Tropical Chicken

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This is a dish I have been making since I was a child. I am not sure where the original recipe came from, but many of my friends, coworkers and even some of their loved ones have been making this dish in my name ever since!
It has evolved a lot from the original recipe – where I used to boil the chicken breast (ew?) as a child, I now like to grill them (or saute if it’s winter, like it is now!).
Now that I don’t eat commercial canned foods, I use fresh pineapple. Where I once used one of those horrifying mystery-ingredient, powdered seasoning packets, I mix my own ranch-dressing seasoning mix with a little mayonnaise and pineapple juice.

This dish is perfect for the summer, because it is refreshing, light, and if you can grill the chicken outside, you keep all the heat out of the house! (If you can’t grill it, baking or even sauteing would be just as fine!) I used to make this early in the morning and allow it to cool all day in the fridge so dinner was ready when we were hungry.

While it is January and pretty cold out, I found myself craving this dish like crazy, so I had to whip it up for dinner last night. This can either be served in a pita or on mixed greens like a salad. For last night, I served in pitas with fresh baby spinach leaves.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my friends and family have!
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Prep Time: 1/2 hour
Cook Time: Approx. 20 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hours
Serves: 4 – 6 people

Ingredients:
3-4 Chicken Breasts
Ranch Seasoning Mix (see below)
1 Pineapple (this is sold pre-cored and in it’s natural juices where I shop, so sometimes I use that instead. If you opt for a fresh pineapple, you will need to pick up some pineapple juice as well)
4-5 sticks of Celery
Baby Spinach
Pita pockets

To Make Ranch Seasoning Mix
1 tb. onion powder
1 tb. garlic powder
2 tb. dried parsley
1. tb. sea salt
1/2 tb. dried dill
Mix all ingredients well. This recipe can easily be multiplied if you will use often and want to keep on hand.

Directions:
1) Mix (1) tablespoon of ranch seasoning mix with about (3) tablespoons of mayonnaise. Add pineapple juice to thin out. You may need to add more juice or mayonnaise to get it to the right consistency. The dressing shouldn’t be too runny, you want it to coat the chicken and veggies well. If you add too much pineapple juice, you can use mayonnaise to thicken it again, and vice versa. Make sure you taste as you go, and add more seasoning mix if it is too bland.
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2) Clean the chicken as you normally would. Heat the grill to medium heat (or heat a pan to medium-high heat.) Season the chicken with a little of the ranch seasoning mix.
3) Cut celery into even slices, and cube fresh pineapple. Set aside in a large bowl.
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4) Grill chicken 5-7 minutes on both sides or until crispy and cooked through. Grill pineapple 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken from heat and allow to cool before cutting both into 1/2″ cubes. (It is very important that you allow the chicken to cool completely before you add in the dressing, or it can cause funky things to happen with the mayonnaise! Ew!)
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5)Add chicken to the celery & pineapple; Pour ranch mixture over and toss well. Cool an additional 1/2 hour until mixture is cold throughout. Once cool, stuff your pitas or serve on salad greens and enjoy!

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