Thursday, May 15, 2014

Firecracker Salad

This salad is just as bright as a firecracker. Serve it cold, and you've got a meal that will cool you off during a hot summer evening. Delicious, and healthful, too. If you need something to make this more substantial, serve with a piece of whole grain toast.


1 pound chicken breasts
1/2 cup lemon salad dressing
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce leaves
1 cup chopped sweet pepper (red, yellow, orange or a mix of all three)
1/2 cup sliced into thick matchstick, jicama
12 spears asparagus, blanched and cut on a slant into 1 inch lengths
20 grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 lemon, cut in half, then sliced
1/4 cup lemon salad dressing


To make the chicken: Place the chicken breasts in a non-reactive dish, then pour the 1/2 cup of salad dressing over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for anywhere between 1 hour and 12 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the dish, then grill until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to cool. Slice the chicken into 1/2 inch wide strips, then cut the strips into bite size pieces.

To make the salad: Combine the lettuce with the peppers, jicama, asparagus, tomatoes, and lemon.

To serve: Mix the chicken with the vegetables. Toss with the remaining 1/4 cup of salad dressing to combine. Divide the salads between four plates and serve.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: I just listened to an interview with Michael Pollan today, who is one of my favorite food authors. I thought I'd take the time to reiterate one of the points that he made, just in case you didn't hear the interview. I often talk about the health value of shopping at local farmer's markets and purchasing organic foods. While I earnestly believe that, I also believe that you should purchase the best food you can afford, emphasis on afford. If you can't afford organic or if you can't afford to drive to a farmer's market, do buy the fresh vegetables you can afford at your grocery store ... then cook them at home. They are still more affordable than purchasing fast food at a drive through, and are a lot healthier. I frequently talk about how to substitute your favorites for something I might list that you don't like. For example, for this recipe I added replaced tomatoes with more peppers for the non-tomato eater in my household. Use this same principle to organic foods, if you can't find or afford organic produce, substitute the produce you can afford. Pollan's capstone remark was that poor people who eat meals made from fresh ingredients at home are healthier than rich people who eat expensive junk food. Well said.

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