Fiesta Salad

I’ve been a fan of taco salads ever since my first one sometime in the mid-1970s in the old Palace Restaurant in downtown Grand Forks. I was enamored by the hearty salad that came inside a baked taco shell and was served with a generous portion of hot sauce.

I still have a taco salad every once in a while when we go out to eat but generally opt for something a little lighter. And now, I have the option of having one a home.

That’s because Therese gave me two large tortilla shell baking bowls (courtesy of Avon) for our anniversary. The directions for the “perfectly baked shells” says they can be made in less than 10 minutes and after a short cooking-off period are ready to be filled with your favorite cooked meat and vegetables.

I’ve been looking for a good recipe to try with my new bowls and came across the following that turns the fast-food staple into something slimmer and trimmer.

Fiesta Salad
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
8 cups torn lettuce leaves (or 1 11-ounce package prepared salad greens)
2 cups torn spinach leaves
1 large carrot, shredded
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 14-ounce package frozen Southwest blend of corn, black beans, poblano chilies, roasted red pepper and onion, thawed and drained
½ cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup baked tortilla chips or corn chips, coarsely crushed
½ cup fat-free ranch dressing
¼ cup salsa
Place chicken breasts in 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spray each side with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Combine salt, pepper and chili powder, and sprinkle over both sides of chicken. Bake at 425 degrees 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Set aside to cool slightly. Toss together lettuce, spinach, carrot, tomatoes and Southwest blend in large salad bowl. Cut chicken into thin strips and arrange over salad. Top with cheese and tortilla chips.
For dressing, blend ranch dressing and salsa and serve with salad.
Option: Put salad together inside taco or tortilla bowl and top with cheese and salsa or your favorite dressing.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 286 calories, 10 percent of calories from fat, 3 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 46 milligrams cholesterol, 39 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 672 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.