Fancy pants dinner!

Look, me and the kitchen are not besties.  I do my best, and I have drastically improved; truthfully I just don’t really enjoy it.  I wish I did!  If I could create something amazeballs in a reasonably quick amount of time and not have a massive mess to clean afterwards, then maybe I’d be more friendly with cooking.  It drives me crazy when I spend an hour plus on a meal, I make a big mess, it takes us 10 minutes to eat it, and it takes me another hour to clean it up.  Uhh…I’ll go to CFA, get dinner and be back.  Thanks!

Every once in awhile, I’ve come across a recipe that I enjoy making and this is one of them.  When my sorority sisters and I went to Scottsdale, AZ in January 2014 we ate at a delicious restaurant called Cowboy Ciao.  They make a chopped salad that is to die for!  We all loved it, so we got home and worked on finding a recipe to recreate the deliciousness.  We found one, and I adapted it to make it my own, and we love it!  It drives me crazy when I have to buy odd ingredients for a recipe and then you have all of these leftover weird items that just go bad in your fridge or pantry.  The items in this salad can last a long time, so you won’t have to buy them all over again…and have I mentioned that it’s so good?  AND (holy cow, how did I forget to leave this out?!) it’s healthy!  Mike and I try to eat as many colors as we can instead of focusing on “must eat fruits and veggies.”  We think, “how many colors of the rainbow can we eat?” which ends up being healthier food options!  Smart, huh?  (We ain’t that creative- Mike read that is what the Alabama athletic trainer started doing with the football team because they didn’t want to eat their fruits and veggies either.)

What you need:


1 can of corn

1 lb chicken

1 package of pearled couscous

1 plum tomato

dried cranberries


shredded mozerella

caesar vinaigrette dressing

all-seasoning (or whatever basic seasoning you want to use)

Before you say, pepitas?  What the heck are those?!  I’m out- too fancy! They can be found at Publix in the produce section with all the other Publix packaged nuts and dried fruits.  Pepitas are seasoned pumpkin seeds, so they aren’t THAT fancy, and they can last in your pantry for awhile!  Pearled couscous is in the rice section…dried cranberries can stay in your fridge for a long time…and other stuff is not hard to find and might even be in your home already.  You don’t have to do a caesar vinaigrette dressing, but that’s my favorite option.

What to do:

Cook the chicken and season it with the all-seasoning (or whatever you want), and chop it up into small pieces.  HINT:  You could also just buy a rotisserie chicken and chop that up…a quicker, but still yummy option.  Put the corn in a small pot to heat up and season with the same all-seasoning that you used for the chicken.  Follow the package directions for the couscous (it doesn’t take but about 20 minutes in all to cook), and in the meantime finely chop the arugula.  Dice the plum tomato, and roughly chop up the dried cranberries.  In order to make this presentation look like you grew up real fancy and have mad culinary skills, then line all of your ingredients on each plate in long vertical sections.  I start in the center with the arugula and work out.  You can put the couscous on one side of the arugula and the chicken on the other.  Then maybe put the corn on one side and the tomatoes on the other, then finish it by putting the dried cranberries and pepitas on the outsides.  Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese and serve.  Let your diners drizzle their dressing over the top to their liking (it doesn’t need much though), and then have them mix all the ingredients together and enjoy.

Y’all!  So good!  AND it looks so fancy!  I love making this, and I find it really easy to do.  Let me know if you decide to try it and what you think!  OH- and it has 4 colors…red tomatoes, purple dried cranberries (okay, maybe dark red, but I’m going to count it), green arugula and yellow corn.  Good, right?


2 thoughts on “Fancy pants dinner!”

  1. Your presentation is outstanding. Planning to try this and glad that it’s easy. I’m also of the mindset that if it takes me longer to make it than to eat it, that recipe hits the trash. Not one to spend much time in the kitchen

  2. I can attest to the deliciousness, I loved it when you made this fancy dinner for me and we are out on your beautiful porch! Refreshing!

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