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.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup is one of our favorites to freeze and take for school lunches. We like to add chicken to it, but you could definitely make a vegetarian version as well by omitting the chicken.

Getting started

There are a few meal prep strategies that you could do before you make this soup, that will help you stock your freezer for other meals as well. I like to use Slow Cooker Vegetable Broth in this recipe. It’s almost free to make and one batch will give you enough broth to make this tortilla soup, plus an extra three cups to use in another recipe.

Jump to Recipe

You can also get ahead by making a batch of shredded chicken. You will only need about two breasts for this soup, but if you cook and shred 8 chicken breasts, you will be able to freeze 6 more for future meals.

Time-saving tips

You can save time by preparing this recipe in a number of ways:

Prepare the tortilla soup the night before you need it

Assembling the soup in the crock pot, the night before you need it will allow you to simply turn on the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day while you’re at work.

If you don’t have the fridge space to store your crock pot over night, consider opening your cans, rinsing beans, chopping onions and garlic and measuring spices as you pre-prep, so you can just add them to the slow cooker in the morning.

Freeze extra portions of tortilla soup for lunches

This soup is a quick weeknight meal, but is also amazing as a hot lunch. You will get 8 2-cup portions from this recipe so it’s a great one to freeze for later.

Toppings and variations

As I mentioned previously, you could definitely make a vegetarian version by omitting the chicken and chicken bouillon concentrate. Adding toppings isn’t necessary but is a nice touch. Some toppings you could add are:

  • Diced avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • A squeeze of lime
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tortilla strips or chips

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword make-ahead meals, slow cooker, slow-cooker meals, tortilla soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts Substitute with 2 cups cooked shredded chicken or omit for vegetarian
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth add 2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon concentrate if using vegetable broth, or omit for a vegetarian version.

Toppings

  • lime
  • avocado
  • shredded cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • tortilla strips or chips

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker except toppings.

  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

  3. If using whole chicken breasts, remove the chicken and shred it when cooked, then add it back to the soup.

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup

This soup is easy on so many levels. Simple ingredients, meal prep friendly, make-ahead, slow cooker, freezer friendly. What more do you need?

Fall has arrived and that makes it easy to justify making soup every week. I usually stick with a slow cooker soup, so that it cooks all day and is ready to eat when we get home. No effort required. With the exception of cooking up some egg noodles before serving, this soup is meal prep friendly, make-ahead and a real time saver if you don’t have a lot of hands-on time to cook dinner.

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