Baked Crunchy Chicken Caesar Salad

Caesar salad has always been my go to meal at restaurants when I couldn't make up my mind on what to order while dinning out.  Even if I ordered a big juicy burger, I would always order a side Caesar regardless, let's just say I LOVE them!  After getting pregnant they have been off limits because most (especially in restaurants) of the dressing is made with raw unpasteurized egg.  I've been in major Caesar salad withdrawal for about 5 1/2 months now (that's a whole separate topic, can't believe it's already been 5 1/2 months!!!!!)  To my surprise, my doctor told me that the anchovy is fine to eat, its the raw egg that could carry the contamination.  In fact, I read on BabyCenter.com that anchovies are good for you during pregnancy as they are cooked and contain omega 3 & other nutrients that help develop the baby.   

If your Pregnant, Vegan, or the thought of raw egg in a salad freaks you out, this Caesar dressing is a must.   Pair it with the Roasted Red Peppers, ridiculously tasty Croutons and Crispy Baked Chicken and you have yourself a full healthy meal.  

Caesar Dressing

Ingredients 

  • 2 lemons juiced plus 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tbs mustard
  • 2 anchovy fillets (if you like a super strong anchovy taste add more)
  • 1/4 cup grated parma cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • S&P

Directions

In a food processor, toss in all ingredients except olive oil and blend for about 20 seconds.  Next slowly drizzle in olive oil and continue to blend till the oil has married all the ingredients.  Season with S&P.

Baked Crunchy Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken breast cut into strips 
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs grated parma
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs flour
  • S&P

Directions

Preheat oven to 425.  Prep chicken by cutting into strips and pat dry with paper towel.  Set up your 3 stations to dip and prep chicken.  Add flour to plate and season with S&P,  in a shallow separate bowl whisk egg, on a separate plate mix the panko, bread crumbs and parma.  First coat the chicken in the flour mixture evenly, then dip in egg, then coat in the bread crumb mixture.  Repeat until you are finished with all strips and place chicken in a shallow non-stick baking dish.  Bake for about 10 minutes on one side turning once and baking for an additional 8-10 min.   

Croutons/Roasted Red Pepper and Salad Assembly

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 whole wheat hoagies or any whole wheat bread loafs
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 1 red bell pepper 
  • 6-8 handfuls chopped romaine lettuce
  • shaved parma
  • S&P
  • baked crunchy chicken (recipe above)
  • caesar dressing (recipe above)

Directions

[Croutons]: Dice up bread into about 1 inch cubes.  Add 2-3 tbs olive oil to large saute pan and coat evenly.  Smash the garlic and add to oil and cook over medium heat till the cloves become golden brown.  Remove the garlic and toss out (its only for extra flavor).  Next add the bread and saute stirring frequently on med heat for about 10-15 min until golden brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.   [Red Bell Pepper]: Turn oven broiler to high.  Slice up bell pepper discarding the center and seeds.  Lay pepper flat on a broil safe cookie sheet and evenly drizzle with about 1 tbs of olive oil and season with S&P.   Broil for about 5-8 min stirring half way through.  You want it to have that char look, so remove once you start to see it blacken, should remain 75% red.  [Assembly]  Before you assemble make sure the chicken and the red peppers are cool (unless you like hot food on your salad, I do not).  Add lettuce and croutons to large serving bowl and toss with dressing and evenly coat.  Next lay red pepper and chicken on top (cut chicken in bite size pieces if desired, pictured above).  Lastly add shaved parma and fresh ground pepper.  

Enjoy! 

Re-invented Alfredo, Skinny Style

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