BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

So if you had grilled chicken with homemade BBQ sauce and maque choux sometime in the past few nights, you are IN LUCK.  This is a take on one of my favorite salads from the late California Pizza Kitchen chain, and it uses up pretty much all the leftovers from that dinner — plus a few other things you’ve been cursing as you kick them around the pilot berths (ahem…I’m looking at you, stale and busted corn chips) — in fresh, delicious, and filling form.

Not kidding…don’t think too hard about this.  It’s one of those “clean out the icebox” salads.  I’ll put an ingredients list, because it’s pro forma … but don’t feel compelled to adhere to it too closely.  You make this salad when you have leftover chicken and maque choux; end of story.  I mean look at me … I haven’t fresh-water showered in a week, but I’m smiling, and serving salad … ’cause it’s island time.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

2-3 grilled chicken breasts (for 3-4 people, depending on hunger)
2 or so cups of leftover maque choux, including toppings
2-3 tablespoons lime juice or red wine vinegar
1 bag coleslaw mix
1 cup or so crushed corn chips — fine if they are stale!
Tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado — whatever you’ve got and like!

Not kidding — this is your primary ingredient and the whole reason (and only real hurdle to) you(‘)re making this dish: last night’s leftover BBQ chicken and maque choux.  It was good.  It was REALLY good.  But now it’s wobbling around in the icebox, threatening to spill.  Get it over with, and enjoy it.  So…let me take one more stab at convincing you to try this two-meal extravaganza: have BBQ chicken and maque choux for dinner; when dinner is over, and you are in a food coma, dump the fresh toppings on top of the serving bowl of maque choux and just plop the leftover chicken breasts on top of that; cover with plastic wrap and balance precariously in the icebox as best you can.  Now … go.

Set aside the chicken breasts — somewhere between 1/2 and 1 per person — and eventually slice them.

The maque choux will have a lot of creamy, flavorful liquid, but brighten it up with some acid — a bit of lime juice, or red wine vinegar.

Add a bag of coleslaw mix and give it all a good stir and toss.  That’s one of the joys of this salad on a boat — it satisfies that desire to crunch and munch and generally graze, but without having to struggle to keep lettuce aboard.  If your bowl is getting too full — as mine always does — just plate a bit of it and keep on keeping on.

Now the secret ingredient…CRUSHED, STALE CORN CHIPS.  No, I’m not kidding, stale is fine.  And the more crushed, the better — in fact, loosen up the bag and just crush them senseless for a few minutes with your hands.  This is the ultimate vindication/use for that partial bag of corn chips that you KNOW is stale, but just taunts you because of ALL the time you spent trying to NOT have the chips get crushed, wherever you stored it.  Add a cup or so of these and give it a good toss.

Garnish with sliced grape tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado — whatever you’ve got — and the sliced chicken breast.

Munch away, and enjoy the Blue Angels doing their thing over downtown Pensacola.  Happy cruising, friends!

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