Wednesday, April 7, 2010
What's for Dinner Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Mediterranean Salad
When you're hungry you just can't think, and don't think, and must scarf down the first edible thing that you can get your hands on, like a pint of ice cream or half a block of cheddar cheese or two handfuls of chocolate chips, so that you can then think of what to cook for dinner. And then you're not hungry anymore and you feel sick. But everyone else that lives with you is still hungry. So this is why I try to prepare during the weekend: To avoid that scenario. The only other choice is to live alone and then noone complains and then you can eat two handfuls of dark Ghirardelli chocolate chips for dinner and who cares? And that's proof that there's a bright side to every situation! God I love Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips! I'm out and having withdrawals.
I certainly enjoy creating new recipes, but I have to be of a clear mind to get creative and this doesn't usually happen during the week. Recipes are easy to come by in my house, which is practically turning into a recipe stockpile unit. Lots can be found here. Magazines, cookbooks and the internet are my very close friends. I will often clue you in to a great recipe that I found somewhere, give the source so that you can print it or buy it if you want, and also type it out, with any modifications that I have made. Most of the time, I cut down on the butter and the sugar and usually, you can't tell one bit.
Please tell me if you try this and like it or change it up to make it your own or think it is despicable. This is my recipe so the source is my brain. Oooh Scary! Just kidding. I think it's everything a salad should be if it's gonna be a meal. Hope you do too.
What's for Dinner Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Mediteranean Salad
Hardware: For the chicken a grill is ideal because it adds that grilled taste to it, but if you don't have that a large skillet will do. A meat thermometer is a good idea for the meat too, but if you don't have that, don't worry. If you do, the thickest part should be approx 165F when done because it continues to cook for a bit once removed from the heat. Also, a Salad Spinner is the best for getting all of the water out of the lettuce. It's a lifesaver for a crisp salad. I bought mine at World Market years ago.
Ingredients: (3 parts)
Part 1: Grilled Chicken
-4 Boneless/Skinless Split Chicken Breasts (or 2 whole chicken breasts, you know, the ones that are still connected in the center)
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
-1 tablespoon of dried oregano
Part 2: Salad
-Romaine lettuce, Just eyeball the amount. Only you know how much lettuce you will want in your salad. I think two heads of romain (the kind you buy in the three pack) is perfect. Trim off the bottom and Cut lengthwise down the center and then across to make bite sized pieces, then rinse and drain
-Cucumber, quartered lengthwise and then cut up into bite sized pieces
-Cherry Tomatoes, halved
-Purple Onion, Halved and then cut across into thin half moon shaped slices
-Feta Cheese, crumbled
Part 3: Dressing
-3 1/2 Tblsp. White Balsamic Vinegar (I used Bella Famiglia that I found at Target)
-1/2 Tsp dried mint (if you don't have this, try dried basil or even dried oregano, or no herbs if you prefer)
-1/4 tsp of salt
-Juice of one lemon
-Black pepper to taste
-Dash of Red Pepper (Cayenne) if you wish
-1/2 tsp of Honey
-1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
Optional: Serve a side of Whole Wheat or Regular Pita Bread, wrapped in foil, heated in the oven for about 15-20 mins on 350F degrees, and cut into triangles.
Method: Lets throw this thing together!
Preheat your grill or, if using stovetop, bring your pan to medium high heat
Prepare the Salad:
1) In a large Serving Bowl, Layer the Lettuce, Cucmbers, Tomatoes, Onions, Olives and Feta Cheese.
1)Mix together salt, pepper and oregano (I like to mix with a mortar and pestle to break down the oregano but it's not necessary)
2)Drizzle the Chicken Breasts with Olive Oil and lightly coat.
3)Rub the chicken breasts with the seasoning mixture.
4) Cook the Chicken on the grill or stovetop for 15 to20 mins (maybe more, maybe less) depending on the size. Turn every 7 minutes or so to cook evenly. You can tell if the chicken is ready by making a small slice in the thickest section (do not cut all the way through). If the juices run clear, it's ready. Begin checking at 15 mins. Use a meat thermometer if you have one and bring it to 165F.
In the meantime make the Vinagrette:
1) Whisk together the 3 1/2 tblsp White Balsamic Vinegar, 1/2 tsp dried mint (or basil or oregano), 1/4 tsp salt, Juice of one lemon, Black pepper, Dash Cayenne Pepper (optional), 1/2 tsp honey.
2) Emulsify by whisking in the olive oil (it will come together and thicken a bit)
Back to the Chicken:
1) Once cooked, Slice the Chicken Breasts horizontally across or dice into bite sized cubes.
And the Salad:
1) Drizzle the vinagrette over the salad and toss together to coat.
2) On individual plates, serve the salad and top with sliced chicken breast and more feta cheese if desired.
* The side of Pita Bread just brings it all together and really makes it a meal.