Sunday, June 26, 2011

Buffalo Southwest Salad with Homemade (light-er) Blue Cheese Dressing

If you know me, you know I love buffalo wings and am kind of a sucker for anything "buffalo."  But, ya can't have buffalo wings every day so buffalo salad makes a perfectly fine substitute.  Pretending it's healthy with that lettuce, its really just buffalo on crack, with crispy buffalo chicken, blue cheese dressing on top of crumbled blue cheese, with buttery avocado, bright and tangy tomatoes and sweet corn.  Nope, it is not the healthiest, but it is a touch better for you than being totally fried and swapping greek yogurt for sour cream in the dressing is a nice touch that lightens it up and adds a great tang.  I made this back at home for my fam and everyone ate a HUGE bowl's worth of this salad.  EVEN my meat-loving carnivorous brother ate it all AND enjoyed it.  Now, that is a successful dinner. 

Homemade (lighter) Blue Cheese Dressing
What You'll Need (makes about 3 cups)
3/4 cup 0% or 2% Greek Yogurt
1 cup mayo
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Simply mix and let sit while you prepare the salad to let the flavors meld.  The dressing will stay good in an airtight container in your fridge for over a week and is great on sandwiches, salads and as a veggie dip.  
Buffalo Southwest Salad
What You'll Need (serves 5)
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (or enough to sprinkle on 5 salads)
3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped and cleaned
3 cobs of corn, boiled in salted water for 5 minutes and de-cobbed
1 pint cherry tomatoes. sliced lengthwise
2 avocados, cubed
1 pound chicken breast, cubed (or tofu, cubed for the vegetarians)
Panko bread crumbs
2 eggs
Buffalo Sauce (you can use any brand you like, "Frank's" brand is generally good)

Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.  Set up a "dredging station" by beating the two eggs, and placing next to a plate of panko bread crumbs.  Season the eggs with salt, pepper and a dash of the hot sauce.  Coat the chicken in egg, then cover in panko, and then place in a roasting pan.  Roast for about 10-15 minutes, tossing once.  The chicken should be cooked through (not pink on the inside) and somewhat golden.  
While the chicken is cooking, assembled the salad by placing lettuce on bottom, and the corn, tomatoes, blue cheese and avocado on top in amounts and variations requested by picky eaters.
When the chicken is done, toss with buffalo sauce while warm and place on top of the salads.
Got a vegetarian in the house?  Drain and pat dry tofu.  Spray a pan with pam and pan fry over medium heat until the tofu is golden.  Toss with buffalo sauce and place on top of the salad.
Serve with the blue cheese dressing and enjoy.  Seriously, sit outside with this salad and a cold beer.  While not as messy as wings, this is almost as satisfying and a great and easy weekday meal. 

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