Monday, July 8, 2013

Heart Healthy Chicken, Strawberry Mint Salad with Toasted Almonds

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Yep, it was that good...

With the temperatures and humidity being sky high, the last thing I want to do is stand in the kitchen and cook these days.  In the summer I always have salads abound in the refrigerator, but sometimes you want something different, no? Exactly!  This is how this salad came to be.  


I went into the fridge looking for dinner ideas and what I witnessed was an almost full package of strawberries that needed to be used, like quickly... along with romaine hearts.  So, we improvised.
I wanted this salad to be healthy along with tasty, and to be quite honest with you?  I achieved it and then some. 

We had a couple of unexpected guests so I quickly made more vinaigrette, but they couldn't get enough.  The only thing that stopped me in making more salads, was that being it was almost 10:00 at night and I was out of strawberries and romaine and didn't dare,  want to ask hubby to go the store!  So I served frozen homemade blueberry frozen yogurt for dessert.  I quickly added a few gingersnaps to the frozen yogurt along with whipped cream and
I was so happy, because both carnivore men, husbands ate at least 4 servings worth.  Doesn't that say something... men = salad?  I know!!

That being said, I wanted to let you know that the basic recipe for a vinaigrette is a ratio of 3 oil to 1 vinegar or 3:1  I normally follow those basic ratios, because well, it works.  If you are off with those ratios you usually get that "puckered - what in heaven's name" look with the vinegar being more prominent.  However, we have to take into account that depending on the vinegar used, sometimes we have to alter them.  This is exactly what happened with the vinaigrette for this recipe.  I used the most amazing out of this world Strawberry Vinegar.    I bought this vinegar at a food show, and to be quite honest with you, even though it is less than a year later, I have ordered another few bottles.  These vinegars are absolutely amazing!!


They last a very long time because of the quality.  Here is the link:  Artisan Oil & Vinegars

However, even though it is absolutely delicious... It is really quite mild, so I had to alter the normal ratio in order to produce the flavor I was looking for.  Does that make sense?  Oh good *Didi wiping brow profusely*.


The other thing I added in "raw" form was fresh mint from my garden.  Let me tell you, this is what takes this simple salad over the top.  Mint is so very, very good for you.  There are many health benefits.  

Health Benefits of Mint:
Mint contains healthy nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and manganese. Vitamin C can help reduce levels of damaging free radicals in the body. Vitamin A is an antioxidant and helps prevent cancer. Manganese is important for fat and protein metabolism. Like other leafy greens, mint is a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Mint reduces inflammation and congestion. Chewing whole leaves releases menthol in small quantities for easier breathing. Mint also helps to relieve headaches (Ehow).
.

Ready for this amazingly simple and delicious recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 4 salads

Ingredients:
Salad:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup fresh mint, sliced
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup slivered raw almonds
Salad greens

Marinade:
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt (I used Kosher)
1/2 tsp black pepper


Strawberry Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/3 cup Strawberry Vinegar
1 heaping tbsp fresh mint, diced
Good pinch of salt
Good pinch of black pepper

Directions:
-Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and set aside.


-On a couple of aluminum foil sheets, add half the marinade, top with the chicken breasts and add the other half of the marinade over the top of the chicken breasts.  Wrap and cover.  Either grill or bake till chicken is cooked through.
If you are using the grill, make sure the chicken is cooked through and then remove from foil packet and brown on grill till nicely brown.
If using oven, bake in an a 375F till chicken breasts are cooked through and then open foil packets and let brown nicely on one side, and then flip and do the same on the other side.  About 25 minutes.


-As chicken breasts are cooking, clean and dice your greens and strawberries, set aside.

-Using a small dry skillet, toast your slivered almonds till they are lightly toasted, turn off heat, immediately transfer to a small bowl and set aside!  Don't forget to just snag a few of them for yourself...
*what*

-Place your greens on your plates, top with strawberries & toasted slivered almonds, set aside.  

-Check on the chicken, it should be almost ready.  If nicely browned and internal temperature is at least 165F, remove from grill, oven and let rest for a few minutes.  After a few minutes, slice them.  
Top your salad plates evenly with the chicken slices.

-Place the cap on the mason jar with the dressing ingredients and shake using this song for motivation, I would say about a good 45-50 seconds!!


*Dance, shake, dance, shake, that' it*  Have fun, heaven knows I do...

-You now have a perfect emulsion of your vinaigrette.  How to taste you ask?  So very simple my friends.  Take one simple green dip into your dressing and shake off the excess, and taste...
Should be lip smacking good!  If not adjust seasonings.

Pour over the chicken, strawberry & mint salad. Play the song one more time for your family as you are digging in... *what*
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Excuse me while I go replay the song...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

4 comments :

  1. What a fabulous combo Didi. And you're so right about the mint--flavor booster and healthy and fresh, especially right out of the garden. Must be making this soon! Thanks for all your posts, loveya

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