Greek Grilled Chicken Salad. Sweet, indeed, with a little Beaujolais. Ok, Ok, get Greek wine if you must.
I hate hot weather. I can't say it any other way. I'm a 56 year-old post-menopausal woman who starts dreading summer and reading the morning temperatures in March every year. By April, I'm beginning to tear up. Soon, the air conditioning is on as low and for as long as I can afford the bill. I don't care if I have to put on covers at night. This is my life, for goodness' sake. And I cannot bake in the summer. My oven stays off for three months (except for Dave's birthday, when I get up at 5 to bake a NY cheesecake.) Who made summer? I AM A BAKER.
On the other hand. I adore summer fruit, salads, grilling, putting up jam (with the AC on ohdarklowly), eating outdoors (which we do every night unless it's storming). I lovingly plant, fertilize, water, water, water, water (for 90 days unless it snows first) my tomatoes. I stand outside and curse the squirrels who chew the ripe ones before I can run out and rescue them. (the tomatoes, not the squirrels) My herb garden is touched daily, and I now have one permanent bedded garden as well as my portable winter herb garden that makes its way to the front porch to blossom and grow in the sun all summer. When I travel, the potted herbs are all moved to where the sprinkler system can water them. Baseball? Hot dogs? These are my things, too. (Actually they're Daves, but, hey, I'm a CUBS fan.) Making ice cream? Of course. Porch wine with the neighbors. Natch. (Strawberry margaritas tomorrow night in honor of the waning light..) The hot tub on cool summer nights overlooking the city?
Of course, I'm blessed. But, by God, I can't stand the heat and that's why I should and do get out of the kitchen. I'm a slave to chopping vegetables, spinning up vinaigrette, finding new summer dry roses or whites, and asking Dave what he wants to grill. Eating after 7pm OUTSIDE in the breeze. To that end, I sometimes am not as creative as I long to be in summer. So I decided to fix that. Witness these two scrumpt salads. Hard? No? Truly original? As far as I know, they are. But, in food, as in life, nothing is original under the sun.
My goal was simple: Make a few 2DI4 salads using grilled, boneless chicken breasts and not too many other ingredients to create meals that could be put together during the week after making a big batch of the breasts over the weekend. Did they fill the bill? You decide. I'm making them and eating them forever. Hey, you can also just pull meat from rotisserie chicken from the store. Or make whole breasts with skin in the oven. (Brush with olive oil and thoroughly dust with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 F for 45 min.)
Here are a couple out of the ones I tried: Greek Grilled Chicken Salad and Chicken Guac Salad
Greek Grilled Chicken after waiting for its closeup...topped with fresh basil from my garden.
Chicken Guac Salad with a Big Squeeze of Fresh Lime... Kinda like a margarita to eat.
Greek Grilled Chicken Salad 4 servings
1 English cucumber, chopped into 1/2" chunks
1/2 large green sweet pepper, same drill
2 large tomatoes, ditto
6-8 oz bulk feta cheese, drained well, cut into 1/2" chunks
2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" chunks
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives
1/4 c red onion, sliced as thinly as you can slice it
1 c shredded lettuce or greens
2T chiffonade basil (fresh basil very thinly sliced or julienne)
2T dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 t crushed red pepper, optional
1 lemon, cut in half
Dressing (In a jar, shake well 3T olive oil with 1T red wine vinegar and a pinch each of salt and pepper)
Mix cucumber through lettuce in your big bowl, but be kind and just barely toss it together. You don't want things to mush up. Top with dried oregano, and a dusting of kosher salt and maybe 1/2 t freshly ground pepper. Add the crushed red pepper if desired. Toss gently. Squeeze fresh lemon over all and toss again. Drizzle dressing over all and toss a bit more. Garnish with fresh basil. (Note: be careful with all salt additions to this salad; the feta and the olives are already salty.)
Chicken Guac Salad 3-4 servings
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped roughly, divided
1/2 c fresh green pepper, chopped in 1/3-1/2" pieces
1/4 c red sweet pepper, chopped in 1/3-1/2 " pieces
1-2 t jalapeno, very finely minced (to taste)
1/4 c red onion, minced
1 c tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 ripe avocados, roughly chopped
1 c cooked rice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 Lime, cut in half, and the other half cut in half again
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped
2 c baby spinach leaves
1/2c sharp cheddar grated
Mix cilantro through tomatoes, reserving 2 T cilantro. Mix that reserved 2 T cilantro into the cooked rice and add to the salad. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Squeeze half of the lime over the salad. Add chopped chicken breasts and spinach and stir gently. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve mounded, with a piece of lime on each plate to use at table.
Two-Dog (and cat) Kitchen and Around the Hood and Life
Emily--at home to rest! between semesters.
Gabby: Are you gonna eat that?
Skippy grows up a little.
Mom snaps a quick pic while we go to Briarhurst Manor for a Murder Mystery Dinner....
Blog to come: Minute Marinara. Looks good, huh?