Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Southwestern Chicken Salad Melts

One of my resolutions this year was to take lunch to work as often as possible. This is something that's been an ongoing struggle for me, even though it shouldn't be. I already pack two lunches every evening for the boys -- what's one more? It's just always seemed simpler to buy something somewhere, and of course it is; but it's not healthier or more cost effective. So far this year I've done really well with this goal, largely thanks to meals like this one.

Taking a plain old lunchmeat sandwich gets boring after awhile, so it's nice to have a chicken salad like this in my back pocket. It can be served warm for dinner one night in melt form, and eaten cold in a wrap for lunch the next day. It's equally delicious both ways. I love chicken salad in pretty much any form, but this recipe really takes chicken salad to the next level with its Southwestern spin. It's insanely creamy, slightly spicy, and incredibly flavorful. It's a new go-to for dinners and lunches alike!

Southwestern Chicken Salad Melts
adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
Olive oil
Half of a red onion, chopped
Half of a green bell pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1/3 cup black beans
1/3 cup frozen corn, thawed
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 cup freshly-shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Crisply-cooked bacon strips
Toasted bread

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook until onion is softened. Remove from heat and cool.

2. Mix together roasted red pepper, black beans, corn, mayonnaise and sour cream. Add cooled onion and peppers and cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir in the chicken. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

3. Add some of the chicken salad to a slice of toasted bread. Sprinkle with cheese and cook under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Top with bacon strips and another slice of toasted bread.