|Buffalo Chicken Kale Salad|
One of my favorite memories of maternity leave is the week Brecken and I spent in Illinois at my parents’ house. We headed north to attend my sister’s baby shower one weekend, and to celebrate Easter the following weekend. There weren’t any special plans for the week in-between, but we stuck around and soaked up quality time with my mom and dad, more commonly referred to now as grandma and grandpa!
The leisurely mornings spent enjoying my mom’s homemade granola and sipping mugs of coffee stretched into afternoons of shopping and running errands. It might not seem like anything extraordinary, but it was special simply because our visits ‘home’ are usually way too short and packed with activities. I made dinner a few of the nights that week, which was an absolute treat in the brand new, amazingly remodeled kitchen (picture the most amazing kitchen you’ve seen on Pinterest or in a home magazine, multiply it by 100, and it still wouldn’t compare!).
This buffalo kale salad was far and away the favorite meal I made that week. It was inspired by another recipe I saw online, which took hot-sauce marinated chicken and threw it on some kale. I switched things up, massaged the marinade into the kale to soften it, and topped it with shredded kitchen, carrots, celery, and cheese. Although you see parmesan pictured, I highly recommend picking up some blue cheese, which would’ve been our first choice had we not been trying to avoid a trip to the grocery store! Thanks to this salad, you slash the calories normally involved with buffalo chicken without sacrificing any of the classic flavor that everyone loves!
adapted from Fox News Magazine
-1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, and coarsely chopped
-1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
-1 cup chopped celery
-2 cups multigrain bread pieces
-2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for making croutons
-salt & freshly cracked pepper
-2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
-1/4 cup hot sauce
-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-1/2 cup shredded parmesan (or blue cheese)
1. Combine hot sauce, vinegar, and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large bowl. Whisk in paprika and season with salt and pepper. Add kale to the bowl and toss to coat kale (I typically massage the dressing into the kale). Allow to sit, refrigerated, for at least 15 minutes (can be done hours ahead of time).
2. To make the croutons, line a baking sheet with foil and add the bread pieces. Drizzle bread pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes, or until browned and crisp.
3. Add the carrots, celery, chicken, cheese, and croutons to the dressed kale and toss to combine. Serve immediately.