Chinese Chicken Salad

Today it was over 100 degrees in Phoenix.  Let the cold dinners begin! During summer (which is really May-October for us) we do lots of grilling, salads, and some stove-top dinners. This salad is a great meal-salad that is filling and tasty, AND my kids ate it up.  You can absolutely make a double batch of the salad dressing and marinate the chicken in some of the dressing before grilling to add even more flavor.

Chinese Chicken Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 c. chopped cucumber
2 large carrots, grated
4-6 green onions, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
4 oz sliced almonds
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
1 1/2 lb chicken breast
2 large burrito size tortillas, sliced in thin strips
vegetable oil

Preheat the grill and season the chicken breasts well with granulated garlic, sea salt and pepper, cook until done on the inside, about 12-15 minutes total.  While the chicken is cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat and fill it with about an inch of vegetable oil. To test the oil, put one tortilla strip in the skillet, if it sizzles and starts cooking right away it's ready! If nothing happens, wait a minute longer.  Fry the tortilla strips in batches until crispy, about 2 minutes each small batch. Remove cooked strips to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.  Continue frying the tortilla strips until they're all cooked.

Once the chicken is cooked, slice it thinly. To assemble salads layer lettuce, cucumber, carrots, onions, cilantro, almonds, oranges and chicken.  Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with fried tortilla strips.

Chinese Dressing
recipe from Ellie Krieger on Food Network

3 Tb soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
1/3 c. rice vinegar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 Tb. vegetable oil
2 Tb. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. sriracha
1 tsp. sesame oil
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Teacher Appreciation Ideas

Teacher Appreciation week starts tomorrow, May 6th.  After being a teacher I really appreciate and understand all that teachers do, so I like to send in something every day for the week.  If you're thinking every single day is overkill, just pick one small way to show your kids' teachers that you appreciate them.

I tried to find things that were cute and practical, but not too expensive, being as my little kids have two preschool teachers each (times three days/week is six gifts there), plus my son's first grade teacher, and I wanted to send something in for all of the specials teachers at the elementary school too. So, that's a lot of gifts! Whew! Got it all figured out, all the supplies bought and most of the work done, so I'm feeling prepared.  If you haven't even given it a thought yet, here's a few ideas to get you started, that don't take a ton of time or extra special skills! (Ms. Sons, if you're reading this...stop now! Don't want to ruin the surprise.)

One day I am going to bring in lunch for the whole first grade team. I brought lunch for the kindergarten teachers last year too and I try to choose something that can be eaten cold, so that I'm not trying to time the cooking and delivery of the lunch perfectly OR the teachers don't have to spend their precious lunch time fighting for microwave space in the break room.  This year I made the teachers Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad, fresh fruit and brownies with peanut butter frosting.

I found this great subway art download through Pinterest.  I uploaded the image to Sam's Club and printed it on a 5x7. Then I used Mod Podge and a foam brush to attach scrap paper and the subway art to the back of a clipboard and covered with a few coats of Mod Podge.  For the front I had the little kids (ages 2 and 4) color and sign a note that I typed up.  My first grader wrote his own note. This subway art would look super cute as an 8x10 or 11x14 in a frame too.

Another gift I made is a monogram "wreath".  I found some cute letters at Hobby Lobby.  They're just MDF that I sanded on the edges, made some rolled fabric flowers and attached a ribbon to.  My daughter has a male preschool teacher that we love, but I didn't think Mr. Ty would be in love with a rolled fabric flower "wreath" so I'm in the process of painting his letter with chalkboard paint, thinking that's a little more masculine.

Hobby Lobby had these cute little popcorn boxes that I just loved so I'm going to make a couple batches of double chocolate peanut caramel corn to stuff in the boxes, package it in a celophane bag with a ribbon and tie some tags on. (I typed up these little tags, that I have yet to cut and attach to black cardstock.) I'll add a picture of the finished product! The caramel corn boxes will also be the treats for the specials teachers.

And, I'm going to bring in a latte or sonic drink for the last day.  After a hot day (week) teaching first graders, who wouldn't love a cold treat?

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