this past week the weather has really turned up the heat and had me craving light dishes and salads for dinner. an amazing salad popped into mind from my time in sb going to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants on state street, tupelo junction; i literally ordered the same salad every time we went (it was that good): the fried chicken and cornbread salad. moist fried chicken and warm cornbread made this salad amazing and more of a splurge than an actual healthy meal. i wanted to experience the amazingess of this combo and preserve some calories so i recreated the dish with healthy twist, swapping the buttermilk dressing for a homemade vinaigrette and baking panko crusted chicken in lieu of frying it!
toasted pumpkin seeds (or pepitas)
panko crusted chicken strips
to start, i baked the cornbread croutons so they could sit aside to cool while i got the chicken ready. to make these i used the trader joe's cornbread mix (by far the best mix of any store bought i've tried!). follow the recipe as directed and spread batter in a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 25 mins. i sliced and broke the cornbread into small 1/2 in. chunks on the same sheet and put it back in the oven for another 15 mins to give them a crispy outside and a soft inside.
l to r: 2 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 in. pieces // 1 beaten egg // 1c panko crumbs mixed with 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
dip chicken pieces in egg and coat with panko crumb mixture
lay coated chicken pieces on baking rack placed over foil covered cookie sheet (foil will make for much easier clean up!)
then, make the balsamic vinaigrette: use immersion blender and mix above ingredients with 1/4c evoo and 1/4c balsamic vinegar
bake chicken at 350 for 15 minutes (add 3 mins under the broiler for extra crunch!)
toss mixed greens, cranberries, pepitas with the dressing and top with goat cheese, croutons and chicken!