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Friday, September 15, 2017

Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad

I have been having a huge asian food craving recently. I'm blaming it on my withdrawals from our favorite Chinese/Japanese fusion restaurant. When we moved to the 'burbs, we left behind some fantastic go-to restaurants. This place had it all - ambience, great service, large portions and a low price. 

 I sat down to make a grocery list this week and decided to make every meal some variation of an asian-inspired dish. As a sort of follow up to my Meals Under $10 post, I thought this week's meals wouldn't hurt the bank considering they use several of the same ingredients. Don't you hate it when you buy a special sauce for a meal and then it sits in your pantry until it expires? No, no, not this can keep it on the countertop.

 My favorite asian dressing from the grocery store is usually a ginger salad dressing. Ginger dressing just seemed too heavy for this dish so I decided to make my own. Mu dressing recipe for this salad is light, savory, and really makes all of the ingredients pop. Don't worry - it is super quick and simple to make...and don't forget about bragging rights. 
Even better, it will keep for about 2-3 weeks in your fridge. { happy dance! }

For a satisfying crunch I decided to add some cashews and crushed ramen noodles. A little bit of butter and a toss in the skillet makes these two the stars of the salad. 

I tailored this salad to keep it healthy and satisfying with a little bit of everything. Crunchy, soft, sweet, salty - this bad boy packs it all. 

I think this dish is a great start to our asian-fusion recipe week. Hopefully you won't be tired of asian food by mid-week. I think I have enough ideas up my sleeve to keep you coming back for more. Enjoy!

Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad

Preparation: 10 min
                  Cook Time: 15 min  Total Time: 25 min                       

          2 tbsp white vinegar
          5 tbsp sugar
          4 tsp soy sauce
          1 tsp garlic powder
          1 ramen seasoning packet (chicken flavored)
           2/3 cup vegetable oil
           1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
           Salt & pepper to taste
          1 bag of garden mix salad (or iceberg lettuce)
          1/4 bag of coleslaw (the stringy kind)
          1/4 cup chopped green onion
          1/8 cup chopped cashews
           1-2 tbsp butter
           1/2 block of ramen (I use the chicken flavored)
            Cooked chicken breast
            Edamame (optional)

           In a bowl or glass measuring cup, add sugar and vinegar. Allow the vinegar to break down the sugar     
           until it is dissolved, stirring occasionally (about 2-3 minutes). Once the sugar is dissolved, add the 
           rest of the ingredients and whisk with a fork. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

          (I cooked my chicken ahead of time with a small amount of soy sauce and some olive oil in the skillet and 
           cut them into strips. Then set aside to allow to cool.)
           Blend the salad mix with the coleslaw in a large bowl. Set aside. With the ramen still in it's 
           packaging, break up the noodles by hitting it with a rolling pin or large spoon. In a large skillet, melt the 
           butter  over medium heat and add half of your container of ramen and chopped cashews. Bring the 
           temperature down to medium-low heat and stir occasionally, making sure that no pieces of the ramen 
           burn. Once they are golden brown remove from heat and place in a bowl to allow them to cool.
           Add your chicken, crunchy mixture, chopped green onion, and edamame to your salad mixture. 
           Top the salad with the homemade dressing and toss.

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