Friday, November 25, 2011

Wrapping Up the Leftovers

Do you have leftover turkey in your fridge today? You're probably not tired of turkey sandwiches just yet. But if you are looking for a different way to use some of your main dish leftovers, here's a recipe that's become a favorite for our whole family.

Jill was the instigator. She kept telling me I should try Southwest Chicken Salad. It only took once for me to be convinced that it was a great addition to the recipe box. Now that Brent's on his own in South Carolina, he, too, uses this recipe often.

Usually, I use grilled chicken for the meat, as I did for a recent PEO luncheon. I marinated the chicken breasts before grilling (You can use a grill seasoning packet, use prepared Italian or balsamic vinegar dressing. Or you can make your own with oil, vinegar and seasonings. Because I am always concerned about calories, I usually don't use all the oil called for in a marinade - whether I'm using a packet or it's homemade. But if you do use oil, use olive or canola oil.)

But turkey would be a great substitute for the meat in this recipe. (And using leftovers means one less step.)

Here's the recipe:

Southwest Chicken Salad
3 cups diced chicken (or turkey!)
1 1/2 cups, frozen corn thawed
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can black beans (optional)
1/2 cup - 1 cup minced fresh cilantro

3 tbsp. lime juice
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Optional: Fresh avocado

Combine all the chicken salad ingredients. Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together until well blended. Pour over the chicken salad and mix well.

Southwest Chicken Salad can be used in a myriad of ways.

You can serve on top of lettuce and veggies for a salad.

Or make wraps, like I did for that PEO luncheon.

Spread a little low-fat ranch dressing or light salad dressing/mayonnaise on the tortilla and sprinkle with shredded cheese. (You can use a whole wheat tortilla for extra nutrition. That's Jill talking.)

Then top that with about 1/2 cup of the chicken salad. If desired, top with lettuce, tomato, thin avocado slices, etc. Then roll up and serve.

They really taste like a sandwich you would get for lunch at a fancy little cafe. Best of all, it's at a fraction of the cost! For crunch, you can also serve with fresh veggies or with whole-grain chips on the side.

Jill has also used the recipe in pita pockets:

In lettuce cups:

In a quesadilla:

She also developed Jill's Chicken Enchiladas:

Spray baking dish with cooking spray and lightly cover bottom of pan with your favorite canned enchilada sauce.

Warm up tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds and dip each tortilla individually in warm enchilada sauce. Place 1/2 cup Southwest Chicken Salad and some shredded cheese in the tortilla, roll up and place, seam down, in baking dish.

Top with cheese, extra cilantro and green onions.

Any way you use it, I predict Southwest Chicken Wraps will become a new favorite. (Or, if you're using leftovers, Southwest TURKEY wraps will be a favorite!)

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