Chicken Taco Salad

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Since I am at home this week, I like to do recipes that I don’t have to freeze.  This week one of the recipes that I thought of and I haven’t done in a while is Chicken Taco Salad from Chow.com.  It’s a fairly healthy recipe, but it needed some work because the last time we ate this salad we weren’t counting calories.  So I added this to my recipe calorie calculator and found it was way more calories that I thought.  I made it six servings instead of four, to be a bit more stingy with the calories and it still was too much.  Even so, this recipe was a favorite because it tasted so good.  I made this for my step-daughter’s wedding shower and she took the rest home with her and she loved it.  Here are the original stats:

  • 676 Calories
  • 41g Fat
  • 85mg Cholesterol
  • 1209mg Sodium
  • 579mg Potassium
  • 31g Carbohydrates
  • 41g Protein
  • 25% Vitamin A
  • 43% Vitamin C
  • 21% Calcium
  • 18% Iron

As you can see the calories are a bit high.  So is the sodium.  The vitamins A and C are low.  So here are the changes I made:

  • I deleted the tortilla chips to reduce the calories and sodium
  • Removed the added salt to reduce the sodium
  • Deleted all of the sour cream dressing ingredients.  Most people didn’t really like this and it adds too many calories.
  • Added in 1 can low sodium black beans.
  • Deleted the avocado to save calories
  • Deleted the cheddar cheese to save calories
  • Reduce the chicken to 1.5 lb
  • Removed the corn
  • Added a can of drained low sugar diced mango and a red bell pepper for vitamin C.
  • Added 9oz of baby spinach for vitamin A

You’re probably thinking…WHOA you took out all the good stuff.  Yes, some of this stuff tastes good and is good for you.  However, when you are working hard to eat less, you do have to make some compromises.  This does have high flavor.  I left the dressing untouched other than the added salt.  The mangoes add a sweetness and vitamin C.  The sour cream dressing that comes with this recipe ALWAYS goes untouched.  It’s just another extraneous ingredient.  The dressing is something everyone loves, so it stays the same.  There’s plenty of protein and taste.  Give this a try!

Here are the final stats:

  • 291 Calories
  • 12g Fat
  • 47mg Cholesterol
  • 371mg Sodium
  • 588mg Potassium
  • 23g Carbohydrates
  • 24g Protein
  • 107% Vitamin A
  • 128% Vitamin C
  • 10% Calcium
  • 19% Iron

20180409_175104

A healthier Chicken Taco Salad

Serves 7 with 1.5 Tablespoons of Dressing

For the Chicken:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Cooking Spray

Cumin Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 dashes Tabasco
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the Salad:

  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 9 oz Baby Spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 15oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup red onion, small dice (from about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 15oz can of low sugar diced mango
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (from about 1/2 bunch), white and light green parts only
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Spray both sides with cooking spray. Place on a baking sheet and cook until the chicken registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the breasts from the baking sheet to a cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.  For a quicker method, use a skillet on medium heat and cut the chicken into smaller pieces.
  2. When the chicken is ready, tear into bite-sized pieces, transfer to a medium container or bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. For the dressing: Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a medium, nonreactive bowl and whisk until combined. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking continuously, until all of it is incorporated. Taste and season with additional pepper as needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Add the cooked chicken, romaine lettuce, spinach, red bell pepper, black beans, diced mango and red onion to the bowl. Drizzle in all of the cumin dressing and toss gently to combine or place in individual containers with the dressing on the side.
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