Downriver restaurants

Southwest Chicken Salad

Recently, I went out to dinner for Jessica’s Birthday at Red Robin on Eureka Rd. in Taylor, MI and ordered the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad. It inspired me to recreate my own version. Here’s a quick recipe for a delicious chicken salad:

What you’ll need:

1 boneless skinless chicken breast

1/2 can of corn

1/2 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)

1/2 diced red bell pepper

1/2 small white onion

2 green onions

1/4 cup shredded cheese (Mexican, Cheddar, or Colby Jack work best)

1/4 cup Tortilla Strips

2 cups Baby spinach

1/3 cup water

Prep

1. Add corn and veggies in a skillet with olive oil and a tablespoon of butter and saute on medium heat until soft.

2. While the veggies are cooking, season chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic and brown until juices run clear. This is a good opportunity to get a nice color on the chicken and if you have a grill that’s even better!

3. When the chicken is done, shred and sprinkle with taco seasoning. I usually sprinkle the chicken with a couple tablespoons from a taco seasoning packet then add 1/3 cup of water to the pan (or a little less).

4. Simmer until the water makes a sauce and taste. If you want more seasoning, add it. When you’re making single servings like this, it’s better to add a little at a time, then adding too much and over doing it. Let chicken cool before plating.

Dressing

You can always buy southwest ranch dressing, but I like improvising.

1. Mix 2 tablespoons ranch dressing, 1 tablespoon taco seasoning, & 3 tablespoons sour cream.

2. Taste. If it is too spicy, add more sour cream. If it’s not spicy enough, add more taco seasoning. If you like more ranch, add more ranch dressing! I don’t like a salad that is swimming in dressing, but if you do, double the recipe.

Tip: Substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream for a healthier alternative.

Build

1. Start plating spinach, making a bed for the rest of the ingredients.

2. Add corn mixture, black beans, shredded cheese, and chicken (add as much corn mixture or black beans as you like). Top with crunchy tortilla strips and dressing.

Alternatives: You can add whatever ingredients you like: olives, tomatoes, cukes, etc. Instead of shredding the chicken, you can just slice it.

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It was delicious! You get crunchy, fresh, cool, creamy, spicy, and warm all in one bite.

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Hops & Barley

Located on Allen Rd. in Melvindale, Hops & Barley is a great spot to grab some good food and a cold drink. I made the mistake of going during the middle of the Detroit Lions game last Sunday, but I still received excellent service. The servers were on point, food was amazing, and they have flat screens everywhere for your viewing pleasure (even at each booth for closeups).

Pastrami Sandwich: Hot deli pastrami piled high on a bed of coleslaw, topped with melty cheese and Thousand Island Dressing served on an onion roll. The juiciest pastrami I’ve ever tasted! This monster sandwich was amazing and all for only $6.50.

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Taco Salad: Juicy grilled chicken breast on top fresh lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and jalapenos. I personally prefer avocado and olives on my taco salad, but this bowl still gets an A-. It seemed as though the chicken was never ending and the portion was generous. The cook definitely didn’t skimp out on quality or quantity.

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Hops & Barley has great food deals and even better drink specials. The atmosphere was loud, but the fans were in full effect making the visit fun and exciting. I give kudos to the servers because they were owning their tables, and seemed natural, not flustered even though the place was slammed. I’m making this my new spot when I want to catch a game without spending a ton.

Hops & Barley Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Wheat & Rye

Wheat & Rye is a local favorite known for huge stacked sandwiches and great drink specials. My parents went there when they were younger and it’s a place I’ve visited a few times. Of course, the Allen Park location has been revamped since back in the day, but if you’re looking for a neighborhood place to relax and watch the game, check out Wheat & Rye and grab a burger!

Mom and I met a couple of her high school friends, Robin, Marcia, and Greg (Marcia’s husband). Mom and I split the stacked ham sandwich (Yes, it’s big enough to share)! I remembered my dad telling me stories about how big the sandwiches used to be and how inexpensive, but this one was still a good size for around $10 including tip.

Stacked Ham Sandwich: Virginia Ham piled on an onion roll served with a kosher dill pickle. The ham wasn’t your average deli thin sliced, it was thick cut, caramelized edges, and delicious. The only thing I didn’t like was that it was a little dry. I don’t really care for mayonnaise, but a little horseradish would’ve put this sandwich over the edge. I settled for good old yellow mustard.

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The service wasn’t the best, but in my experience, bars and dives like the Wheat & Rye only have one or two servers/bartenders for the whole place so when it’s busy, your drinks will get neglected. I need lots of water when eating a salty ham sandwich, too. For a Wednesday night, the place was half full, but the Tiger’s were playing and it was all you can eat Spaghetti night! Check out the Wheat & Rye of you haven’t already for daily food and drinks specials. If you want a local bar that’s not too crowded to watch your favorite team, they have flat screens and Keno!

It was good to see you guys. Thanks Robin, Marcia, and Greg!

I have to go get ready for tonight, Josh bought me tickets to Dane Cook for my birthday ❤

Wheat & Rye Steak House on Urbanspoon