It’s perfect for illustrating all the reasons why a recipe can go wrong… like, if someone feels like swapping ingredients and decide to not follow certain/most instructions, for instance. Experienced cooks, comfortable in the kitchen, should be able to monkey around with ingredients and directions. Experienced, comfortable cooks also get to botch things up, too. Also, someone would have liked to have posted this yesterday (New Menu Monday), but someone’s son monopolized the desktop all evening for an “I swear, I’ll be done in ten minutes, mom, it’s easy” assignment.
Let’s take these simple ingredients:
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz.) package stuffing mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water (or broth)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup prepared basil pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
If you decide to use four enormous whole chicken breasts, not chopped, swap a different kind of stuffing mix instead of the typical national brand, add the cheese in the wrong place and you will have to cook everything for twice as long as the directions, you might have some issues.
But, these are good flavors that go well together which stand up to Scattered Home Chef Syndrome… something I seem to suffer from. Yep.
A couple stores around here sell a chicken salad kit by Okami with all you need for a delicious meal in one box, minus the lettuce. The sliced almonds, two kinds of crispy noodles, cooked chicken strips, (there used to be orange segments, too), and the best part- a really good salad dressing with Asian flavors. One store sells a double package that we can never finish (Costco) and the other store is out of my way.
But I love this salad…
The only solution: make my own. I figured I could do a better job on the chicken, too, and reduce some of the unnecessary junk found in the dressing, too. Lucky me, The Food Network came through with a dressing that after a few tweaks, was really close to the Okami kit. The special ingredient is tahini- the sesame paste you put in your hummus. The original recipe that inspired some of the ingredients and amount can be found here, on FoodNetwork.com, my changes included the soy sauce and honey, and using a combination of toasted sesame oil and peanut oil- all sesame would be quite overpowering, if it is a toasted oil.
Asian Salad Dressing
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon tahini paste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup peanut oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
Whisk all ingredients together, that’s it! Drizzle about two tablespoons over 3 cups of salad greens. Suggested salad should include chopped chicken, Mandarin orange segments, toasted sliced almonds, and fried chow mein noodles or won ton strips.
And yes, the chicken was a lot better than the salad kit. I just took boneless breasts, sprinkled them with onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper, and grilled them for about four minutes per side. May take three minutes per side, don’t overcook.
KEY STEP: let the chicken rest for 15 minutes, and you will end up with the juiciest and most tender boneless white meat you’ve ever cooked.
Go make this, save money, get more real foods into your happy mouth and enjoy this soon.