Archive for ‘Salad’

June 3, 2011

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad

Summers in the Midwest are absolutely perfect for grilling. Grilled dinners are actually some of my favorite because it’s the closest my husband and I come to ‘couples cooking’. I usually prepare the food (marinade it) and he does the manly ‘grilling’ and feels involved. Recently, we’ve gotten very much into making salads with grilled additions (grilled chicken, grilled fish, etc). This is a semi-traditional Chicken Caesar Salad (except we didn’t use onions since my husband hates them) that is filling and delicious but still healthy. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 roma tomatoes
3 slices country-style bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I omitted this because husband and I aren’t fans of croutons)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6-oz each
1 large head romaine lettuce or 3 hearts of romaine, chopped (we used ‘spring mix’ because it’s what we had on hand)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350-450 degrees) and preheat a grill pan.
In a blender or food processor, pulse the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream until dressing is emulsified.
In a medium bowl toss the tomatoes and bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of the dressing if making croutons.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the dressing over chicken and turn to coat evenly. Marinade 10-20 minutes.
Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill chicken over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the meat is firm to the touch and opaque all the way to the center, 8-12 minutes, turning once or twice. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
During the last 2-3 minutes of grilling, spread the tomatoes and bread cubes in a single layer on the grill pan and cook until the tomatoes start to blister and the bread is toasted, turning occasionally. Remove everything from the grill and let the chicken rest for 3-5 minutes so the juices inside can redistribute. Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.
In a large bowl toss the lettuce with the dressing a cheese. Divide the salad chicken, tomatoes, and croutons evenly among serving plates. Serve immediately.

Source: Handle the Heat

April 20, 2011



It’s cold. It’s rainy. It doesn’t feel like spring at all. Welcome to the Midwest. On weeks like these, I turn up the thermostat to 80, put on shorts, turn up the reggae  and dance around my house while cooking up something summery and pretending it’s sunny and beautiful outside. During one particular occasion, I decided to be ‘Italian’ and make a beautiful Panzanella. This light summery salad is a perfect way to forget a cold rainy day. The thing I love most about it is that it’s different. It’s not your typical ‘lettuce and tomato’ salad (though there’s nothing wrong with typical salads when you’re craving them), and the  fact that it has the toasted bread makes it able to be a meal all in itself. This salad is definitely a keeper in my salad repertoire.



3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (I like to use a combination of purple or yellow or orange, to nicely colorize the dish)
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Source: Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

February 28, 2011

Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad


Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad

I’ll be honest…steak is not one of my strong suits. This could possibly have to do with the fact that I don’t eat red meat. I’m always interested in finding different ways to marinate and  prepare  steak but then when it comes to actually grilling it and taste-testing it,  I’m completely useless. So, this dish is pretty much  as close as my husband and I come to cooking ‘together’ in  our kitchen. I marinate the steak and then he stands over me while I  grill it going  “Flip it! Now! Now!” It’s  pretty amusing. And he of course does the taste testing to determine if it’s a good recipe. That was pretty much the case with this recipe. I prepared  the steak and we jointly grilled it. It was actually husband’s idea to throw it over spinach and toss some cheese on (which  surprised me tremendously). Overall, I’d say this was a success.

Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
2-3 cups Spinach leaves


Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak, turning to coat; seal and marinate at room temperature 8hours or overnight, turning once.
Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.
Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 Tbsp butter.
Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
When turning the pan, put the other 1/2 Tbsp of butter on top of the steak.
Remove steak from pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
Place steak over bed of spinach and cheddar cheese.

Source: Adapted from: Cooking Light
*Disclaimer: Steak was grilled to medium by my husband, Francis,  because I’m completely incompetent when it comes to steak grilling.

December 27, 2010

Winter Pear Salad

Winter Pear Salad

Winter Pear Salad

With all the heavy holiday baking and eating, sometimes you’re just in the mood for a light salad.

When Francis and I went to our friends’ Bree and Brenden’s  home last week for dinner and game night, Francis insisted on making his famous ‘deep dish’ pizza. Although I absolutely adore his pizza and can’t get enough of it, it’s not exactly what one would call ‘healthy’ or ‘light’ by any means. Making this salad as a starter made me feel a little better about eating such a carb-heavy dinner that night and was very refreshing (and a night of guitar-hero helped too!)

It was a breeze to throw together and with the pears and dried cranberries had a great winter flavor.

Winter Pear Salad


For the salad

3-4 cups of of torn spinach
2 pears, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup grape tomatoes

For the dressing

2 Tbsp water
1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper


Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.

Place slices of a couple pears in a large bowl.
Spoon 1 Tbsp dressing over pears. Toss to coat.
Add the remaining dressing, spinach, dried cranbrries or cherries and grape tomatoes. Toss to coat.

Source: The Best of Cooking Light

Photograph Courtesy of Breeana Thiede