Three Ways with Shredded Chicken

When I’m meal planning for the week, sometimes I like to just cook a bunch of chicken, shred it, and save it to use in various dishes throughout the week. It cuts down on time spent preparing meals after a long day of work, and you can switch up what you’re going to make with it. Here are three of my go-to meals using shredded chicken.

Salsa Chicken Tacos

All you have to do for these tacos is mix your chicken with your favorite salsa and put it on a tortilla. Doesn’t get much simpler than that! My favorite toppings to go with the salsa chicken are avocados, shredded cheese, sliced onions, halved grape tomatoes, and fresh cilantro.

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Summer Salad

I love a hearty salad with fresh summer produce, and chicken adds extra protein to it. My favorite summer salad uses butter lettuce, Vidalia onions, strawberries, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, and chicken, drizzled with avocado ranch. You can also add toasted sunflower seeds for some added crunch.

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Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

I love grilled cheese, and I love buffalo chicken, so what’s a more perfect combo than a Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese? I make my own buffalo sauce (see recipe below photo), toss the chicken in it, and use sharp cheddar and American cheese on the sandwich. You can either make your grilled cheese in a panini press or just in a skillet (what I do).

Here’s my recipe for homemade buffalo sauce:

1/2 cup of hot sauce (I use Texas Pete)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1. Stir together all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring to a slow boil while stirring constantly.

3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Friday Lunch Edition: Melt Avondale

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I have a confession to make. I’m not a huge fan of Melt Food Truck.

When I moved down here and people kept talking about this grilled cheese truck, I was so excited to try it. A gourmet grilled cheese truck?! How could I not love it?

But unfortunately it did not live up to the hype. There are really only one or two sandwiches I could classify as grilled cheeses on the menu; everything else is just a hot sandwich. I’ve given it so many chances to be what it could be, but it’s just not. And it’s not like the sandwiches are bad, but when you’re expecting a buffalo grilled cheese and you get a sandwich with two whole chicken tenders and one slice of cheese on it or an “open-faced” caprese sandwich that is actually a pizza, it’s a little misleading.

So when Melt opened a restaurant in Avondale, I was reluctant to try it. HOWEVER, I have to say, after my first trip today, that Melt functions much better as a restaurant than a food truck. As a brick-and-mortar, I think Melt has evolved into more of a restaurant with specialty sandwiches, salads, and appetizers instead of holding on to the grilled cheese label.

I took my little sister because I knew it was a menu she would like, and we were both impressed. It has a great atmosphere and a nice screened in porch to take advantage of in the warm weather.

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I planned on getting just the regular grilled cheese with a side of tomato basil soup, but when the waiter mentioned the special flatbread they had today, I changed my mind. I thought I would give something else a chance since I hadn’t previously been impressed with the truck’s sandwiches.

The flatbread had mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, pecans, apples, and a bacon balsamic drizzle. It came with a side salad with heirloom tomatoes and some sort of herb vinaigrette.

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It was really good! The flatbread was crispy, the chicken was real white meat chicken and had a good marinated flavor, and the bacon balsamic drizzle had a really nice herby taste that complemented the chicken, cheese, and pecans. The salad and dressing was also good, and the tomatoes tasted so fresh.

My sister got the Mac Melt, which is mac and cheese in a grilled cheese on Texas Toast. This was the first thing I ever tried from the truck, and was so disappointed. It was just dry mac and cheese sandwiched between bread, but I was happy to see they had improved it for the restaurant.

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The mac and cheese was so creamy, and there was also additional cheese melted on the sandwich, which kept it from being dry like the first sandwich I had. It was really good. Obviously it’s a carb overload, but if you’re looking for a splurge dish, this would be it.

And speaking of splurge dishes…we decided to order dessert to satisfy our sweet cravings. We opted for (there’s always money in) the Banana Stand, which is Nutella and bananas melted between Texas Toast, sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with clover honey. So sinful; so good.

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So if you haven’t been to Melt the restaurant, I would definitely give it a try. It’s a great place to take a lingering lunch or hang out at on the weekends. But if you do go for lunch during the week, expect that you might have to wait a little. We got there around 12:30pm and were told it would be a 35 minute wait. It turned out to only be about 15-20 minutes, but just factor in that that might happen.

Strawberry Basil Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

As you may have figured out from some of my last posts, I love goat cheese. So when I found out April was grilled cheese month (yes, I’m behind in posting this recipe), I knew I had to make some sort of experimental grilled cheese. Of course, my mind went directly to a goat cheese grilled cheese. And what pairs well with goat cheese? Fruit! I knew strawberries were coming into season, and thus my idea was born – strawberry goat cheese grilled cheese.

I picked up some fresh strawberries, whole-grain bread and honey goat cheese from the store and got to cooking. I decided to jazz things up a little and make balsamic strawberries, and use some fresh basil for added flavor. The result was absolutely delicious. The fresh basil really made the sandwich, so I’m glad I decided to add it. I knew it would complement the strawberries well, and it gave it that fresh-from-the garden taste. It lightened things up from the heavier flavors of the balsamic and goat cheese. Paired with a salad, this is a quick and easy springtime meal. It’s also a perfect addition to any brunch or afternoon tea. Try experimenting with other fruits and herbs – I’m going to try blackberry and sage next!

StrbrryGrillCheeseStrawberry Basil Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

Honey (or regular) goat cheese
About 8 strawberries, tops cut off and sliced
1 – 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (or to taste – I didn’t really measure)
Sprinkle of sugar
Fresh basil, chopped
4 slices whole-grain bread

First, make the balsamic strawberries. Sprinkle strawberries with sugar to slightly sweeten them. Add balsamic vinegar, stir and let sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavor. You can also make the strawberries ahead of time – the longer they sit, the more they absorb the flavor.

Toast 2 slices of bread slightly, to make spreading the goat cheese easier. Spread goat cheese on one side of both slices of bread. Top one slice with strawberries and fresh basil. Top with other bread slice. Grill sandwich in panini press or skillet until goat cheese is slightly melted. Repeat (starting with toasting bread) for second sandwich. Enjoy!

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