We had unseasonably summer-like weather here yesterday, and that combined with a large-ish lunch meant that dinner had to be light and heat-free. So I looked into the fridge and came up with this salad using a bunch of stuff that needed to be eaten before it spoiled:
two boneless skinless chicken breasts
mixed baby salad greens, with a handful of spinach leaves
mixed cherry tomatoes (from Trader Joe’s)
toasted sunflower seeds
basil-infused olive oil
fresh lemon juice
lemon pepper seasoning mix
salt and pepper to taste
I sprinkled the chicken breasts with some olive oil (just regular cooking oil, not the fancy stuff) and rubbed a few sprinkles of lemon pepper all over them, then grilled for 3-4 minutes per side until just done and cut into bite-size pieces. While the chicken cooked, I sliced up the mozzarella into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl, I mixed the greens with some salt and pepper to taste, then drizzled a bit (maybe 1Tbsp) of the basil-infused olive oil and a few teaspoons of lemon juice and tossed. I added the rinsed cherry tomatoes and tossed again. Then I arranged a mound of salad on a plate, topped with the chicken and mozzarella pieces, and sprinkled the sunflower seeds on top.
The result? A remarkably satisfying salad that almost made the hot weather tolerable; my sweetie even requested that it be put into our regular dinner rotation. Success!
Oh, the many things I’ve thought about blogging in the last few months, and yet stopped myself from doing so. Or rather, distracted myself from. And what is it that has brought me back? What do I have to share with the world that is so profound it actually lifted me from inertia? Well, only this: a homemade salad that transcended all my expectations for what a lunch salad could be.
(Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?)
So, I read in a healthy-eating magazine a suggestion for green salad with strawberries and mozzarella. But while the magazine photo showed cubes of grocery-store mozz, I had a container of the REAL THING in my refrigerator, just waiting to be enjoyed in a healthful way instead of all at once in a festival of cheese gluttony. So I built this salad:
a few cups of mixed baby spring greens, with a handful of fresh baby spinach thrown in
4-5 fresh strawberries
a few ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (I used a single bocconcino)
5-6 asparagus spears
a teaspoon or so of toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper
high-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dress
First I tossed the asparagus with a bit of olive oil (not the fancy stuff, just my everyday oil) and some salt and pepper and roasted it in a 400F oven for 10-12 minutes or so. While that was roasting I tossed the spinach in with the mixed greens, cleaned and sliced the strawberries, and sliced the mozzarella. When the asparagus was soft and slightly brown I pulled it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, then sliced it into one-inch pieces.
Then I tossed the asparagus and strawberries with the greens, a little salt, and a lot of pepper. Once those were mixed I drizzled some high-quality olive oil and balsamic–the sweet, mellow kind that costs a bit more than your typical grocery-store stuff–and tossed again.
I plated the salad, then scattered some mozzarella pieces and toasted pine nuts on top. I haven’t enjoyed a lunch this much in a long time. Yum!