With Madeline still not feeling so hot (thank you for all the comments and emails!), and The Husband working late tonight, I wanted to keep dinner simple. It was either that or order take-out, and it’s been ages since we ordered take-out, so I’m trying to continue to resist the urge.
I ripped out this recipe for Smoky Bacon and Blue Cheese Chicken Salad Pitas when it was first published nearly five years ago in Cooking Light’s magazine. Every time I come across it in my growing to-try pile, I move it to the top in an effort to try it sooner rather than later. Well, you can see how well that’s been working!
Neither The Husband nor Nick are big fans of “white dressing,” but I was hoping the crunchy bacon and the tomatoes would distract them a bit. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of dressings that have yogurt in them, because that distinctive tang usually throws it all off for me. At the eleventh hour, I nearly nixed making the dressing in favor of reaching for a bottle of ready-made stuff in the fridge, but I happened to have some plain yogurt that I bought for another recipe that I didn’t end up making, and that became the deciding factor. You know, that whole waste thing…
When I first tasted the dressing, I could definitely taste the yogurt. But to be quite honest, I also knew it was there so it was probably more obvious to me. Just to be on the safe side (and because we like blue cheese anyway), I added a bit of extra cheese so that would be the stronger flavor over the yogurt. Nick has been a little bit of a challenge at the dinner table lately, and even though he likes salad, I was waiting for an argument again tonight about what he will and won’t eat for dinner. For the most part, he dug in and towards the end, he ended up at least finishing all the chicken. I decided I could live with that.
The Husband arrived just as we were finishing dinner and I served up a plate and waited. Between the “white dressing” factor and the yogurt being the base of it, I was ready for the face. Nada. Not a word. After I told him, he said that either it was a really good salad, or he was just really hungry. I prefer to believe the former.
It’s a good, solid, light yet filling meal that is perfect for a weeknight. Since you’re buying already cooked chicken (I used half of a rotisserie chicken), you can have this on the table in 20 minutes, and it will cost way less than take-out. To save even more time (and mess), I cook the bacon on a wire rack that is placed on a cookie sheet in the oven. I put it in at 400 in the beginning, and by the time I was done with shredding the chicken, chopping the lettuce and the tomatoes and making the dressing, the bacon was nice and crispy, just the way we like it.
And Madeline? She really hasn’t eaten any solid food since Tuesday, and I was thrilled that she was nearly back to her old (ravenous) eating habits tonight. She had the same salad, just as separate components. She loves raw tomatoes so much, I can’t wait to introduce her to a farmer’s market tomato. These winter ones just don’t compare.
P.S. I had a half of a baguette leftover from dinner last night, so instead of serving this salad in pitas, I used the baguette and made croutons, and then just served the dish as a regular salad.
Smoky Bacon and Blue Cheese Chicken Salad Pitas
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine, May 2004
The BLT sandwich is the inspiration for this tangy salad. You can make the chicken salad ahead, and place it in pita halves just before serving.
4 servings (serving size: 2 stuffed pita halves)
- 3/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese (I used a bit more)
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 6 ounces)
- 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 4 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, cut in half
Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring well. Combine lettuce, chicken, bacon, and tomatoes in a medium bowl, stirring well. Drizzle yogurt mixture over chicken mixture; toss gently to coat. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken salad into each pita half. Serve immediately.