Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Today’s post isn’t so much a recipe as a suggestion. It’s hot here. Damn hot. 97 degrees hot. And since I live in the beautiful state of North Carolina that means it’s humid too. I don’t go through the moisturizer like I did in my sweet old city of Sacramento CA where 97 degrees wasn’t uncommon. But in Sac, the days are dry and toasty, not humid, and the high temperatures are relieved by the cool Delta breeze once the sun starts to set. Ah, Delta breeze….

If you don’t want to turn on the oven or stove in this hot weather, it might be time to consider a big salad for dinner. You’ll have to turn on the heat at some point to make grilled or sautéed chicken breast, but you can do that in the morning before things warm up too much.

If you’ve been reading along, you already know about my strawberry obsession this time of year. There’s usually a large container of them in the refrigerator, so why not add them to a salad.

Here’s how I made it this time:

  • A mix of green leaf lettuce, spinach and arugula
  • Spiced sautéed chicken breast – Coat your chicken with whatever spices you wish. I used garlic salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, ground coriander and brown sugar for my rub.
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Pecans
  • Cubed muenster cheese
  • Cucumber, quartered lengthwise, deseeded and sliced
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • Carrots, halved and sliced

I made a strawberry dressing, although that might have been overkill. Jim had balsamic dressing instead.

To make the dressing, puree in a blender 2 oz. strawberries, small shallot, 2-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon honey. Season with salt and pepper.

You can imagine all kinds of variations for this salad:

  • sub a different cheese
  • sub walnuts or another type of nut
  • add red onion
  • add broccoli
  • add sauteed mushrooms
  • add hard-boiled egg
  • add avocado
  • add blueberries or other types of fruit

I like the idea of dinner salads. You can plate each one ahead of time, wrap it in plastic and stick it in the frig for later. The first time I made one, I worried that it wouldn’t be enough for dinner. Silly me, our plates were huge. A salad like this is more than enough even for a hearty (read piggy) appetite like mine.

Take a night off from the stove! Prep your salad station instead.

freelance writing copywriting blogging writer blogger raleigh

photo by Sheri Terris

2 thoughts on “Strawberry and Chicken Salad

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