Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Beautiful and Delicious Chinese Chicken Salad!

I'll start out with my disclaimer...I don't consider myself a great cook but I can follow directions and I try a lot of recipes.  One of the hardest things for me about being a wife and mom, is coming up with new dinner ideas.  All the meals around here are planned by me.  Three meals a day, every day.  Humans eat A LOT of food.  Recipes can get old real fast.  I am always trying new recipes that are kid friendly but still yummy to us too.  I would go to my sisters to share recipes but guess what...they don't cook!  Somehow, both my sister's landed men who do the majority of the meal planning/cooking.  I am not jealous.  I swear.  I don't know what that emotion is.  Anyway, I have had to make my own path and train myself when it comes to kitchen skills.  So, knowing what a pain it is to find new things to cook, I thought I would post the recipes that we love in case anyone wants to try them out.  I am starting with this salad recipe because it is the one that people ask me for and I think I can claim this as my own creation.  The dressing and chicken portion come from Mrs. Ceizler.  Mrs. Ceizler is the mother of a good friend of mine.  We lived next door to each other in high school and if I had any hint that she was making this salad for dinner, I was sure to get myself invited over to share in the deliciousness.  The vegetable combination comes from a recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website.  I combined the two and ended up with a beautiful and delicious Chinese Chicken Salad.  If you make this...let me know what you think!  Thanks!

3-4 Chicken Breasts – boil about 13 minutes and shred

3 green onions – chopped

1/2 to 1 head sliced Napa cabbage

1/2 to 1 head sliced purple cabbage

1/2 to 1 bag baby spinach

1 red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin

1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin (if available)

1 small bag bean sprouts (also called “mung bean sprouts”)

1 small package of slivered almonds

¼ cup sesame seeds (toasted)

1 small can of Chinese noodles
Chopped Cilantro (lots!)


½ cup olive oil
4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Place chicken breasts in boiling water and boil for about 13 minutes. After boiling, check one of the breasts by cutting in half to make sure there is no pink left inside. Remove from heat but let cool in the hot water for about 15 minutes or so. While the chicken is cooling, you can make the dressing.

Mix together the Olive Oil, Sugar, White Wine Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, and Poppy Seeds. Once the chicken is cooled a bit, shred it. Put shredded chicken in a tupperware bowl. Stir the dressing up really well and pour on top of the chicken. Mix well. I like to put the lid on the tupperware and shake it up. Put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Before starting on your vegetables, toast your sesame seeds and almonds. You can do it the real way with a skillet or you can do the shortcut way in the toaster oven. I usually put some foil down on a toaster tray and pour the almonds on one side and the sesame seeds on the other and just toast lightly on a low heat...till they are just a light brown - do not burn. (duh)

Slice up the bell peppers, cabbage, scallions and throw in a huge salad bowl. Add a 1/2 to 1 bag of baby spinach...depending on how big you want this salad. Throw in your rinsed and cleaned bean sprouts. Now add your chopped cilantro.

Just before serving add the marinated chicken, toasted sesame seeds, toasted almonds and crunchy chinese noodles. Toss together and serve. I like to serve it with French Bread on the side...kind of random for a Chinese meal but I am not sure if this really qualifies as Chinese food and it works. OR...if you want some leftovers like I do, don't add the chicken to the whole salad bowl because the next day it will be all soft and wilty. Just put individual portions of the salad on a plate and top with some of the chicken, toasted almonds and seeds and crunchy noodles. And the eater can mix it up on their own. Either way it is so yummy. Enjoy!