This post has been sponsored by Foster Farms Simply Raised, which is locally grown in the Pacific Northwest.
How many of you serve a large salad as an entrée for dinner? My husband and two boys are total meat and potatoes guys, so when I started adding main course salads into our dinner routines, I was initially met with a little resistance. I think they thought they were going to starve.
However, my family quickly realized salad night meant a satisfying and filling meal, packed with protein. Salads are also a nice deviation from the normal, weeknight dinner routine, regardless of the time of year. And nothing could be easier than combining some of my favorite ingredients, in fresh ways, to create healthy and nutritious dinners. It’s a win-win for everyone.
In order to keep calories in check, making a healthy meat choice to include in our salads was key. I find chicken to be one of the most versatile meats to use in this type of meal and the perfect blank canvas for all of my favorite seasonings and flavors.
My homemade southwest seasoning is a flavorful blend of many spices used in southwest cooking. It’s an absolute star when used to season chicken. Even my pickiest eater loves chicken seasoned in this way. It really is fantastic.
And while flavor and delicious food are important to the overall eating experience, buying and consuming local foods is something I aspire to as often as possible. As a small farmer myself, I understand what consuming local products really means and buying food from small, family farms is very important to me.
Top 5 Reasons Why I Buy Local
1. Local food tastes and looks better…always. Crops are picked at the peak of ripeness, farmstead products are handcrafted and livestock are processed in nearby facilities, which means your local farmer likely has a direct relationship with the processors and can oversee quality.
2. Local food is better for me. Nutrients are not lost while traveling across the country to get to my table.
3. Local food supports local families. The ability to sell food locally helps reduce costs and helps farmers stay on their land.
4. Local food is safe. Farmers take their job seriously, as well as the relationships they have with their consumers. I love looking farmers from my community in the eye and having that direct relationship with them. I trust they are doing their best to put food on our tables.
5. Local food is an investment in my future. Supporting a local farmer today, means there will be farms in my community later on.
These reasons are why I choose to buy Foster Farms Simply Raised Chicken. Foster Farms works with 32 family farmers in Washington and Oregon who raise locally grown chicken. Not only is this chicken produced locally to me, it also has no added hormones, steroids or antibiotics. The chicken is always fresh and 100% natural. I have been using this chicken since it first appeared in my grocery store and I have been so happy with it. Right out of the package the high quality is obvious and I feel good knowing it did not travel far to get to my family’s table. All Foster Farms fresh chicken is American Humane Certified.
I use thin-sliced breast fillets for this recipe. The chicken is nicely trimmed and I slice it half one more time after I seasoning it. This allows the chicken to cook as quickly as possible and the seasoning does not burn in the frying pan.
It only takes a few minutes to cook and it looks beautiful once finished. The chicken is a meal in itself! It also tastes wonderful the next day, which is not a surprising when starting with such a fresh product.
The dressing is homemade and can be prepared up to two days prior to serving. I might even suggest making a double batch to keep on hand. It’s one of our family favorites.
The chicken is juicy, succulent and delicious, not to mention versatile in so many recipes. This seasoned chicken is also great in tacos…hint-hint.
Southwest Chicken Salad with Homemade Southwest Dressing
Southwest Seasoning Mix:
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons chile powder
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons paprika
- 2-1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon creamy horseradish
- juice of two limes
- 1 teaspoon Southwest Seasoning mix (from above)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup dry, red or white quinoa
- vegetable oil
- 1-1/2-2 lbs Foster Farms Simply Raised Thin-Sliced Chicken Breasts
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
- 1 can (15 oz) sweet corn, drained
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2-3 heads romaine lettuce, depending on size, chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- For the seasoning mix, add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix until fully combined. Set aside.
- For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
- Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to let cool down.
- Season raw chicken with southwest seasoning, making sure to cover the whole breast. Slice each chicken breast in half, allowing for a faster cooking time.
- In a large, nonstick skillet add vegetable oil (a few Tablespoons) and cook chicken in batches over low heat. (This will keep the seasoning from burning. You might have to add some extra oil to each additional batch.) Cook thin-sliced breasts about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper lined tray. Let the chicken rest about 10 minutes before slicing into smaller pieces for the salad.
- To serve, you can either add all ingredients (lettuce, spinach, corn, black beans, avocado and chicken) to a large bowl and toss together, or make individual salads in separate bowls for each person. Drizzle dressing over the top of salad.
I hope you enjoy this wonderful meal, my family asks for it again and again.
Disclosure: I am sharing this post in conjunction with my partnership with Foster Farms. Thank you for continuing to support brands I work with, which allows me to create unique content and recipes for you to enjoy. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Other Salad Recipes You Might Enjoy:
20 Big Bowl Salads that Will Change Your Life