Dinner on the Deck

Spring is here, and everything is starting to bloom and wake up from their winter’s nap.  Mostly, this is a very nice thing, but today, my allergies were killing me, so I could not enjoy it as much as I normally do.  But you know what?  I would never sacrifice this, even though I am very allergic to pollen.  You have to take the good with the bad, and the good definitely outweighs the bad by a lot.  We love eating outside, and we do it as often as we can.  Tonight was our first al fresco dinner of the season, with many more coming up ahead in the very near future,  We live on the first of 6 ponds, with a gorgeous view of the ponds and the Rockie mountains outside of Boulder, CO.  Usually we see all different kinds of water fowl, but the ponds were quiet tonight.  It was still a perfect night though.  No complaints here.  This is one of our favorite things to do.   It was so peaceful  and relaxing.  It is like stepping away from all of life’s confusion, even if only for just a short while.  After a nice, relaxing dinner on the deck, we feel refreshed and revitalized.

Tonight’s deck dinner was a margarita chicken salad served with a chili-lime dressing and jalapeno cornbread with honey butter.  I served a crisp, lightly-fruity chardonnay with the salad, that has hints of apricot and green apples.  The wine went along very nicely with the salad.





Margarita Chicken Salad

Marinating the chicken.

I let it marinade in my marinade for about 4 hours, then we grilled it.

The marinade was made from garlic, thinly sliced red onions red pepper flakes, cilantro, lime juice, sweet and sour margarita mix, tequila and olive oil.  It came out very flavorful and tender. These chicken breasts were huge and very thick, so we butterflied them to make sure they cooked through thoroughly.


The Salad

romaine lettuce, chopped in large chunks or shreds

cooked chicken, (mine was marinaded in the above mentioned marinade.  You can substitute any kind of protein or vegetarian protein you like)

red onion, sliced very thin

shredded cheese (optional)

jicama, cut in matchstick size pieces

tomato, diced

roasted red pepper, medium dice

cooked beans (I used some of my leftover bayou beans)

green onions, cut thin

avocado slices

tortilla strips, sliced very thin and pan-fried

cooking oil for the tortilla strips


Layer your salad how you like it.  Slice the cooked chicken and place it on top of your salad mixture.  Top with avocado slices and fried tortilla strips and your dressing of choice.  I made a chili-lime vinaigrette.  The tortilla strips only take a few second to brown and crisp up.  You have to watch them very carefully, since they burn very easily.  Once they are fired to a light, golden brown, remove from the heat and oil and set aside.



Chili-lime Vinaigrette

spicy Thai red chili sauce


cilantro, chopped fine


lime juice

olive oil



Mix all the ingredients together until well blended and top your salad.







Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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