Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps with Croissant Croutons

These wraps kind of came about by accident…I was in the mood for Caesar salad.

I had leftover croissants.

I had just made blackened chicken wings.

I had finally found – and bought! – rice paper wrappers at my local health food store. I’d been looking for them for awhile, about to order them from Amazon when there they were. I’d been itching to wrap up something in them.

And so this crazy idea begins to form.

The only thing I didn’t do is make my own Caesar dressing – I’ll post separately about that. Today, we use store bought dressing.

You’ll need some cooked chicken – we like to use blackened. Make my wings or use any chicken you like!

Croissant croutons are soooo good. If you’ve never made them, please make them now. They hardly need anything added before baking because, well, they’re croissants. A little garlic powder and olive oil add flavor but let that buttery goodness shine through.

A little Romaine lettuce and you’re off to the races!

Rice paper wrappers are easy to handle, and practically wrap themselves since they are sticky and stretchy.

Pack these in your kids’ lunches for a twist on the typical sandwich!

And now that I’ve finally found these rice paper wrappers, you’ll be seeing more ideas – but start by making these!

P.S. Without the croutons, these are gluten free.

 

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps with Croissant Croutons

yield 8 wraps.

  • 8-10 ounces shredded chicken (try my blackened chicken wings recipe)
  • 1 large or 2 small heads Romaine lettuce, large pieces torn
  • 1/2 cup Caesar dressing, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 small croissants, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 8 rice paper wrappers

Toss croissant pieces in a bowl with the olive oil and garlic salt. Bake at 350°F degrees for 5-8 minutes or until bread is brown and crispy. Set aside.

In a zip-top bag, add lettuce and dressing. Seal, and toss to coat the leaves thoroughly. Set bag aside.

Get your assembly line arranged now: Large plate with warm water (for soaking the rice paper), lettuce, chicken, Parmesan cheese.

Submerge a sheet of rice paper completely in warm water for 5 seconds. Remove, let excess water drip off, and set on a smooth surface.

To the center of the sheet, add Romaine leaves, leaving an inch space on left and right.

Add chicken and cheese.

Pull bottom round up and over the filling, stretching it tight. Fold the sides over toward the filling, and roll whole wrap toward to the top round of the paper, sealing it as you go. (There are lots of good instructional posts about how to do this, if you need help.)

Repeat with all wrappers. Serve with more dressing, if desired. Enjoy!

 

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Mandarin Orange & Candied Pecan Salad

This is my mom’s yummy salad that is so easy to make! She made it for my sister’s wedding shower last weekend and I had to share it!

Mandarin Orange & Candied Pecan Salad

  • 2 heads Boston or Bibb lettuce
  • 22 ounce can Mandarin oranges
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more if needed

white balsamic dressing:

  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste (around 1 teaspoon for me)
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • sugar to taste

To make the candied pecans, heat pecans and 1/4 cup sugar over medium-low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. When sugar has melted, add other 1/4 cup. Keep adding sugar until pecans have formed a “crust” of hardened sugar on them. Don’t walk away! Lay them on parchment paper or other nonstick surface to cool.

For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together, adding sugar to taste (if you don’t like it sweet, add a teaspoon or two; if you do, add a lot more).

Break the pecans apart once cooled.

Tear the lettuce into pieces. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Top with drained oranges and candied pecans. Enjoy!


Sweet & Savory Salad with Chicken & Crispy Chow Mein Noodles

I couldn’t resist buying a wheel of Brie cheese the other day. It was calling for me.

I also have some crispy chow mein noodles in my cabinet. You know, the ones in the can? I just eat them like that. I know I shouldn’t.

Compulsion rules me this week.

So here’s an unusual salad, but it totally works. The pear and Brie aren’t an unusual combo I know, but I had a hankering for those noodles in a can and was trying not to eat them like potato chips.

So they went on my salad! And it was delicious.

Use leftover, cold grilled chicken or buy it already cooked from the store. Canned artichokes work better than frozen or fresh, or try using the marinated kind in a glass jar!

Then just pile on the Brie, pear, and noodles to your heart’s content. And any balsamic dressing will work, take your pick.

Mmmm. Crispy noodles and Brie. Nothin’ wrong with that.

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Sweet & Savory Salad with Chicken & Crispy Chow Mein Noodles

  • 8 ounces grilled & chilled chicken
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 3-4 ounces Brie cheese
  • 1/2 pear
  • crispy chow mein noodles (the kind in the can)
  • lettuce, chopped
  • 1 scallion (green onion), chopped
  • balsamic vinaigrette (any kind you like)

Cover 2 plates with chopped lettuce. Dice chicken and add to salad. Drain artichoke hearts and add a few to each plate. Dice the pear into small pieces and add those to the plate. Cut Brie into wedges, then cut those wedges in half so you have long pieces; top salad with them. Pour vinaigrette over the top, add the scallion and as many crispy noodles as your heart desires. Enjoy!


Southwest Salad with Avocado-Cilantro Ranch Dressing

The super easy fried chicken salad I made recently seemed to be pretty popular, so I’m going to beef up my salad menu! I have quite a few I’ll share with all of you!

How about a Southwest salad? Since I always have cilantro and the like in my fridge. (no, really I do!)

You can find the tortilla strips right next to the croutons in your grocery store. They add both color and flavor!

And it sounds super fancy to make your own dressing, but here’s what I do: buy the base pre-made (your favorite ranch dressing) and add ingredients to make it your own. Awesome, right?

Totally. I’m here to help you look as fancy as possible.

By the way, since football season has now started, try dipping your wings in this dressing. Or put it on these tacos. Oh, yes.

Southwest Salad with Avocado-Cilantro Ranch Dressing

  • 1 pound fresh chicken tenderloins or strips (6-8 count)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper

for assembly:

  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • lettuce of your choice (I used a bag of the pre-cut butter lettuce, used a little more than half the bag for 2 salads)
  • 1 avocado, halved
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack or 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • crispy tortilla strips (next to the croutons in your grocery store)

for the dressing:

  • 2/3 cup of your favorite ranch dressing
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (just throw the stems and everything in)
  • juice of 1/2 lime

Make the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate to chill it down. It’ll last a week or so. This recipe makes way too much for two salads, but unless you have one of those mini food processors, this is the only way to get it to blend right! Use it as a dip for wings or a topping for tacos.

Add all ingredients for the dressing to a food processor or blender. Blend continuously until creamy, about a minute. Move to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Heat the butter in a large pan over high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. When the pan’s hot, throw it in. Turn the heat down to medium after 30 seconds, and let cook for 5 minutes per side.

While the chicken cooks, assemble the salad. On 2 large plates, divide enough lettuce to cover the plate. Add the black beans and corn evenly between the two, then place half an avocado on each salad. Sprinkle cheese and tortilla strips.

Add the hot chicken to the salad. Sprinkle with cilantro and dressing. Enjoy!


Easy Fried Chicken Chopped Salad

Weeknights are busy for us. Sometimes I make a quick salad like this one. Make this salad like I did, with frozen precooked chicken strips…then all you have to do is chop everything up and make it look pretty!

Leave off the croutons and use unbreaded chicken fingers to make it gluten free!

I used a Thousand Island dressing with bacon, but Ranch or any creamy dressing will work great.

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[recipe recipe title=”Easy Fried Chicken Chopped Salad” servings=1]

  • Precooked chicken strips, reheated per package directions and cut into bite-sized pieces (I used Tyson chicken strips here)
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/4 Haas avocado, cubed
  • 1 small Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • croutons (pictured are Texas Toast garlic & butter croutons)
  • 1 tablespoon green onion (scallions), green part only
  • your favorite creamy salad dressing

Lay chopped lettuce on a large plate. Lay each ingredient on top, forming lines across the lettuce. Top with salad dressing and onions. Enjoy![/recipe]

 


Mini Blue Cheese Wedge Salads

Recipe by Amy Grossi. See my blog post about this event here.

Mini Blue Cheese Wedge Salads

  • 1 head iceburg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced small
  • blue cheese dressing (Amy favorite is Bolthouse Yogurt Blue Cheese dressing)

Core the end of the iceberg, then chop in half lengthwise.  Cut each half into 4 wedges.

Arrange on a platter and drizzle with dressing.

Sprinkle remaining toppings over lettuce wedges and serve. Enjoy!


Easy Pasta Salad

Here’s a super easy pasta salad recipe.  This is usually what I bring to summer parties when I’m asked to bring a side dish.  I make it all the time and use whatever vegetables I have in my fridge and pantry.

Use gluten free pasta (for the photos I used Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta) and check the label of whatever dressing you choose for MSG.

While Roma tomatoes aren’t essential, they hold up better when chopped.  Smaller ones will be less watery, too.

Making the pasta the day before and letting the dressing absorb overnight makes for a more flavorful final dish, but if you don’t have time, everything can be put together same day. If the pasta absorbs all the dressing, add a little more right before serving.

Easy Pasta Salad

  • 1 box (8-12 ounces) gluten free pasta (try Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta)
  • 1 bottle Italian dressing, plus more if needed (try Ken’s Light Northern Italian or Kraft Viva Italian)
  • 1 cup chopped black olives
  • 1 can (14 ounces) salad cut hearts of palm, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 cup cubed cheese, such as Cheddar or Mozzarella (you can even use cheese sticks!)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup sliced mini salad bell peppers (or use regular bell peppers)

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a bowl with a tight fitting lid, add pasta and half the bottle of dressing.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  (You can make this same day if necessary)

A few hours before serving, add the veggies, cheese and the rest of the dressing.  Refrigerate until chilled.  If pasta absorbs the dressing, add a little more and toss before serving.  Enjoy!