Buffalo Chicken and Broccoli Bowl

Chicken + Spicy Wing Sauce + Tangy Garlic Greek Yogurt Dressing = a salad riff on buffalo chicken wings.
Buffalo Chicken Salad

Chicken + Spicy Wing Sauce + Tangy Garlic Greek Yogurt Dressing = a salad riff on buffalo chicken wings.

I thrive on routines. Some folks don’t. Some folks – like racecar drivers, test pilots, and my husband – flourish in the thrill of the moment. While I start each day one right sock at a time, these are the wild men and women who ride downhill brake-free.

(Which gets me thinking, I need to replace my brakes.)

When you’re getting married and after you’ve gotten married, people are quick to make statements and give advice. The first year’s the hardest. – Things will be messy. – You’ll suddenly have a good reason to slip away, enjoy it.

I don’t have years of matrimonial experience. (Just the one.) I don’t have oodles of advice. Nor do I have some earth shattering realization about two becoming one.

To be clear, the first year wasn’t all roses and sunsets. There were fights and jaw-dropping moments of, “Are you kidding me.” But mostly, it’s been good. An unctuous good – a lovely cross between a blanket fresh from the dryer and the thud of a shoulder hitting your sternum at full speed.

Like that first night, when he swept me off my feet and carried me over the threshold and told me, “You. Are. Mine.” And I was. And I am. And it’s good.

Sure, we’ve squabbled over whose job it is to put the pillowcases on the pillows. (It’s his. To be clear.) But in the quiet moments, I like to remember the Wednesday morning I ran out of coffee beans and the pound he raced to the store to buy before heading to the office. I like to savor the fires he built to make me smile, the texts he sent just because, and the space he gave me for an entire wall of bookshelves.

And to be fair, we’re not complete opposites. He also likes, steak, oysters, and sweet potatoes. He rocks cowboy boots from time-to-time. And,we both play basketball. (Though, his swagger has a bit more of a bull-in-a-china-shop edge.) However, unlike me, he gets bored with eating the same thing for lunch day after day.

Routines are doable for him. He’s not going to complain about them (at least for a while.) But, he likes his chicken salad to have a little variety.

And so, there’s been Butternut Squash and Kale Salad. There was Herb Packed Quinoa Salad, quite a few renditions of black bean and corn salad, Broccoli and Bacon Salad, and this, Buffalo Chicken and Broccoli Bowl.

It’s not so bad to shake things up. Because when a man peels your oranges for you, hangs pictures for you, and brings you tea when you’re sick, giving up a bit of your routine doesn’t seem so hard.

Honey – Today, we’ve officially been married one year. Here’s to many more routine shaking salads.

P.S. When you get home, the pillowcases are on the bed.

Buffalo Chicken and Broccoli Bowl

Makes 6 Servings

This bowl is a riff on chicken wings – in that there’s chicken and wing sauce. Beyond that, it veers hard to the left. Fried skin is replaced with crunchy broccoli and kale. Ranch dip is lighted into a garlic Greek yogurt dressing. Sweet potatoes add another layer of nutrients. Red onion brings in some acid. And barley adds a filling punch.

As an added bonus, this satisfying mix of heat and sweet packs well for lunch and lasts throughout the week.

2 large chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
salt and pepper to taste
6 TBS olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into ¼ inch cubes
1 cup barley, cooked as directed and cooled
1½ cups chopped kale
1½ cups broccoli florets
1 small red onion, chopped
1/3 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS butter, melted
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 3 TBS olive in a medium skillet until oil shimmers. Add chicken to skillet and let brown (about five minutes). Flip chicken and transfer to oven. Bake until internal temp registers 165 degrees (roughly 25 minutes).

Remove from oven. Transfer to a clean plate and set-aside until for 5 minutes. Using two forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Allow to cool thoroughly.

While chicken is cooling, toss sweet potatoes with remaining 3 TBS olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Arrange in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake in 350-degree oven, until soft (roughly 20 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Once chicken has cooled, put it, kale, broccoli, and red onion into a large bowl. Toss gently.

Whisk together Frank’s, 3 cloves minced garlic, and butter. Gradually pour hot sauce mixture over chicken mixture, stirring to incorporate fully.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining 2 cloves minced garlic, Greek yogurt, lemon, and pepper to taste.

Evenly divide the chicken mixture, sweet potatoes, and barley into six portions. Reserve yogurt dressing until ready to serve.

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