Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

I found this recipe on cooking light's website around three years ago. I consider it a life changing event because it introduced me to chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce and all the amazing smoky spiciness they can impart to a recipe. If you've never tried chipotle peppers in adobo sauce give them a try.

Combine the lettuce, black beans, corn, onions and cherry tomatoes. I like to rinse the beans and corn really well and then pat them dry with a paper towel. While you're doing this throw some chicken on the grill to shred up for the salad.

Then get out your can of chipotle peppers and take one pepper out and chop it coarsely. you can puree' the rest of the peppers and freeze them in ice cube trays or you can store them in the refrigerator after removing them from the can.

Next add the chopped chipotle pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic clove, cilantro, salt, lime juice and sour cream in a bowl. You might need to add a teaspoon of water to make the dressing easier to pour.

Puree it all together in a food processer

Mix the lettuce mixture and the dressing together. I like to add avocado slices, some cheddar cheese and a few tortilla chips crumbled up. It takes it from a tasty salad to another level of deliciousness.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
adapted from cooking light

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 chipotle chili chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 lime juiced
1 small clove garlic minced
1/4 tsp. salt

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped grilled chicken breast
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 avocado sliced
1/3 of a red onion finely sliced
1 can black beans
1 can sweet corn

Tortilla chips crushed
Cheddar cheese

To make dressing puree all ingredients in the dressing list together.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pioneer Woman's easy, tasty chocolate sheet cake.

This is titled at Pioneer woman's blog as "The best chocolate sheet cake ever." Around here my husband begs, "Please don't leave more than a slice or I will eat the whole thing. It's too good." I've made this cake quite a few times, it's a standby for potlucks and for my husband's birthday. I am really surprised that I have never posted about it before because it's definitely deserving of one.

I doubled the recipe because the one fault that I can find with this cake is that it's thin, too thin to really be called a cake if it's made the way the original recipe suggests. I've done it in a jelly roll pan like Pioneer woman recommends but then the frosting rolls over the edge and onto the counter. Also I prefer to have a cake with a bit more presence; if it's made with the jelly roll pan it ends up being about as thick as a brownie.

The cake below was made for a baby shower at work. I was on my second of three 12 hour shifts and I needed to make the cake for that night. I rushed in anticipation of getting at least five hours of sleep and made several mistakes that caused my cake to be domed. I fixed that by taking a serrated bread knife and cutting until the cake was mostly flat. Then I patted loose crumbs down with a spatula. After the frosting was on you couldn't even tell that I had sawed the top off. Next time I will remember to drop the cake pan a few times on the counter to help get some of the excess air bubbles out. I should also have wrapped the pan with a wet towel to help with the rounded top. Next time I'll take the extra minute to do the cake right.

My mom gave me these adorable little cake pans and I had some extra batter. I couldn't cut the sheet cake for pictures because I didn't want to look too tacky by showing up with a pre-eaten cake. So I greased the little pans and made some mini cakes for my sister in law and husband. I also used one for my cake photo shoot. I had better luck with the pans with less ridges, I suppose I didn't grease them well enough.

Before I left for work my husband confided that he hoped my sister in law wouldn't want to eat her share of the cakes I had left. When I came back the next morning I heard that they had both enjoyed their fair shares much to my husband's chagrin. Also the 9x12 cake had been devoured by my coworkers, all 9 of them. I believe everyone had at least two servings which I consider to be the ultimate compliment at a potluck.

At the risk of sounding too bossy. Make this cake! Maybe not today or tomorrow but one day. I promise you won't regret it.

You can find the recipe here.