Cheerleading. Homework. Pre-school graduation. Field day. It's a busy time of year around here. To be honest... when is it NOT a busy time of year with two kids. We all have those nights where cooking a wholesome, full-fledged meal seems daunting at best. Fear not... a trip to McDonald's doesn't have to be your inevitable future. This salad is colorful, delicious, emcompasses the 5 food groups, and is a snap to throw together in less than 30 minutes!
Truth be told, I detested vegetables as a child. Green stuff? Wasn't touching it. Peppers? They were ALL hot. Tomatoes? No. Freaking. Way. I can remember sitting at the dinner table, long after everyone else had retired to the living room, with a small pile of hominy on my plate. I sat solemnly, willing it to disappear into thin air. Anything not to have to actually put it into my mouth. Even as an adult, there are still things I can't choke down. Cauliflower. Hominy. Brussel sprouts. But then, there came recipes that actually made me WANT to like vegetables. Fresh bruschetta. A myriad of tempting salads. Crisp, roasted green beans tossed with mushrooms. So, I tried them. And, I fell in love. Now I find myself craving sweet tomatoes, the refreshing coolness of cucumbers, savory roasted bell peppers. A little tip? Grow your own garden. Something about nurturing and harvesting your own veggies from the earth makes them all that more tantalizing. I can't wait until my garden comes into its own this year. Then, I can just walk out the front door, select the freshest of ingredients for this salad, and whip it up back in the kitchen. In the meantime, it's store-bought and semi-homemade!
3 heads of romaine lettuce
3 medium-sized sweet peppers
1 can black beans
1 pkg. pre-cooked chicken
1 sm. can black olives, sliced
1/2 pkg. of shredded Mexican-blend cheese
First, we'll make the dressing. Mix equal parts ranch dressing and fresh salsa. I prefer the fresh salsa that's available in the produce area of your local supermarket. Harris Teeter has my favorite brand, but truly any salsa will do... fresh or not. Mix the dressing and salsa well; refrigerate while putting the salad together.
Moving on to the salad... start by tearing the romaine leaves into nice, bite-sized pieces. Place in colander, rinse under cool water, set aside to drain, pat dry.
Empty the can of black beans into a collander. Rinse with cold water, and allow to drain.
Chop up the sweet peppers into bite-sized pieces.
Tear up the pre-cooked chicken into small pieces. I prefer to buy the Southwestern grilled variety by Oscar Mayer for this recipe. Next, drain the olives. Add the beans, olives, chopped peppers, and chicken to a bowl of lettuce.
Top the salad with a drizzling of dressing, a handful of cheese, and some tortilla strips. My favorite are the lime flavor (available in the salad dressing section of your supermarket with the croutons).
Ole! The perfect refreshing Fiesta Salad! Semi-homemade, and on your table in less than 30 minutes!