Crunchy Thai Salad with Spicy Sriracha Dressing

photo 4I’m not much of a salad person.  I never have been.  Well perhaps that’s not true, let me rephrase that.  I’m not a meat salad person.  Give me a salad with beans and chickpeas and lentils, mixed with fresh veggies, or a spinach and fruit salad mixed with crisp spinach leaves, juicy strawberries and some kind of nuts, like almonds or walnuts, and then top it with a vinaigrette, and i’m S O L D sold. But for some reason, when you add meat to the mix, weather it be chicken or beef or fish, i just can’t do it.  It almost makes me nauseous. I have been on a quest to find the right Chicken salad.  I HATE fruit and meat combos (most of the time) so that was definitely out.  I made a mango barbecue chicken salad a few months back and I almost threw up trying to digest it.  Meat just freaks me out sometimes. I’m always concerned that i will get salmonella, or mad cow disease, or die from all the hormones and antibiotics hiding in there.  Sometimes meat just isn’t appetizing to me. But I like the taste of meat, and I’ve tried the vegetarian thing – just not my thing.

So what is a girl to do? Do I force down yet another boring unappetizing salad? Do I settle for a less than tasty dinner just because I’m trying to eat healthy and lose a few pounds? NO. I REFUSE to continue to eat less than tasty things just because they’re “healthy”.  NO. I will NOT sacrifice taste for fewer calories. NO. I WILL find a chicken salad that I love and can digest without wanting to eat an entire pizza to wash down the awful taste and cleanse my palette from the bland taste that is chicken salad.  I have challenged that bland chicken salad to become something more.  Something more than unseasoned chicken on a bed of greens. I REFUSE to settle for something less than extraordinary.  I want to be inspired by my salad. I want some SERIOUS salad Swag and some UNBELIEVABLE dressing. I want my salad to blow my mind.  To blow my tastebuds’ mind. I daresay, I have started a salad revolution.  Welcome to the uprising of the not-so-boring, unbelievable tasty, salad of awesomeness.

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I decided to go for a Thai themed salad.  I love Thai sauce.  It’s so damn good.  I used the President’s Choice Memories of Thailand Fiery Chili Pepper Sauce as the coating for my chicken.  I diced up 10 oz. of Chicken into strips, placed it in a skillet with about 1 – 2 tbsp. of the Chili Pepper Sauce, and cooked on medium, covered, until the chicken was no longer pink inside.  Flip the chicken every few minutes.  The sauce is thick and will begin to caramelize.  Once the chicken is cooked to your liking, remove the cover and allow any remaining juiced to evaporate.  This will also give your chicken time to brown slightly, and gives it a nice “from the grill” taste.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of your salad.  I used sliced cabbage, julienned carrots, romaine lettuce and thawed frozen corn.  I also prepared my own spicy Sriracha dressing using olive oil, soy sauce, Sriracha Sauce and the juice of one lime.  To top off the salad, I added some crunch and sliced up one of my homemade flour tortilla wraps  into skinny strips and toasted them in the oven.

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Crunchy Thai Salad with Spicy Sriracha Dressing

makes two dinner sized salads

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 10 oz. of Chicken, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp. of your favourite cooking sauce
  • 1 6-inch tortilla, cut into strips
  • 1 romain heart, slices
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large carrot, julienned

For the dressing

  • 1-2 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce (depending on your desired level of spice)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp.  reduced sodium soy sauce
  • the juice of one lime

Cooking Directions

  1. Place chicken strips in a skillet on medium heat.  Add 1 – 2 tbsp of your favourite cooking sauce, like President’s Choice Memories of Thailand Fiery Chili Pepper Sauce.  Cover and cook until chicken is no longer pink inside.  Once chicken is cooked through, cook for an additional 1 – 3 minutes to brown the chicken and allow the sauce to caramelize.
  2. Prepare the rest of the salad while the chicken is cooking.  In a large bowl, add sliced cabbage, romain lettuce, julienned carrot and the thawed corn.
  3. Make the dressing by whisking all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Pour about 1/2 the dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Place the sliced tortilla wrap on a baking sheet and broil until crisp, about 2 minutes.
  5. Divide the cabbage mixture between two places and top each with one half of the cooked chicken and half the toasted tortilla wrap slices. Pour the remaining dressing over each plate and enjoy!

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My boyfriend found the sauce to be a little too spicy for his liking – I used 2 tbsp of Sriracha in the dressing I made.  So i agreed to tone it down the next time I make this.  This salad was so good, that I actually made more and took some for lunch the next day.  I’m very happy about how well this turned out.  It was not gross, or bland, or boring.  It was full of flavour and the crunchy tortilla added a great texture to the salad.

So.  People. I urge you to get some salad inspiration.  Join the revolution against plain, unsavory salads! Happy Cooking!

Bacon Ranch Barbecue Chicken Burgers

photo 2Okay…. so apparently I’ve been a little obsessed with burgers lately.  Perhaps it’s because I’m being hopeful that spring weather will soon be upon us – we got snow yesterday… April 2nd… and I’m feeling a little depressed about it.  The weather forecast, however, does look promising and I don’t see any below zero degrees Celsius in the next week.  Pray that the weather network isn’t lying, and that the temperature will warm up, bring rain, and get rid of the six-foot snowbanks that encompass every street in the city.  To me, burgers are something that you eat in the summer, you barbecue them on your patio, or at camp, the sun beaming down on you – seriously, I’m getting sick of this snow, maybe if I keep cooking summer foods mother nature will get the hint and bring me some double digit temperatures.

