Hye Thyme Cafe: Too Hot to Cook Southwest Inspired Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Too Hot to Cook Southwest Inspired Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing


When asked earlier in the day if I had any dinner ideas for tonight, I was a complete blank.  I hadn't even thought about dinner yet, and it's been so hot out, who wants to cook?!?  I was happy parked in front of a fan doing crosswords on Facebook and wandering around Pinterest at the time.  If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, it's a website where people post images, so it's kind of a virtual tackboard.  You can post individual photos, or pin photos from other websites and blogs so the link goes with them.  That way, you have a visual reference rather than a list of websites you want to refer back to.  It's great for foodies, photographers, crafters, fashionistas, etc.

Pinterest is where I found the inspiration for tonight's dinner in the form of a post for a Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad (click to refer to original blog post) by Tami at Nutmeg Notebook.

SALAD:
1 can crisp corn
1 can black beans
1/4 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 thin/firm cucumber
1 small orange bell pepper
1 small red onion
1 pint grape tomatoes
cilantro
cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
tortilla strip crisps and/or pumpkin seeds 
whatever lettuce or mixed greens you like

DRESSING:
1 avocado
6 oz container of plain yogurt
1 clove garlic
pinch of salt
cilantro
lime juice to taste (I used 2 small limes)
milk - optional


Drain the corn and rinse the black beans well, tossing both in a large bowl with the cumin and chlii powder so they'll start soaking up that flavor.


 








Dice the cucumber (peeled/seeded or not, up to you), orange bell pepper, and red onion.  Toss those with the corn and black beans, then quarter the grape tomatoes and chop a handful of cilantro, adding those to the mix as well.

Smells good already!


For the dressing, throw everything** in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  I had thought that the yogurt would be enough to thin the mixture once it was blended, but all of the avocados were on the firm side today, so I ended up adding some milk to thin it.  As you can see, it's still pretty thick.  I debated adding a splash of white balsamic, but I was afraid that would make it too acidic on top of the lime juice.  It was very tasty, just thicker than I anticipated.  Would be great to scoop with veggies or chips.

** If you have not used avocados before and aren't sure how to handle them, it's super easy.  Make a slice all the way around the center, lengthwise, then twist to separate the halves.  One half will contain the pit.  Hit the pit with the blade of your knife and twist to pop it out, then slide a spoon between the skin and the flesh (that sounds gross) to scoop the avocado out of its shell.

You can certainly toss everything together if you want, but I was in a layering mood today, so I washed and chopped the lettuce, plating that first, then topped it with a scoop of the veggie mixture.  I tore the chicken into bite-sized pieces and piled that on top of the veggies, topping the whole thing off with a spoonful of dressing and a sprinkling of tortilla strips.





Thinking it was too hot to stand over a pot of hot oil to make tortilla strips, I intended to use pumpkin seeds for a textural contrast, so I grabbed a bag on my way by.  As it turned out, I found a bag of tortilla strips in the crouton section, so I used those, forgetting I had already picked up a bag of pumpkin seeds.  (I know what I'll be snacking on later.)

If you want to make your own tortilla strips, it's super easy.  Just buy a package of small corn tortillas, cut them into strips about 1/4" wide and an inch or so long.  Drop them into hot oil until golden and crisp, then remove them to a paper towel or brown paper bag to drain, tossing them with whatever seasoning you like.  Don't worry about having too much - they're great for snacking, so the extras won't last long!  

Also, I had picked up two avocados, intending to use one for the dressing and dicing the other into the salad, but because they were so firm, I changed my mind.  If you want to add avocado to yours, go for it!  I'm letting the other one sit for a few days.

Thanks Tami and Pinterest for the inspiration!  :)






 

10 comments:

  1. Looks yummy and perfect for our hot Carolina weather.
    Did you put the avocado in the blender, peel and all? I'm avocado challenged so I need to know these things. Especially from a past traumatic avocado episode I experienced.

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    1. Good point! I've covered it in other posts, but I'll edit to note how to handle the avocado - no peel involved. ;)

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  2. Your salad looks amazing! Thanks for the shout out.

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    1. Gotta give credit where credit's due! :)

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  3. wow! just how i like it done.. I would surely try this.. and mmm you have a lot of interesting and yummy recipe that I can do at home. these are the kind of food that my husband and I love.. so for that I am grabbing your button so ill get an easy access on your blog... so happy I stumble on your site... cheers !!!

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    1. We had spicy panko crusted zucchini chips as an appetizer the next night, and the leftover avocado dressing was great on those too! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  4. your recipes are just fabulous!! I can tell by the pictures and ingredients..thank you. i have made a similar version of this before but have not made the dressing..thank you. i will try this!!!
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

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    1. Thank you very much! :)
      As mentioned above (not sure if you scanned the other comments), we used the leftover dressing the next night on panko-crusted zucchini chips. It was great on those too.
      I hope Mom to 8 includes pet?!?! Yikes! I'm working at the moment, but will definitely check out your blog later. Thanks again.

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  5. I didn't read this one yet but it looks OH SO DELICIOUS. I was doing a search for the white chicken chili and this is one that came up. I'll pin this for later ;-)

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    1. I think I posted this by one of your other comments, but FYI, the chicken chili is at ... http://hyethymecafe.blogspot.com/2013/01/slow-cooker-chicken-chili-with-great.html :)

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