Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Pretty Darn Good Imitation of a Chipotle Chicken Salad

Confession time.  Since I finished The Ultimate Reset I haven't done as well as I had hoped.  I have a firm grip on a couple of victories, being complete abstinence from Diet Coke and caffeinated coffee, and these were two of my favorite vices.  I have done what I feel to be a pretty good job of staying away from artificial sweeteners, largely due to cutting out Diet Coke but also because I haven't been making my beloved iced coffee every morning.  I've continued to have fruit smoothies for breakfast and have been very good about sticking to Shakeology with almond milk and PB2 for lunch...on the days I'm at work.

What about when I'm not at work?  Um.....look!  A squirrel!!!

One of the dinners I indulged in over the weekend, telling myself it's ok because the vegetables are organic and the chicken is farmed locally, was a chicken salad from Chipotle.  I seriously love this salad.  Now the Chipotle chicken salad is what you make of it, because you tell them what to put on it, but I like mine with corn, mild salsa, sour cream and guac.  Yes for the love of GOD I know guac is an extra charge....still they ask me.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

And they give you a TON of guac & sour cream (which is, of course, a big part of what makes it awesome).

This salad runs around $8 I think, which is crazy in my book.

So on my way home today I was trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner.  I had asked The Boy to thaw out a couple of chicken breasts, thinking I'd make chicken sandwiches, but that wasn't sounding so good.  I knew I had leftover corn from last night's dinner in the fridge.....wait....corn.....hmmm...

A quick stop for guac and I was in business.

I started with this stuff....I LOVE this lettuce.

I get it at Aldi and I don't know if it's because it's little baby leaves or if it's because it's still on the head but it seems to stay fresh longer than most.  If you look real close you can see that it was "best if used by" day before yesterday (I'm eating alone here, don't judge me) but it still looked really nice.

Standing at my counter, I tried to remember the line behind the counter at Chipotle....what do they ask me first?  BEANS!!!

In the back of the cupboard I found a can of Goya black beans left over from The Reset.  No, they don't have the same spices as the Chipotle ones but they have the same protein, so I added about 1/3 of the can (good thing I sleep alone).  I threw on some shredded cheddar (yes Chipotle uses...I don't know?  Mozzarella?  Some sort of white cheese but I had cheddar GET OFF MY BACK I'm hungry!!), some Tostitos mild salsa, squirted on some guac (far less than Chipotle but still plenty), threw on some corn, chopped onion and sliced tomato and....wait...where's the chicken???

SOMEBODY forgot to thaw out the chicken.  I was not pleased.

I am immune to the sad eyes.

So I dug out some cooked chicken I had in the freezer. It wasn't as good.

But here is where I took a leap of faith.  I keep hearing about plain greek yogurt.  I had some during The Reset with fresh fruit and honey, but I keep hearing about it as a substitute for sour cream.  Now I LOOOOOVEEE sour cream.  But alas I had none, and that was intentional.  I had greek yogurt.

Now let me tell you I REALLY don't like yogurt.  I will use it in smoothies, or I will eat it if it's mixed with a toxic amount of sweetener (artificial or natural, matters not) and fruit or, better yet, whipped full of air and made to taste like some sort of pie, but to just put a few spoonfuls on this salad? I was seriously risking ruining the salad...and not even being able to blame it on The Boy's chicken amnesia.  Ugh...ok fine.  But it better be good.

And that left one final ingredient....vinaigrette.  

Chipotle has this awesome's a little spicy (which I could do without) a little sweet (which I love) I commenced to Googlin' and found this website...and adapted the recipe for what I had in the house, making a smaller batch in case it was gross.

Sorta Kinda Chipotle Dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/6 cup agave nectar
1 t dijon mustard
1/4 t salt
1/4 t paprika
1/8 t garlic powder
a couple slivers of fresh onion
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all but the olive oil in the blender until mixed (because of the fresh onion I put it on high for about 20 seconds), then add the olive oil on low.  It said to refrigerate an hour...I put it on my salad right out of the blender and it was really good.

It called for chipotle powder but I didn't have any and I don't like spicy anyway, and I didn't have any limes or lime juice.

So picture it with good chicken.

I cut and stirred and mushed it all up like I always do at Chipotle and yaknow what?  It was a pretty darn good imitation of a Chipotle chicken salad if I do say so myself.  The vinaigrette was really nice, just sweet enough without the kick that I could do without anyway, and dang if the yogurt didn't taste just like sour cream once it was mixed in with the guac & dressing and salsa & corn & stuff.  I don't know if I'm ready to go using it on a baked potato, but for this is it worked really well.

Now if I could only come up with a pretty darn good imitation of a McDonald's frappe without the caffeine and THAT would be something!

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