Big Kitchen Sink Greek Salad with Chicken

This was another of those happy accidents. No time to plan dinner, no time to shop, quick scan of the available ingredients (including some staples strategically always kept on-hand), and quick creative thinking led to a healthy, fresh, easy, delicious, complete dinner on a busy weeknight. I’m going to give you the recipe for THIS salad specifically, but note that the idea is pretty flexible – have a few solid foundational go-tos in your freezer and pantry, and a little of this plus a little of that can turn into dinner. The veggies and the proteins are modifiable – just use what you have! Or make this one. But get ready – “kitchen sink” is pretty accurate. I put a TON of stuff in this salad. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
* 1 ripe avocado, cubed
* 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
* ~4oz hard salami, sliced into small chunks
* 3-4T pitted kalamata olives, sliced (or ant other kind of pitted olives)
* 7-8 of these simple Roasted Sweet Peppers, sliced into small pieces
* crumbled feta cheese
* 1lb chicken breast, sliced into thin, small pieces
* olive oil
* lemon pepper
* garlic salt
* Greek seasoning
* juice of 1/2 a lemon

WHAT TO DO
Add the lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, salami, olives, roasted peppers, and feta cheese in a large salad bowl, and set aside.

Place the pieces of chicken breast in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle, to taste, with lemon pepper, garlic salt, and Greek seasoning. Toss to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook until cooked through – just a minute or two per side. Remove from heat and add to the salad bowl. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil (about a tablespoon at most) and the lemon juice and toss carefully to combine.

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Panko-Parmesan Chicken Over Simple Salad with Burrata

True story: the only reason I didn’t post our Meatless Monday dinner last night was that I fell asleep early. Like, early-early. That literally never happens and I’m still wondering if maybe I’m suddenly narcoleptic. But anyway, you’ll just have to wait a week for that one. Onwards.

This dinner sounds and presents fancy, but takes no time to pull together. It is simple, quick, beautiful, and undeniably delicious. Just a few ingredients and a little prep and you can plate this light, simple, lovely dinner for your family, even at the end of a busy day. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDPankParmChxwSal5
for the salad
* arugula and baby spinach
* 1 1/2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
* handful of grape tomatoes, halved
* juice of half a lemon
* olive oil
* salt
* lemon pepper
* 1 ball burrata

for the chicken
* 1-1 1/2lb thin-sliced chicken breasts (or regular chicken breasts pounded thin by hand)
* 2 eggs, beaten
* ~1/4C+ Panko breadcrumbs
* ~1/4C+ grated Parmesan cheese
* olive oil
* lemon wedges for serving

WHAT TO DO
Prepare your salad by adding all of the ingredients besides the burrata to a bowl and mixing to combine. Place the burrata in the center of the bowl for serving. Set aside.

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Heat about 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Prepare your beaten eggs in a bowl, and in a shallow dish mix together some Panko with some Parmesan cheese – about equal parts. I completely eyeball this, but I’d guess about 1/4 cup or so of each. Better to underestimate and have to add more than to overestimate and have to waste any Panko and Parmesan.

Coat each chicken breast first in the egg and then in the Panko-Parmesan mixture, then place into the oil to fry lightly, about 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. With thin-cut breasts, really watch your time. They’ll cook quickly and you don’t want the meat to become dry, but you do want the crust to be golden, which is why I keep the stove temp no higher than medium.

When your chicken is done, slice each breast into strips.

Serve a nice helping of salad, breaking the burrata up as you serve, then top with the sliced chicken breast. Squeeze a little lemon over the top and you’re done. Faux fancy!

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Burst Tomato, Fennel, and Burrata Spring Salad

I have no intro for this one. It’s just the perfect spring salad. And also, I’m officially obsessed with working with burrata and so expect a billion burrata-including recipes coming at you! Anyway, this salad just says spring. It’s light and fresh and bright and springy and perfect and here you go.tomfenbu1

WHAT YOU NEED

* 1 pint grape or cherry or other little tomatoes
* olive oil
* 1 large bulb of fennel
* juice of 1 lemon
* sea salt
* 1 ball burrata

WHAT TO DO
Add the tomatoes to a pan over medium heat with about a tablespoon or two of olive oil and cook them until they soften and burst. Remove from heat.

Cut the bottom nubby part off of the fennel and slice the bulb into thin rings. Save a few of the fronds and chop them up for later. Add the sliced fennel to a large bowl and squeeze a whole lemon over the bowl. Sprinkle a healthy pinch of sea salt over that and then add the tomatoes straight out of the pan, oil included, then toss to combine, gently so you don’t squish the tomatoes. Before serving, cut or rip the burrata into small pieces and add it to the salad bowl. Mix carefully, top with those chopped fennel fronds, and serve.

Watch out that your eyes don’t roll all the way back in your head – this is that good. Happy spring!

5 Ingredient Pineapple Salsa

pineappleDo you have a trick to choosing a ripe pineapple? My grandfather was a grocer and passed along some of his tricks of the trade. Picking a pineapple is one of them. First, look for one that’s a little more yellow and light green than dark green on the outside. Pull on a stem from the very center of the leafy top of the fruit. If it comes out easily – i.e., no effort – proceed. If you have to give it a hard tug or it truly resists, put it back and move onto another. Finally, flip the pineapple over and smell the “butt” end of it. If you can smell the sugar inside, that baby is ripe and ready to eat! I happen to really love pineapple – it’s my favorite fruit – and I also love that I think of my Zadie (and his heavy Boston accent on the word sugar — “shug-ah”) every single time I walk by those babies in the store.

We had fish tacos for dinner. I seasoned some fresh tilapia with cumin and smoked paprika and it came out amazing. But the real winner was this incredibly simple, 5-ingredient salsa with fresh pineapple as the centerpiece. It was so light and springy/summery – and offered the perfect amount of crunch and acidity, but also sugary sweetness, to balance out the seasoning and soft, silkiness of the fish. It would also be delicious as a salad on its own (My Tiny Sous Chef put it on her tacos AND on the side to scoop up in big spoonfuls), or with chips, or on top of grilled fish or shrimp… etc. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* a big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
* 3 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal, dark and light green parts (but not whites)
* 1/2 an English seedless cucumber (or a couple of smaller Persian cukes), diced
* 1/4 of a ripe pineapple, cored and diced
* juice of 1/2 a lemon

WHAT TO DO
Prep the cilantro, green onions, cucumber, and pineapple and toss together in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the top and mix again. Taste and add more lemon if you think it needs it — and try not to just eat heaping spoonfuls before serving. Enjoy!

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