Chicken & Poultry

My Favorite “Salad Chicken”

by Shawnda on August 24, 2014

in Chicken & Poultry,Citrus,Lighter & Healthier,On the grill,Quick & Easy,Salads

My Favorite Salad Chicken: Mojo Brined Grilled Chicken Breast

Since I started training for the half marathons on my calendar later this year, I’ve been (mostly) trying(ish) to keep my nutrition in check. That just means aiming for a better balance of calories, eating 6-10 servings of veggies and fruit a day, and eating more chicken breast at lunch than I have in my entire life.

My Favorite Salad Chicken: Mojo Brined Grilled Chicken Breast

Aside from losing 10lbs in 8 weeks (because let’s be honest – that’s the most important part to me), that’s… actually it. I have nothing more to add to that statement. Like I said – for me, it’s the most important part of running :)

For lunch, I’ve developed a love for chopped salads (picking from the myriad of veggies I now have to keep on hand to make 6-10 servings a day) topped with grilled chicken. But not just plain ol’ grilled chicken – because that *&^% got old on day 3. Instead, I top my salads with Mojo-Brined Chicken.

My Favorite Salad Chicken: Mojo Brined Grilled Chicken Breast

Now, don’t let the word “brine” scare you. You probably just flashed on an old episode of Good Eats that involved a special bucket or a cooler, loads of ice, and a turkey the size of your 4 year-old.

NOPE.

To brine this chicken, we’re talking about a pie plate, a gallon freezer bag, a cup of water, and a tablespoon of salt. THAT’S IT. It’s a quick and small recipe that yields an insanely not-boring, juicy chicken breast flavored with citrus and garlic inspired by Cuban mojo sauce.

My Favorite Salad Chicken: Mojo Brined Grilled Chicken Breast

I pick up one of those gigantic, 5-6lb value trays of chicken breast that always seem to be on sale, throw the brine together on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and then grill them all at once on Sunday afternoon (when we’re sure to already have the grilled fired up) to have for lunches all week.

It’s by far the best part of every salad I make.

Mojo-Brined Chicken

Grilled, juicy chicken breasts marinated in a mojo-inspired brine of oranges, garlic, and oregano.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 small valencia oranges (juice from both oranges, the zest from 1)
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp salt

Instructions

  1. Lightly pound the chicken breast to an even thickness.
  2. Place in a gallon zip-top bag with the remaining ingredients: orange juice, orange lest, lime juice, garlic, oregano, water, and salt.
  3. Seal the bag after pressing out the extra air and squeeze it a few times to mix the brine.
  4. Place in a pie plate (or other walled-dish to prevent a fridge disaster should your bag spring a leak) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I typically do it overnight).
  5. Heat your grill to medium-high, remove chicken from marinade, and grill ~6 minutes on each side.
  6. Let stand for ~10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

Yields: ~6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 4 hours 30 minutes

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Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita Burgers

Who needs tortillas?

I mean, I do. Gosh, any world without tortillas is one I do NOT want to live in.

But you don’t need tortillas. At least, not for this “burger,” anyway. And it’s actually how this burger came about. Fajita Night with tortillas that ended up being moldy easily turns into Fancy Burger Night.

Cheesy, messy, fork-and-knife Fancy Burger Night.

Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita Burgers

And while we’re confessing super, insanely deep things: Can you believe I almost didn’t serve these on a bun? The defeat of finding that those fresh-made tortillas weren’t so fresh after all, I nearly made the fajitas into a salad.

Guys. A salad.

Cooler heads prevailed (thank you, Jason!) and we ended up with Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita “Burgers” instead. And it was a good thing, too. Because 1) Those tortillas had inflected a pain that only a messy burger could fix. And 2) EAT ALL THE CARBS AND CHEESE AND MORE CARBS.

Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita Burgers

Because guess who has 2 half-marathons on the calendar, a dried queso drip down the front of her shirt, and a belief that, after 2 cherry margaritas, mustache selfies will never get old?

[giggle]

THAT GIRL.

Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita Burgers

Juicy chicken fajitas smothered in queso and served burger-style.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lime wedges
  • 4 burger buns
  • Chile con Queso

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high.
  2. Brush the chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the vegetables with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the chicken 6-7 minutes each side, until juices run clear.
  5. Grill the vegetables on a vegetable pan next to the chicken (or a double-folded sheet of foil with a few holes poked in it), stirring occasionally, until nicely charred.
  6. Let the chicken set at least 5 minutes before slicing.
  7. Top each burger bun with sliced chicken, a generous mount of vegetables, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a scoop of melty queso.
  8. Serve with a fork, knife, and my favorite skinny margarita.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Barbecue Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Nachos

I have been on a major grilled pineapple kick lately. Like, mayjah.

Guacamole, burgers, margaritas, and of course – those nachos.

Barbecue Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Nachos

The other two people in this house are not so… passionate about grilled pineapple. There have been eyerolls and little remarks and sighs.

Nor are they passionate about taking the contents of 5 leftover bowls from the fridge and making… that.

But those other two people in this house didn’t complain one bit about dinner last night.

Barbecue Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Nachos

The Internet’s favorite queso serves as the cheesy nacho base, which I then topped with leftover chicken tossed with barbecue sauce, grilled pineapple, thinly sliced red onion, weapons-grade-hot chopped jalapeno (but only on half – Thank, God!) and cilantro.

OF COURSE THEY DIDN’T COMPLAIN.

BBQ Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Nachos

Cheesy nachos topped with barbecue chicken, grilled pineapple, and red onion.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz bag of tortilla chips
  • 1 recipe Chile con Queso
  • ~2 cups of shredded chicken (from about 2 small chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 3 grilled pineapple rings, diced*
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Chopped fresh jalapeno
  • Large handful of cilantro, chopped
  • *Slice fresh pinepple 1/2-inch thick, remove core, and grill over med-high for ~5 minutes a side, until charred.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Spread the tortilla chips on a large baking pan.
  3. Toss the shredded chicken with barbecue sauce in a small bowl.
  4. Top the chips with queso, barbecue chicken, sliced red onion, and diced pineapple.
  5. Bake for 7-10 minutes and remove from oven.
  6. Top with jalapeno and cilantro, serve hot.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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I would literally steal candy from a baby right now. LITERALLY. Right this second. Even if that baby had a half-eaten, gag-inducing Cadbury Creme Egg. The legit ones. The ones that look like a real egg. Wrapped in chocolate.

[SHUDDER]

Of course, that’s after I would punch the How I Met Your Mother writers in the boy parts. I gave you 9 years and you gave me…THAT?!

Guess I don’t have to tell anybody that the Whole30 processed sugar withdrawals have reared their impressively bitchy head.

[And also, was The Craft not one of the best movies of the 90s?!]

For the health of my personal being – but mostly the sake of my marriage – I inhaled dinner, grabbed my current book (Your Inner Fish), and headed to bed early.

Day 2
Breakfast - Um, I forgot to eat. For real. By the time I did preschool dropoff, ran a couple of errands, and turned in my hour on the treadmill, it was lunchtime.

Lunch - Leftover Spicy Date-Glazed Salmon, a baked sweet potato, and green beans

Dinner - Grilled chicken breasts (plain, grilled with S&P) topped with a mountainous scoop of strawberry-avocado salsa; baked sweet potato, and some steam-in-bag broccoli.

The hardest thing about today? EVERYTHING.

(And I’m a few days behind posting, but I’ve made the strawberry salsa twice this week just to have on hand. Because it also goes great with leftover salmon at lunch, too.)

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