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Layered Mexican Chicken Salad – a great main dish lunch or dinner salad featuring couscous and seasoned chicken with cheese, salsa, and cilantro.
Are you a fan of the Food Network? I’m a huge fan of the cooking shows, or demonstration shows as they call them. I’m always looking to learn something new in the kitchen whether it’s new recipes or techniques.
Even though I’m not a big watcher of the competitive shows, there is one exception. Chopped. I love that show! The looks on the chefs’ faces when they open those mystery baskets is just priceless. I have no idea how in the world they come up with a recipe using such seemingly mismatched ingredients in the timeframe they’re given. It’s so interesting to watch them work.
Of course, it’s easy for me to sit at home and think it over all the time they’re cooking. “Oh, I’d do so-and-so,” I’ll say. Or, “you could take that ingredient and do this-and-that with it,” BeeBop chimes in. I just think it’s loads of fun to speculate on how to best combine those sometimes weird mystery ingredients.
Needless to say, I was delighted to be offered an opportunity a while ago to participate in a Food Network Chopped at Home Challenge sponsored by Sargento. My challenge was to showcase my style as an at-home cook using real ingredients. Following the Chopped model, my dish was required to include 1) Sargento’s 4 Cheese Mexican blend, 2) boneless chicken tenders, 3) couscous, and 4) salsa.
Needless to say, I had a little more than 30 minutes to come up with my recipe and the result is this delicious Layered Mexican Chicken Salad. I hope you enjoy it!
How to Make Layered Mexican Chicken Salad
Cut the chicken tenders crosswise into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with the taco seasoning mix. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through. Set aside.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the package of couscous according to the box directions. While the couscous is cooking, prepare the green onion, fresh tomato, bell pepper, and cilantro.
Stir into the warm couscous, 1/4 cup each of the green onion, tomato, bell pepper, and cilantro. Add the juice of half the lime and the salt. Set aside the remaining half a lime for garnish.
Note: The salad may be made as individual servings in tortilla bowls or as one large salad in a big salad bowl. If making individual salads, warm the tortilla bowls as directed on the package.
Layer the ingredients however you like. I did mine as individual salads in tortilla bowls and went in this order: start with a layer of the shredded cheese blend, add a layer of shredded lettuce and drizzle with salsa, add another layer of shredded cheese blend, add a layer of chicken tender bites, add a layer of the couscous mixture, then another layer of cheese, lettuce, and salsa. Top the salad with the remaining chicken.
Garnish with the remaining onion, tomato, bell pepper, and cilantro. Add a few avocado slices if desired. Top with the remaining cheese blend. Slice the remaining lime half into wedges and serve on the side.
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Layered Mexican Chicken Salad
- 1 lb. chicken tenders
- 1 oz. taco seasoning mix
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 7.6 oz. whole wheat couscous
- 3/4 cup chopped green onion
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh tomato
- 3/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 tortilla bowls if making individual salads or 4 cups tortilla chips (if making one large salad)
- 1 cup salsa red or green, mild or hot
- 8 oz. Mexican cheese blend
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 avocado sliced
- Cut the chicken tenders crosswise into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with the taco seasoning mix.
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through. Set aside.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the package of couscous according to the box directions. While the couscous is cooking, prep the green onion, fresh tomato, bell pepper, and cilantro.
- Into the warm couscous, stir 1/4 cup each of the green onion, tomato, bell pepper, and cilantro. Add the juice of half the lime and the salt. Reserve the remaining lime half for garnish.
- Layer the ingredients. If making one large salad, spread the tortilla chips on the bottom of the salad bowl. If using purchased tortilla bowls, warm them according to the package directions and then proceed as follows: Start with a layer of Mexican cheese blend topped with a layer of shredded lettuce and a drizzle of salsa., Add another layer of cheese. a layer of chicken tender bites, and a layer of the couscous mixture. Next, add a layer of cheese, lettuce, and salsa. Top with the remaining chicken.
- Garnish with the remaining onion, tomato, bell pepper, and cilantro. Add a few avocado slices if desired. Slice the remaining lime half into wedges and serve on the side.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally sponsored by Sargento.