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Short on time and looking for budget friendly meals? Well, helloooo…aren’t we all! I feel like I just emptied my wallet on school supplies last week, so finding great tasting recipes that are also inexpensive to make get two thumbs up from this working mom. We all know sometimes things can get a tight around pay day twice a month, and buying KRAFT products on rollback can help save money to spend on other fun activities, or in our case more pencils and glue sticks! This Zesty Italian Chicken Salad uses a combination of two tasty KRAFT dressings and is full of flavor. Another bonus from this easy chicken recipe is that when I make it, we can be sitting at the table and eating in under 30 minutes and costs less than $20. SCORE!
When I make chicken salad, the first thing I do is marinate the chicken to add a layer of flavor from the very beginning. For making simple dinners, I like the convenience of marinating chicken in a ready made salad dressing. I know the flavors will be spot on to my expectations. I’ve also caught my husband marinating chicken in Zesty Italian before he coats them in breadcrumbs for homemade chicken fingers. Oh and an extra sneaky kitchen tip for you. Slice chicken breasts into strips before marinating to allow the dressing to cover the maximum surface area and absorb as much flavor as possible. You can thank me later.
Slicing the boneless, skinnless chicken breast into strips before marinating also saves time when it comes to cooking. I can quickly cook the strips on my grill pan in minutes which is great for making summer meals and keeping the house cool. Easy to prepare dinners are a big bonus for weeknights now that my kids are back in school too. I’m exhausted already, and it’s only the first week.
Once grilled and cooked through, I dice the chicken strips and add more Zesty Italian while the chicken is still warm for an added boost of flavor.
Stretching our food budget while serving a satisfying dinner to my family is important to me. I can stretch a package of chicken further by making chicken salad. I’m essentially increasing the available servings by adding extra diced vegetables and shredded cheese. My family loves diced carrots and celery for extra crunch, but I’ve also added cucumbers in a pinch as well. The Mozzarella flavored Velveeta ties in nicely with the Italian theme of my recipe. My husband would love it if I added diced red and green peppers to complement the Zesty Italian flavors, but since I’m not a fan of them, I gloss right over that option. HA!
This chicken salad can be served slightly warm if you need to save time by going straight from the prep bowl to the table. It’s great on sandwich buns, buttery crackers or even as a topping for carrot coins and cucumber slices. You can’t beat the versatility of this recipe, and the ingredients have become regulars on my grocery list when I head to my local Walmart for my weekly shopping trip.
The combination on the Zesty Italian salad dressing and tangy Miracle Whip in this recipe make this chicken salad fabulous. I have always been a Miracle Whip girl for making chicken salad recipes. For years, my sister and I have tried to recreate my great Aunt Sophie’s original chicken salad with little success. No matter how hard we try using her basic ingredients of diced chicken, celery and Miracle Whip, it never tastes the same. I am guessing it’s missing her love. Isn’t that the secret ingredient to all of your family’s favorite recipes?
If I can’t replicate my Aunt’s perfect chicken salad, at least I can share my own modified recipe that is delicious in its own right. My family sure enjoys it, so I know there must be plenty of love mixed into mine as well.
What are your tips to #RollIntoSavings and still prepare satisfying and delicious meals for your family?
- 28 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 Cup Zesty Italian dressing (for marinating chicken)
- ¼ Cup Zesty Italian dressing
- 1 Cup Miracle Whip dressing
- ½ Cup diced celery
- ½ Cup diced carrots
- ½ Cup shredded Velveeta Mozzarella
- Slice boneless skinless chicken breast into thin strips, marinate in Zesty Italian dressing for 2-3 hours.
- Preheat grill pan to medium high heat.
- Remove strips from marinade and discard excess marinade.
- Grill marinated chicken strips until cooked through (7-10 minutes)
- When cool enough to handle, dice chicken strips.
- In a large bowl add cooked diced chicken and drizzle a ¼ cup of fresh Zesty Italian dressing over chicken. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Add diced carrots and celery to chicken mixture and stir to combine.
- Add Miracle Whip dressing to chicken mixture and thoroughly combine all ingredients.
- Serve warm or refrigerate to serve later.
- Serve with rolls for sandwiches or on crackers and top with shredded cheese.
- I prefer to top with cheese instead of mixing into the salad in case there are leftovers. I am not a fan of soggy cheese.