Picnics! That's our theme this month for the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society.
I had a heckuva time keeping my focus on picnics while reading Aly's blog, Cooking in Stilettos. I kept finding wonderful recipes that just might not work for a picnic. Macadamia nut crusted French toast. Do you suppose I could cheat and do that one? It sounds amazing. Actually, it sounds like a recipe I've got to put on my make soon list. Then, there was butternut squash with blue cheese and shallots and pecans. What a fabulous combination. Focus, Kate. Focus. Picnic. Ok, fine. There was lemon chicken, Mexican street corn salad, guacamole, chiles rellenos quiche. How about barbecue chicken salad with smoky barbecue dressing? Doesn't that just make your mouth water? Me too! On the sweet side (you do need a dessert for a picnic!) there were the boozy cherries and the chocolate caramel studded toffee bars. Oh, and the bourbon brownies with bourbon frosting. Wonder how those would be with a bit of bacon added. Sounds decadent! How to decide?
Finally, a decision. I just couldn't get the barbecued chicken salad out of my mind. I'd made the bourbon brownies. But, I didn't have bourbon so I used Scotch. Don't get me started on the STOOOPID laws in Indiana. We can't buy booze in a store on Sundays. Because our legislators are in the hip pocket of the folks who don't want to be open on Sundays. Nothing about convenience for the consumer. Let's worry about all that money you need for your next campaign. ARGH! Makes me crazy. While we were moving we'd use something up and not replace it. And, we've not made a list of what we're missing. So, we're missing a bunch of things. Well, I also didn't have dark chocolate chips. So, I tried replacing some of the milk chocolate chips with bitter chocolate bars. The brownies were dry. Very dry. Like we each ate one and the rest went down the disposal. It was all my fault for substituting like crazy.
I'd bought everything I needed to make the salads for Sunday evening dinner. Saturday afternoon I'd headed to Bloomington, IN for a Kappa Kappa Gamma reunion. Five classes of gals. About 40 out of 150 showed. It was a hoot. After lots of chips and sweets and wine, I was more than ready for a salad. So, fine, I'd switch gears and blog about the salad rather than my pitiful attempt at brownies. I'll go back to my sorority sister Sally's recipe that I can make despite the fact that I'm just not a wonderful baker. But, I'll have to try brushing those with bourbon and making an icing with bourbon. And, maybe I'll go wild and put in some bacon. Just for testing purposes, you know.
Well, let's talk about the salad, OK? Talk about fabulous!!!!!!!! I made what should have been four servings. That's 1/2 of a chicken thigh each. We'll wind up with at least six servings out of this. I'll need to make more dressing. But, that's ok because it's easy and oh, so very good. It's so good that it will become part of our regular salad rotation at the office. Along with Giada's chicken salad, Meridian Hills Special Salad and Casa d'Angelo salad...
Before I get into the recipe, let me introduce you to Aly. She lives in Philly. Loves living in Philly. Has a 9-5 that's frequently a 9-9. But, despite the hours she works, she still manages to post some incredible food! Here's how to find this recipe on her blog: Barbecued Chicken Salad with Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette.
And, if you'd like to see some more wonderful picnic food, please visit my friends listed at the bottom of this blog. They're a group of really fun folks who also love to cook and eat. All I can say is I always wind up making about half of the recipes posted...
Grilled Barbecue Chicken Salad with Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette
for the salad:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used two bone-in, skin on chicken thighs)
5 slices thick cut bacon, browned and crumbled (my addition)
1/3 c barbecue sauce (our house sauce is Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 head romaine lettuce
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 c frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 16 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced (my addition)
1 c each coarsely grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese
for the vinaigrette:
3/4 c barbecue sauce
1 t cumin
1/2 t chipotle chili powder (replaced the smoked paprika I'm not a fan of)
3 T honey
zest and juice of a lime
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 t freshly cracked black pepper
salt to taste
I chose to use chicken thighs because 1) Connie likes them better and 2) they stay more moist when grilling. The skin on also helps the moisture. Now, granted, there's not as much BBQ sauce on the chicken when you put it on the salad. But, the dressing will more than take care of that issue. So, you grill the chicken. Here's Connie at the grill. Don't you love the view from our deck??? Oh, and that's taken through the window above the sink. Almost makes it fun to do dishes. Well, ok, maybe not.
Then, you chop and arrange all of the fixings. I chose to do a fix your own salad bar kind of a deal.
Then, you either shred or chop your lettuce. If you're using it right away, chopping is just fine. Otherwise, shred it or the cut edges will get brown.
Last but not least, you mix up your dressing. I doubled Aly's dressing recipe. We used all of that between dinner and lunch. Four salads in all. Now we've got enough for another lunch so I'll make another recipe of it. That means we'll have three times her recipe. That's how I showed the measurements up above. So, please don't triple my measurements or you'll be eating the dressing on your pancakes next weekend just to try and use it all up! It's really good but probably not great on pancakes. LOL.
So, my plate looks a bit helter-skelter. But this certainly did taste wonderful. Did I mention we love, love, loved this salad??? Thank you Aly!!
adapted from Cooking in Stilettos
- (Almost) Nancy's Chopped Salad w/ Oregano Vinaigrette by Heather from girlichef
- Apple Chips by Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Barbecue Chicken Salad w/ Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette by Kate from Kate's Kitchen
- California Quinoa Greek Salad;by Christiane from Taking on Magazines
- Carrot Cake Cookies by Kathy from Bakeaway with Me
- Chicken Salad w/ Peanut Dressing by Azmina from Lawyer Loves Lunch
- Chicken Waldorf Salad by Aly from Cooking in Stilettos
- Duck with Pear Wraps + Limeade with Chia Seeds by Kelli from Kelli's Kitchen
- Fried Apple Pies by Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Green Bean & Corn Salad by Alice from A Mama, Baby and Shar-pei in the Kitchen
- Loaded Baked Potato Salad by Lea Ann from Cooking on the Ranch
- Minty Cardinal Punch by Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
- Mushroom Parmesan Muffins by Kate from Kate's Kitchen
- Oatmeal Peanut Butter Date Cookies by Rebekah from Making Miracles
- Olive Sables by Lisa from Authentic Suburban Gourmet
- Puff Pastry Antipasto Squares by Anna from annaDishes
- Smoky Pimento Cheese Spread by Debra from Eliot's Eats
- Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Baked Beans + Chickenburger Roll-in-a-Basket by Kathy from A Spoonful of Thyme
- Thomas Keller's Chocolate Chip Cookies by Kim from Liv Life
- Tuscan Bean Salad by Stacy from Food Lust People Love
- Watermelon Feta Salad by Jean from Lemons and Anchovies
- White Bean, Bacon and Rosemary Salad by Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva