I have been accused many times of obsessing over certain foods until I can just no longer stand the smell of them. As a kid, it was tomatoes. Any variety, any brand, I would literally eat them like a peach! My siblings would run out of the house fruit-shaming our friends with my parent’s latest apple selection from the grocery store. Not me! I walked around chewing tomatoes like a starved animal – its juice running down my arms…all middle-child-syndrome-like. As an adult, my obsessions got shorter in duration and multiplied in variety. Currently, I just can’t get enough of southwest salads. I get them everywhere I go, and if it wasn’t on the menu, then I ate burger and fries…in silent protest!
I recently put together a Southwest Chicken Taco Buffet that had my family ooohing and ahhhing. I want to show you how I did it.
2 cups Quinoa
4 Large skinless chicken breast
1 1/2 tbs chipotle seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup yellow corn
1 tbs cilantro (chopped)
1 lime (juice and zest)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 small red onion
2 bell peppers (red and green)
6 medium sized jalapenos
6 plum tomatoes
3 limes (each sliced in eighths)
2 Avocados (thinly sliced)
10-12 small tortilla rounds
Cream dressing of your choice
Buffalo or hot sauce
I started by adding quinoa to the rice cooker with 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Then, take the chicken breast and seasoned them with the next 3 ingredients. I stored mine in the fridge overnight because I had already decided on this menu days before. You can simply season and cook them off immediately. I set the heat to medium and used
a stovetop grill pan to get those interesting lines on the chicken. While the chicken and quinoa cook away, grab the next five ingredients on the list to make a small black bean salad. Simply rinse the cans of bean and corn and add to a bowl. Then add in the juice and zest of the lime. Finely chop the cilantro and season it all with salt and pepper then stir to incorporate. Yes, it’s that easy! Set aside in the fridge to meld the flavors together, while you get started on dicing a ton of veggies. Don’t forget to flip your chicken partway through the cooking process.
Start your veggie spread by slicing the plum tomatoes and jalapenos in rounds. Then thinly slice your bell peppers, onion, and avocado. I spread all my veggies out on display in a large bowl which gave it a pretty and appetizing look. Also, cut up your lime wedges and add them to a separate bowl.
For my southwest style dressing, I used a cilantro and avocado cream dressing and added 3 Mile Hot Hooters sauce. IT IS DELICIOUS!!! I quickly made a small veggie salad and devoured almost half the dressing and had to make more. I’ve made this dressing using a creamy ranch and buffalo wing sauce which was also really good. Just remember, the more hot sauce you use, the less ranch flavor you’ll taste so be careful.
Your chicken should be just about ready at this point. If you work fast like I do, it may not be. So crank your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 5 minutes or so until done. Place your cooked chicken on a cutting board and let it rest a bit before slicing on a diagonal. Transfer the chicken to it’s own bowl or you can place it on top of your cooked quinoa.
Start setting up your table with your buffet. Put out drinks and glasses as well as silverware and plates. Then ring that dinner bell and watch out for the stampede!
This is a healthy feast fit for any night of the week and it only took me 40 minutes to do it. I probably ate way too many tacos from this spread because it was so freaking good. I really enjoyed it and I hope you do too!