Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lake House Big Bad Fried Chicken Salad

Do you ever feel like you just cannot get enough vegetables into your diet? I know I do, and many times I will turn to a big entree salad to add some fiber and wholesome goodies to my diet. Make no mistake, I don't always keep it uber-healthy, like tonight- we're making a big bad salad with some really naughty add-ins, but that's not always the case. Remember, this is a whole meal salad, so we need some substance.

I get my salad mix from a nearby aquaponics farm not from the supermarket. You just cannot compare this to grocery store salad mix- not at all. Beautiful leaf lettuces, malabar spinach, rainbow chard, kale, nasturtium leaves and fresh basil bring so much flavor to the bowl. I sometimes add a little Romaine lettuce for some juicy crunch, and Romaine is nutritionally superior to iceberg lettuce. 

Look at all the goodness- the beautiful rainbow chard, and
that big beautiful nasturtium leaf- so delicious!
I absolutely loved the Lake House Steakhouse Salad I made a while back, so I am going to borrow an ideas from that salad- the fried onion strings. They were the perfect blend of crispy and sweet and made a fun and delicious topping. So we're going to go there again. Click HERE for the recipe for the easy onion strings and salad recipe- you'll want to try it if you haven't yet.

I'm borrowing the onion ring idea but changing up a lot of everything else. Instead of steak I'm thinking some good old fried chicken- like a couple chicken breasts, crunchy stuff and all, cut off the bone and cut up, shredded cheese, the last of our fresh home-grown tomatoes, might scope out the remains of the garden and see if I have any baby zucchini to add, and instead of just hard boiled eggs, how about a few deviled eggs instead? This is going to be big, delicious and not 100% healthy, but that's ok. I'm also going to cheat just a little bit by using a store-bought salad dressing but adding my own touches and kicking up the spice a bit- more like something we always eat around here.

Little Lake House Big Bad Fried Chicken Salad

8-10 cups mixed salad greens
1 cup shredded cheese (I used ColbyJack)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or chopped larger tomatoes)
3 deli or leftover fried chicken breasts, removed from bone and cut up
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
mayo, yellow mustard, salt and pepper
additional fresh salad veggies of choice, olives, etc
Salad dressing of choice* (spicy ranch or honey mustard are really good)
One recipe onion strings

Begin by cutting the hard boiled eggs in half. Flip the yolks into a small bowl, reserve the whites on a plate. Mash the yolks with a fork, add mayo, yellow mustard, salt and pepper to taste, and stuff mixture back into egg whites. Chill.

Place the salad greens in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, shredded cheese, any other fresh veggies you are using, and the chicken. Toss together well. 

You can use leftover fried chicken breasts or breaded fried
chicken tenders- they work great too and no bones to mess with
 Drizzle the dressing of choice over the salad, toss well to coat all the pieces. Pile a large serving amount on each dinner plate. Add a couple deviled egg halves to each plate. Top salads with a big handful of the onion strings. Go crazy!!!

*Note- For the dressing I used about a cup of store-bought ranch dressing and dressed it up. Chopped fresh chives, chopped candied (or pickled if desired) jalapenos, a splash of the candied jalapeno juice (or milk)- just a splash- just to loosen it up a little but not to water it down. Lots of freshly cracked black pepper adds a final touch.

Now you might not be a big fan of salads as an entree. I happen to LOVE salad meals. The nutrition from all the fresh vegetables is so many times better than a burger, all the fiber, antioxidants from the colorful veggies. Salads can be good AND bad depending on what you add to them. In this case I've added some not-so-healthy additions like the fried chicken, cheese, deviled eggs, but hey, we don't always add all this stuff to salads so it's all about moderation....and FUN- we want food to be fun, and something you enjoy, not something you feel shameful about eating. That whole "guilt-free food" thing- infuriates me. Yes, there are a few naughty treats in this bowl but it's also filled with wonderful things- like that amazing superfood kale, fresh tomatoes that came from the garden (no chemicals), that aquaponic salad mix with spinach and chard (all organic), lean protein from the egg white- also organic eggs from the same farm (the yolk is a treat). Yes, I kinda threw it over the fence with the dressing, but I wanted something creamy for a change so....... once in a while won't kill me. Eating is about finding balance, so I'm going to balance this plate on my knee and enjoy!

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