So the recipe I’m going to share today is great because not only does it taste fantastic, but it’s also relatively healthy, like most of my recipes.  Burgers are typically a little higher in calories, since they usually are accompanied by a bun, some sauces, and in my burgers, cheese and turkey bacon, but trust in me when I say that this is well worth it.  Each burger patty will run you just over 300 calories – the rest depends on what toppings you would like to add.  For this burger I added a slice of turkey bacon to top my ground chicken patty, as well as a slice of mozzarella, some fat free ranch salad dressing, a few lines of Sriracha (because I love me some spice) and a few slices of red onion.  I served it, of course, on a whole wheat Ezekial bun and ate it with a cucumber and tomato Greek style salad.

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For the patties I combined ground chicken, bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and some PC Chicken Barbecue Sauce – but you can use any sauce.   I mashed all the ingredients together with my hands, and then formed the mix into four 4 oz patties.  I cooked the burgers in a skillet, covered, for about 6 minutes on each side, then topped them with bacon and cheese, re-covered, and then cooked for an additional 30 seconds (or until the cheese has melted).  I pretty well cook all my burgers the same way – in a skillet, as I am not allowed to have a barbecue, and for about 12 minutes.  I then topped the burgers with Kraft’s Fat Free Ranch Dressing – I love this stuff because it’s creamy and thick and doesn’t really taste like fat free.  If you’re looking for a taste that’s closer to the full fat dressing, you can always go for the Calorie-Wise Ranch Dressing from Kraft – it pretty well tastes exactly like the full fat version.  I of course, made it spicy, and couldn’t resist adding a little Sriracha Sauce.  I developed this recipe by working off this one from JuliesEatsandTreats.com.

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Bacon Ranch Barbecue Chicken Burgers

makes four 4 oz. burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 4 slices of cheese (I used Mozzarella)
  • 4 tbsp ranch dressing (about 1 tbsp per burger)
  • Sriracha Sauce (if you like it spicy)
  • Other garnishes of your choice – tomatoes, onion, spinach, etc.
  • 4 Burger Buns

Cooking Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, bread crumbs, spices and barbecue sauce.  Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  2. Divide the chicken mixture into four and make four equally sized patties (they should be about 4 oz. each)
  3. Place in a skillet and cook covered on medium heat for six minutes.  Covering helps your burger get an even cook.  Flip and repeat.
  4. Add bacon slices and cheese to each burger patty, cover, and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted.
  5. Remove burger patties from heat, serve on a bun and top each burger with ranch dressing, Sriracha, and you favourite burger garnishes.
  6. Eat it!

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I promise that you will LOVE this burger.  It’s got a great taste and I LOVE adding the spicy Sriracha to give it a kick.  I promise I will make something else other than burgers at some point – they’re just so easy and versatile – meaning that they’re great for a weeknight dinner.  For more burger ideas please see my Burger Lover board on Pinterest.  Happy Cooking!!

Sriracha Bacon Cheese Burgers

photo 4I like everything spicy, so of course, adding Sriracha to essentially every meal is a must – once I discovered it, I just couldn’t get enough!  I like the kind of hot that causes your lips to burn, you know, the kind that you should probably follow up with a glass of milk… or Pepto, depending on how much heat your gut can take.  After rumaging through my freezer I discovered that the only meat I had on hand was ground beef, and since that said beef was so conveniently sitting beside a bag full of burger buns, I felt that some sort of food god was telling me to cook me some burgers. And I listened.  As you might remember, I am a HUGE burger lover, so once I decided a burger is what my belly wanted, I had to make something new, something I hadn’t tried before.  After a few nights of Thai stir-fry, I decided I was going to incorporate some serious heat into my burgers, Sriracha style.

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I did a little bit of Pinteresting, and discovered a few recipes that I based this burger off of.  The first thing I noticed is that most of the recipes I found has a little bit of soy sauce in them, but were otherwise pretty basic – beef, Sriracha, salt and pepper, and onion.  I omitted the salt (you get enough of that form the soy sauce) and added 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1 egg.  I added about 1/8 cup of diced red onion into the recipe.

photo 1In terms of toppings, and I think the title of this post says it all, I added cheddar cheese and sliced turkey bacon (you can use any bacon, of course, but I imagine thick cut would taste the best).  I also topped the burger with some sautéed red onion and, you guessed it, just a few lines of even more of that spicy Sriracha sauce.

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I cooked the burgers in a skillet since I’m not able to have a barbecue in our building – and to be honest, with the dumping of snow we just got, you couldn’t pay me to barbecue outside right now.  I cook my burgers on medium heat for about 6 minutes per side, with no oil since even extra lean ground beef has enough fat to make some grease in the pan.  Once cooked through, I remove the burgers, drain the grease in the pan, and then return the burgers to the heat.  I then add the bacon, cooked and sliced, the sautéed onion, and then top it with cheese and cover for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  I like adding the cheese AFTER I put on the toppings – I find all the flavours blend a little better.

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Sriracha Bacon Cheese Burgers

makes five 5 oz. burger patties

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 slices of sharp cheddar
  • 5 slices of cooked bacon
  • sliced, sautéed onion for garnishing

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients other than cheese, bacon, and extra onion.  Using your hands is the best approach.
  2. Form the beef mixture into five 5 oz. patties.  Cook in a skillet (or BBQ) on medium heat, for about 6 minutes per side, or until no longer pink inside.
  3. Garnish each burger with bacon, onion and then cheese.  Cover for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute or until cheese is melted.  Serve on a bun and top with more Sriracha sauce if desired.

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 This is probably my favourite burger so far – but you know me, I’ll probably say that about the next one, and the next one, and the one after that.  I like eating my burgers on Ezekial Buns – I find they’re not too doughy and not too big for the patties – I can’t stand an oversized bun it’s like it overpowers the taste of the patty.  Anyways – I urge you to try this one.  It’s honestly fantastic.  Happy Cooking!

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