Monday, July 13, 2015

Take Out at Home: Sesame Chicken Salad

If it hasn't been established already, I love quick dinners.  I mean, I like recipes with different techniques that use all of my kitchen utensils, but on a regular basis I'm a quick and dirty kind of girl.  Mise en place just makes sense because while the prep may take a while, when you're finally cooking everything is at your fingertips and ready to go.
You would think as a result that I would embrace Rachael Ray of the early days with her 30 minute meals.  While I watched 30 Minute Meals from time to time when it was on, I found her voice grating, and as time went on her cutesy words annoying.
I somehow acquired a copy of her 30 Minute Meals 2 in my travels.  I'm pretty sure I didn't buy it, and it's not something I would have asked for as a gift, so I'm just not sure.  I've flipped through it from time to time, but really the only things I make from it are the Italian Wedding Soup, Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches and Twice Baked Potatoes - all of which are really good.
I decided last week that I should really use some of the cookbooks that are lurking in my cupboard more and so had a flip through 30 Minute Meals 2 again.  I'm glad I did.  I found this.
I present to you now Rachael Ray's Sesame Chicken Salad:

1/4 c maple syrup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c sweet hot mustard (I used El Diablo Mango Mustard)
3/4 lb chicken tenders
1/2 c sesame seeds
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
For the Dressing:
1 Tbsp minced ginger (I used Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Ginger)
2 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 c high-quality apricot jam
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
2-1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
For the Salad:
6 oz baby spinach
1/4 of a cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 c shredded carrot
3 green onions, sliced
Crispy fried noodles for garnish
1.  Combine syrup, soy sauce and mustard in a large bowl.  Add chicken and stir well.  Set aside as you prepare the dressing and vegetables.
2.  Make the Dressing:  In a small bowl, stir together ginger, vinegar, and jam.  Add oils in a thin stream, whisking constantly.  Set aside.
3.  In a large bowl, combine all vegetables.  Heat a large skillet and add oil.  As the oil heats, roll chicken tenders in sesame seeds before cooking until done and golden on both sides.
4.  When chicken is done, dress salad and toss, ensuring all the vegetables are coated.  Serve on dinner plates, topping with chicken and fried noodles.

From Rachael Ray (I have 30 Minute Meals 2)

Lots of vegetables in this salad.  I thought just a little radish would have been nice too.  I found this whole recipe made me wash my hands a lot.  When I added the dressing, it was easiest to mix it up well with my hands and then just serve it on the plates.
The chicken cooked quickly as well.  If you make this, beware popping sesame seeds!  It's kind of like pop corn in a hot pot.  They fly off when there's no lid to keep them in.  It smelled so good while cooking.
And it tasted so good on a plate.  J wasn't sure about the use of jam in the dressing, but it was perfect.  You could also use plum sauce if you preferred.  A nice salad with pantry staples around here.  And only about 20 minutes from beginning to end.  I'd call that a win.

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