Chicken Caesar Salad

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

When dining out, you’re almost guaranteed to find a chicken Caesar salad on the menu.  This classic is the perfect meal for lunch or dinner and is my personal favorite for easy meal planning, due to its versatility.

You can make this salad with mostly store-bought ingredients, or you can take it up a notch and make a more elaborate homemade version.  Let’s take a look at all of the components.

Greens

Traditionally, Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce.  You can use a pre-washed bagged romaine from the grocery store, romaine hearts, romaine from your garden and even kale.

Serve torn lettuce, halved romaine hearts, or try grilling halved romaine hearts brushed with a bit of olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper, like Manitoba Chicken Producers did here in this Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad recipe. I personally love grilling the lettuce because the smokiness from the grill adds another dimension of flavor. If it’s your first time grilling lettuce, watch this 60-Second video to see how it’s done.

Chicken

Use boneless skinless chicken breasts for your salad. You can take some shortcuts and meal prep the chicken for an easy meal. Here are a few different ways to prepare the chicken.

  • Pre-cook boneless skinless chicken breasts and slice them for quick and easy lunches or dinners
  • Season chicken breasts with lemon pepper
  • Crush croutons and use as a coating for a crispy baked chicken breast
  • Marinate chicken breasts in caesar vinaigrette
  • Use slow-cooked shredded chicken
  • Use frozen popcorn chicken or chicken fingers
  • Serve homemade Crispy Parmesan Chicken Strips on or with your Caesar salad

Toppings for your chicken Caesar salad

Typically, chicken Caesar salads are adorned with bacon bits and croutons, but you can up the ante by making your own croutons from a loaf of crusty bread or topping your salad with pancetta, prosciutto or capers. 

Meal Prep Tips for Chicken Caesar Salad

If you’re making chicken Caesar salad for dinner, it’s never a bad idea to make an extra one for lunch the next day.  I like to use mini mason jars (125 mL) to portion out the dressing. Alternatively, use large mason jars (1L) and do a salad in a jar, by layering the dressing, chicken, lettuce and bacon bits, then add the croutons just before serving. You could also use a tortilla, naan or pita to serve your chicken Caesar salad as a wrap.

Tearing the lettuce by hand versus cutting it with a knife will prevent it from browning and it will last about two days longer than it would if you cut it.

Finally, I’ve already mentioned ways to meal prep the chicken, but to elaborate on that, batch cooking several chicken breasts and freezing them, guarantees that you will have cooked chicken available for a quick meal anytime, even if it’s not Caesar salad. Use your cooked chicken in any of these recipes from manitobachicken.ca.

How to set up a DIY Chicken Toast Bar

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

May Long Weekend is just around the corner.  You may be one of the lucky ones who scored a campsite for this unofficial start of summer or you may be heading to a family cottage to open up for the season.  You might also be staying home, enjoying the comfort of your own backyard like I am. Wherever you choose to celebrate the long weekend, this DIY Chicken Toast Bar featuring three toast recipes from Manitoba Chicken Producers is a great option for a lunch or a snack.

The basics

To set up this toast bar, all you need is shredded chicken, toasted baguette slices and a few fresh toppings.  Here are three toast recipes that you can make:

You may have seen these recipes featured on Great Tastes of Manitoba Season 31, Episode 6- Toast to MB Chicken. If not, you can watch it here to see how they’re made.

Setting up your Toast Bar

Here are some recommended ingredients for your toast bar:

  • Toasted baguette slices
  • Chicken (roasted, shredded, sliced or chicken fingers)
  • Two spreads
    • Hummus
    • Pesto
    • Olive tapenade
    • Baba ghanoush
  • One or two soft cheeses
    • Ricotta
    • Brie
    • Fresh mozzarella
    • Goat cheese
  • Two to three fresh toppings
    • Tomatoes (fresh or roasted)
    • Greens (arugula, cilantro, dill, sprouts)
    • Avocado
    • Roasted red peppers
  • Finishing touches
    • Fruit preserves or jam
    • Balsamic reduction
    • Capers
    • Pine nuts
    • Dried fruit (blueberries, apricots, cranberries)

Meal Prep Tips for your DIY Toast Bar

You can set up your toast bar to be as simple or elaborate as you want.  Most of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time, to make this a quick and easy snack or lunch, perfect for a day of yard work, camping or sitting on the dock.

