what are we having for dinner?

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March 15, 2016

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Southwestern Chicken Salad

The weather in Atlanta, GA has been spectacular this March, and it feels like summer here (86 degrees!), not spring.  I’m in the mood for a great salad, and this Tex-Mex one sounded perfect to me.  You can make it as hot as you like by throwing on more jalapeño peppers or by adding a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce to the dressing.  It’s a cool, healthy but at the same time hearty dinner.  The special part of this salad is the homemade jalapeño dressing – it’s fabulous!

I’m using grilled chicken for this salad since it’s such mild weather where I am, but you of course can use rotisserie chicken in it’s place.

Southwestern Chicken Salad with Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

(Adapted from Closet Cooking)


4 – 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup bottled Italian dressing

6 cups romaine or other lettuce, shredded

1 cup tomato, diced

1 large avocado, diced

1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup green or red onion, sliced

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

1/4 cup crumbled tortilla chips (optional)

1/4 cup jalapeño ranch dressing (see below for recipe)

fresh or pickled sliced jalapenos to taste

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)



Marinate the chicken a half an hour (or up to 24 hours) with your favorite Italian dressing.


Grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 4-6 minutes per side, set aside, let cool and slice.


Assemble salad and enjoy!



Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

4 oz. cream cheese (I prefer neufchâtel), softened

1/4 cup sour cream (I used light)

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup pickled jalapenos

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 green onion, sliced

1 TBSP cilantro

salt and pepper to taste


Put all ingredients in a food processor.


Pulse until mixed thoroughly.


Pour into a jar and refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend.


*All photos are mine unless otherwise noted.


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