RECIPE. Jan 26, 2010

Asian Chicken Salad

Leftover night was always an adventure at our house. Our leftovers were housed in reused yogurt, sour cream and other various plastic containers. My siblings and I would open each lid, peer in and hope we were going to discover something incredible. Sometimes we stumbled upon our favorite dish, buried in the back from early in the week. Sometimes we discovered green fuzz or stuffed green peppers. It was always hit or miss but it was one of my favorite memories growing up. Sometimes we would get creative and mix leftovers. Take some green beans, hot dogs and mashed potatoes and you have yourself a delicious meal. I could eat pancakes, broccoli and mashed potatoes if I so pleased. It was a food free-for-all and as a kid, that kind of freedom to choose your dinner is a rare treat. Even now, I get a shiver of excitement if I glance over after dinner and see that I will get to enjoy this food experience again, tomorrow, at lunch. I believe there is even a skill to reaching into the fridge at the end of the week and making a complete dinner out of whatever you have gathered as leftover food from previous dinners.

It’s exciting in a nerdy way, only some Tetris loving, problem solving geek like me would love. Needless to say, when I glanced over after making Perfect Roast Chicken the other night and saw there was plenty of chicken left, I began cooking up our next meal. It didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted to make my favorite salad recipe. This recipe was given to my husband and I when we were engaged. We asked all friends and family to send us their favorite recipe, along with their confirmation of attendance to our wedding. Out of those recipes, we made a book and gave it to our guests as a wedding favor. It is still one of my favorite recipe books.

This salad, in particular is one of my favorites. It doesn’t take much time, it has lots of healthy ingredients and the dressing is something I have considered putting in a glass and just drinking. It’s that good. So take that leftover chicken and round up whatever other random leftovers are lurking in the fridge and eat like a kid, who has no boundaries for what makes an “appropriate” dinner.

If you are working with leftover chicken, remove all the meat from the carcass and place in a bowl. Save the carcass in the refrigerator or freezer for stock at a later date. If you are using chicken breasts, then rub chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast chicken for 35-40 min at 350 degrees. Cool chicken. Then shred.

Mix with peppers, asparagus, and salad greens.

Mix together ingredients for dressing in one bowl and whisk until ingredients are combined. I put everything in an empty salad dressing bottle and allow everyone to put dressing on to their liking, but you can spoon it directly on the salad or pour all the dressing in the bowl and mix.

Sprinkle top with sesame seeds and green onions, then serve.