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I am a California native and have grown up eating LOTS of Mexican (or at least Mexican inspired) food. I just love the bold, spicy flavors! While many types of Mexican food can be very fattening, if you’re clever about it, you can make healthy versions.

The other night my family went to an Oakland A’s game. I had to be up early the next morning, so opted to stay home. Plus, getting time home alone is a rarity for me! I decided to watch a good movie and make myself something yummy to eat! I decided on a taco salad. Now this salad recipe is in no way authentic Mexican food, but it is delicious! It was so good, I decided to enlarge the recipe and make it for our family dinner this last Sunday.

This is one of those recipes that is easy to size up or down and alter to taste. I’m giving you the big recipe quantities here. I served this as the main entre with only fresh baked garlic bread as a side. It fed 6 adults with two servings left over.

In a previous post, I played with bottled ranch dressing to make an herbed version. With this salad, I again used bottled ranch and jazzed it up in a different way. This dressing was my husband’s favorite part of the salad!!! And I had some left over, so I could refrigerate it and use it again at a later time.

Chicken Taco Salad

Dressing

• One bottle of light ranch dressing

• One avocado

• One small bunch of cilantro

I made this earlier in the day, so the flavors could mingle and then it was one less thing I had to do at dinner time. Put all ingredients in a food processor or you can do what I did and blended them using an immersion blender. Pulse blend the ingredients until the avocado is well mixed with the dressing and the cilantro is very finely chopped, so you don’t get big chunks. It will be a beautiful green color!

Salad

• 6 heads Romaine Lettuce, trim off ends and chop

• 1.5 – 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat

• ¼ cup taco seasoning mix

• 2 small cans sliced black olives

• 1 bag fat free shredded cheddar cheese

• ½ cup red onion, chopped

• 1 cob fresh corn, cut off the cob and chopped

• 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

• ½ – 4 oz. can chopped jalapenos

• 1 container of Cherry or grape tomatoes

• 1 whole avocado, chopped

• 1 bag tortilla strips salad topping

I prepped and cooked the chicken around lunch time, so it could chill until dinner time. I guess you could serve it hot on the salad, but I wanted to serve a chilled salad, since it was a warm summer night. Place the chicken in a sealable bag with taco seasoning mix and shake to coat. You can cook the chicken how you like; bake, grill or on the stove top. I decided to take the quick and easy route. I used my grill pan on the stove top, lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Make sure your chicken is cooked all the way through. Put in the fridge to chill. Prior to assembling your salad, chop the chicken into bite size pieces.

Add all ingredients, except the tortilla strips, to a large salad bowl. Mix. Add the dressing a little at a time, mixing as you go. You don’t want to overdress your salad, so add and mix until you get it where you want it. I didn’t use all the dressing I had made.

Plate your beautiful salad and top with the tortilla strips. You could mix the tortilla strips in, but I thought they might get soggy, so decided to use them as a toping.

Bueno come!!!

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