Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Southwestern Thai Chicken Salad

Tonight is salad night utilizing some chicken breasts leftover from Monday's company dinner. My two grown daughters came over for dinner, and I always try to make something special for them. I also made Sweet and Sour Pork, which I have featured earlier in this blog, so I won't go into that now. I served the grilled chicken and the sweet and sour pork with white rice as an additional entree and had steamed edamame pods for an appetizer. I had planned to grill some sweet potatoes, as well, but decided there was already enough on the plate. Then I just had so much fun visiting that I forgot to take any pictures of the food, so here is the remake, salad style.
I also wanted to use my sweet potatoes, so I peeled a couple and sliced them into about a quarter of an inch thick slices. (Actually, I asked Lee to peel them--I wanted to sit down to eat in time for American Idol. Love that Amber!) I boiled the sweet potatoes in a small amount of water for 5 minutes, just until tender, then grilled them on a stovetop griddle with olive oil for a couple of minutes to mark them. I transferred the potato slices to a plate and sprinkled them with a Thai seasoning blend from Spice Hunters.
I tore about half a head of Romaine lettuce from the SLO Veg box into smaller, bite sized pieces and rinsed them in the salad spinner basket and spun them dry. Then I arranged the lettuce on our dinner plates. I heated up bowls of rice and canned kidney beans and canned corn in the microwave, then spooned that out in layers on the lettuce. The chicken breasts, already cut into cubes and warmed for a minute in the microwave, went on top of that. I mixed up some more of the green chili-coconut marinade to use as salad dressing and drizzled it over the entire plates of salad, the topped it all with a shredded Mexican cheese blend (Jack and Cheddar).

The hardest part of this meal was peeling the kiwis. (If anyone knows an easy way to do it, please let me know!) Some sliced kiwis dressed up one side of the plates in lieu of mango suggested in the Tex Thai Chicken recipe. I think that was a perfect substitution given that we received so many kiwis from the tote lately...not complaining at all! I put sweet potato slices and some tomato quarters on the other side for a balance of fruit and vegetables.
The sweet potatoes added a nice savory touch to this meal. The Thai seasoning was a nice compliment to the green chili-coconut dressing, which could become a favorite in this house! See below for how it's made--same thing as the marinade. Also, I used mint from my planters out front in the marinade. It's the one herb that is tough enough to survive my neglect.
Anyway, here is how you make the chicken breasts. I cut mine in half lengthwise, and then quarters, more like chicken strips. The breasts were so large they were more than one person could eat and also I wanted more marinade on all the surfaces. This is one recipe the boys say, "Never make this again!"
Tex-Thai Chicken Breasts ingredients from the recipe website:
3/4 cup bottled green salsa
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 green onion, chopped (2 Tbsp.)
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon green curry paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1-1/4 lb. total)
Chopped mango
Chopped cucumber
Fresh mint (optional)
1. For marinade, in a blender or food processor combine salsa, coconut milk, green onion, lime peel and juice, cilantro, mint, curry paste, ginger, soy sauce, and garlic. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth. Remove 1/3 cup of the mixture for sauce; cover and chill until serving time.
2. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Pour remaining marinade over chicken; seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, turning bag occasionally. Drain chicken, reserving marinade.
3. For a charcoal grill, grill chicken on rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F), turning once and brushing with reserved marinade halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and grill as above.) Serve chicken with mango and cucumber. Drizzle with reserved 1/3 cup marinade mixture. If desired, garnish with mint. Makes 4 servings.

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