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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Barbecue Chicken Salad with Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette

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

  • Lisa from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

  • Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva

  • Azmina from Lawyer Loves Lunch

  • Kelli from Kelli's Kitchen

  • Kim from Liv Life

  • Stacy from Food Lust People Love

  • Lea Ann from Cooking on the Ranch

  • Kathleen from Bakeaway with Me

  • Anna from annaDishes

  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm

  • Jean from Lemons and Anchovies

  • Heather from girlichef

  • Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake

  • Christiane from Taking on Magazines

  • Debra from Eliot's Eats

  • Kathy from A Spoonful of Thyme

  • Rebekah from Making Miracles

  • Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook

  • Kate from Kate's Kitchen

  • Aly from Cooking in Stilettos


    A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

    YUM!!! I need to go have breakfast now but first let me wipe the drool from my keyboard. You would think I would learn to read these posts after I eat LOL>

    Lea Ann (Cooking on the Ranch) said...

    Wow, this sounds Killer! Great choice that must be tried very soon.

    Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos said...

    Kate - that is one of my absolute FAVORITE salads and thank you so so much for the sweet comments - I'm so sorry the brownies didn't work. I think you should definitely do the bacon bourbon brownies - and when you do, let a gal know please :) I need to make those! Your salad looks amazing - now you have me thinking - what about cornmeal waffles with a bit of that dressing and the bbq chicken ;) Thank you again!

    Kelli Davidson said...

    This looks so darn good! I especially like the dressing and I hope to try this soon! Great job!

    Kathy Walker said...

    You sold me at the words, "Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette"! Love the ingredients and love the flavors in the vinaigrette.....will be making this for dinner...I have bourbon, want me to send you some? :-)

    Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

    What a divine summer salad! I know I'll have to add this to our summer menu ASAP!!! P.S. I can't wait to see your new place. xo

    Heather S-G said...

    Yeah. There's nothing like needing a cold beer...and then remembering it's Sunday. Grrrr! ;) This salad sounds fantastic - perfect for summer!

    Lisa | Authentic Suburban Gourmet said...

    Great choice Kate! Love the idea of a smokey dressing! This is a keeper recipe and I can hardly wait until BBQ season really gets into full swing.

    Alice said...

    I love BBQ Chicken salads - especially if you put a boiled egg on it. What a great choice for a picnic food! :)

    Kathy said...

    Lol…at your brownie problems…been there! This salad would make a wonderful dinner on a hot summers day…absolutely perfect for a picnic! Fun post, Kate!

    Rebekah said...

    I need this salad - seriously. I think my boys would even eat this one (the crazy non-salad lovers they are)! This looks like perfect summery picnic food! Yumm!

    Unknown said...

    I am SO going to make that salad. You're right, it looks and sounds amazing. I've never though to include barbecue sauce (and yes, Sweet Baby Ray's is our favorite as well) in a vinaigrette, but I'll bet it's phenomenal.

    Anna @annaDishes said...

    What a beautiful salad! And I love the idea of the BBQ dressing. This would be a perfect dinner or picnic option. Great choice.

    Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

    That BBQ chicken looks perfect! I'm guessing it'll be devoured right away and will never make it in to a salad in our house :)

    Lemons and Anchovies said...

    This salad would be popular at any picnic. It's got everything going for it and I especially love the look and sound of the BBQ vinaigrette!

    Stacy Rushton said...

    Any salad that starts with chicken and bacon is surely going to be a favorite! Delicious!

    Kim - Liv Life said...

    Love the idea of the smokey dressing!! I bet it says "Picnic" all over it.
    I had to laugh about the alcohol laws. Now I'm born and raised in California, but we did a 3 year stint in Louisville, KY when my husband started his job with UPS. I had NO idea that you were not allowed to buy alcohol on Sundays, so... I just went to the area and put a 6 pack of beer into my cart. I did notice that the lights were off in that section, but I didn't really think twice about it. But, I learned my lesson when I loaded everything to be checked out and the lady stared at me with wide eyes and grabbed the microphone and said "Management to Aisle 6... immediately!" The manager arrived grabbing the beer out of her hands and scolded me (making everyone from aisle 2 to aisle 10) stare as he reprimanded "What do you think you are doing?? You can't buy beer today. What makes you think you are so special?" and so on and so on. Sigh... a moment I've never forgotten even though it was some 18 years ago!

    Debra Eliotseats said...

    Hey, I will swap stupid liquor laws with you anytime. Oklahoma has to have the most ridiculous ones. I think someone had to sell their first born to get Costco and Trader Joe's to even think about opening in our state b/c grocery stores cannot sell wine and liquor (just 3.2 beer). Anywhoo, love this recipe. You did good!