Here are some steps that you can take to prep your toast bar ahead of time:

  • Slice the baguette (toast it just before serving for maximum crispness)
  • Cook and shred or slice the chicken
  • Make hummus
  • Roast tomatoes
  • Other fresh toppings need minimal prep, like fresh arugula or herbs, tomatoes, avocado & capers

Store-Bought Shortcuts for your DIY Toast Bar

Store-bought ingredients

If you’re looking for maximum time-savings, here are some store-bought shortcuts that you can try:

  • Rotisserie chicken from the deli
  • Chicken fingers
  • Crostini rounds (find them in the cracker aisle)
  • Store-bought hummus (try a few flavors)
  • Guacamole
  • Oil packed sundried tomatoes
  • Olive tapenade
  • Capers
  • Flavored goat cheese spread

What to do with the leftovers?

What happens if you finish off the baguette and you have a bunch of toppings leftover?

This is why this is the perfect weekend meal.  The ingredients are so versatile that you can pack everything you need for the toast bar and have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Show us your toast bars! Tag @manitobachicken and @toobusylivin204 so we can see which ingredients you chose!

Bake One, Freeze One – Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Spring break is just around the corner and that means kids are home from school and will at some point be a) hungry and b) bored. These Chicken Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are a great way to get the kids in the kitchen to keep them busy AND feed them.

a pan of cooked lasagna rolls in white sauce
These Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are perfect for Spring Break: An activity for the kids and a meal for the family.

60-Second Recipe

As I mentioned in How to prep Chicken – One Pan Chicken Souvlaki, Manitoba Chicken Producers has 60-Second Recipe videos on manitobachicken.ca to teach you how to make over 50 of their recipes.  There is a video for these Chicken and Ricotta Lasagna Rolls too, so if you have older kids who are independent in the kitchen, you can set them up with the groceries and the link and let them have fun cooking dinner.

ingredients on a cutting board

Bake One, Freeze One

This recipe is a great one to double and freeze for another meal.  You can divide it in portions that are suitable for you. I like to use foil containers to freeze these, so that I don’t have to freeze my everyday baking dishes. 

Versatile & Adaptable

Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are adaptable, and you can tweak the flavors based on ingredients you already have on hand. For my take on this recipe, I substituted the swiss chard with sundried tomatoes and the thyme for my Three Herb Pesto. You could also use spinach, shredded zucchini, or mushrooms instead of the swiss chard.  If using zucchini or mushrooms, be sure to sauté them first, to release some of the moisture.

ingredients in a bowl being mixed with a spatula

Since I doubled the recipe, I made half with the cream sauce, as stated in the original recipe, and used marinara sauce for the other half. You can also use different pasta shapes for these Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls. I tested this recipe using fresh lasagna sheets and oven-ready cannelloni shells. You could also use jumbo shell pasta or regular lasagna noodles (be sure to cook them and cool them before filling).

lasagna rolls in red sauce in a baking dish

Tips for Assembling Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

This recipe is so easy to prepare. Younger children can help mix the ingredients and dollop the filling on to the lasagna sheets.  When I was using the oven-ready cannelloni, I used a piping bag to fill the tubes.  This technique might be tricky (but fun!) for tiny hands but will make filling them a breeze for a teen or an adult.

a hand holding a canneloni bring filled with a piping bag

Also, be sure to cover the rolls completely with whichever sauce you choose to use.  I made the mistake of leaving some of the edges uncovered and they got a bit crispy.

cream being poured from a pitcher over lasagna rolls

Tips for Freezing and Storing Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

There are two important food safety tips you need to know for making and freezing these lasagna rolls.  First, when you bring the ground chicken home from the store, be sure to use it within two days.  Second, when freezing the lasagna rolls, they will keep in the freezer for up to three months.  Be sure to label your foil pans with the name of the recipe and the date so you know how long they have been in your freezer.

foil pans with cooking instructions written on the top

When thawing the rolls before cooking them, be sure to thaw them in the refrigerator the night before you would like to cook them.

These Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are delicious leftover as well.  I thought they were even better the next day! Be sure to consume leftovers within two days. For more chicken-related food safety tips, head to the Cooking School section at manitobachicken.ca and click Cooking, Storing or Handling in the dropdown menu.

How to Serve Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

a plate of food beside a baking dish of cooked lasagna rolls

These lasagna rolls pair well with a Caesar salad and garlic or focaccia bread.  Which variation will you make? Head to manitobachicken.ca for the recipe and to watch the 60-Second video.