Friday, December 31, 2021

The Weekend Gourmet's Most Popular Recipe of 2021: Deconstructed Chicken Quesadilla Salad #proteinpowered #entreesalad #healthy2022 #waldenfarmsdressing #healthymexicanfood #mostpopular2021recipe

Can you believe 2021 is quickly winding down?!?I want to take a moment to wish you all a Happy New Year...and a fabulous 2022! I also want to take a quick look back at 2021 to reveal the recipe that was most popular with my readers. My most viewed recipe of 2021 -- hands down -- was my Deconstructed Chicken Quesadilla Salad! It features Walden Farms' great tasting  Chipotle Ranch dressing. As part of my new healthy eating plan, I use Walden Farms dressings in nearly all of my salads. That's because they have a wide variety of flavors that have zero calories, zero net carbs, zero sugar, and zero fat! My Deconstructed Chicken Quesadilla Salad has all the Tex Mex flavors I crave...without excess fat and carbs. Instead of tortillas, the quesadilla component of this salad is made with carb-friendly cauliflower thins. It also features fresh vegetables, spicy seared chicken, and a bit of guacamole and cheese. Every bite of this filling main dish salad is an explosion of flavor...with zero guilt! 

Deconstructed Chicken Quesadilla Salad
a Weekend Gourmet original

Ingredients (makes 1 salad):
  • 2 TBS Walden Farms Chipotle Ranch Dressing
  • 2 cauliflower sandwich thins [NOTE: I use Outer Aisle]
  • 1/2 ounce (1/8 cup) full-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 oz. chicken tenderloins (will yield 3 oz. cooked)
  • 1 cup salad greens cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallion 
  • 1 TBS guacamole OR .75 ounces diced avocado
  • 1/4 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella
Step 1: Prepare the chicken. Spray a non-stick skillet with a bit of spray oil, and heat on med-high. While the skillet heats, sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 tsp. of the chili powder. Sear the chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through -- about 4 minutes per side. Coarsely chop into bite-size pieces, then set aside until you're ready to assemble your salad.
Step 2: Make the cauliflower thin quesadilla. In a small bowl. combine the full fat cheddar cheese with the remaining 1/4 tsp. of chili powder. Place one cauliflower thin in the skillet over med-high heat. Carefully spoon the cheese on the cauliflower thin, then place the second thin on top. Cook for 5 minutes per side, until the cauliflower thin is golden brown and toasted...and the cheese is melted. Carefully cut the cooked quesadilla into four triangles.
Step 3: Assemble the salad. Arrange the salad greens in a deep plate/shallow bowl. Arrange the chopped chicken along the left half of the greens. Along the right half of the greens, arrange the tomatoes, scallion, guacamole, and shredded mozzarella. Finally, spoon the Walden Farms Chipotle Ranch Dressing into a condiment bowl, and nestle it into the bottom of the salad.
This salad is AMAZING! It has all my favorite Tex Mex it really conquers those spicy food cravings in a healthy manner. I eat this salad at least twice a month since featuring it in August...and I never get tired of it! I know many of you are wondering about the cauliflower thin quesadilla...I promise it's totally delish and works so well with the other components in this salad. The Walden Farms Chipotle Ranch is tangy and mildly spicy...the flavor is similar to Ranch mixed with a bit of salsa. 

Disclosure: Walden Farms provided me samples of their rebranded, reformulated salad dressings to facilitate recipe development for this article. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

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