  They were already in the "Romaine Mix" I got in the pre-made salad bag, so I didn't have to buy them separate but if they are not included in your salad bag you'll want to get some.

Mix all together and enjoy.  Add a sprinkle of extra cheese or chips here or there -- add/subtract whatever you like.  My husband doesn't like beans or tomatoes so I set a bowl of salad for him aside before I added them to the remainder of the salad.

As you can see I also used lite or natural ingredients, making this a relatively healthy dish with lots of veggies and fiber, while also containing enough meat for those in your family who claim that you can't have a meal without meat.  :)  Not that I have anybody in my house like that, or anything...

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