Friday, May 28, 2010

salad of the week - summahtime grilled chicken berry salad!

ever wish there was a Polyvore for food?

anyway, my phone doesn't have a camera (*gasp* the horror! ... i know, i know) and the camera-camera seems to have a dead battery. so, put on your Imagination Hats, boys and girls—it's time for Lunchtime Make-Believe!

i'm always struggling with what to eat for lunch at work. i try to be frugal and not purchase lunch, especially since having to study nutrition facts and menus for healthy options tends to stress me out anyway. so i pack 4 meals each day that i consume sometime between leaving the house at 8 am and returning about 5. yes, 4. Four. the one that comes after 3. (that crazy lady using a 5-gallon reusable grocery bag as a "lunch box?" yeah that's me. )  anyway. because of its convenience and obvious nutritious perks, lunchtime often turns into salad time, which can honestly get downright boring sometimes. so i've decided to share some of the genius Salad Epiphanies i've had on my little journey, see if i can't help spice up your noontime hour. (sexy exciting times!)

last night, upon my husband's prompting, i included an extra chicken breast in our dinner preparations. that way i knew I could slice up the extra grilled chicken breast when we were finished and include it in my lunch plans for the next day or two. (see, i told you he was a smart one!) and since i was craving something yummy and sweet, full of vitamins, that would be refreshing in all this dang hot weather we've been having lately, this is what i came up with:

[pretend there is a heartbreakingly yummy Food Network-style picture of a carefully arranged salad here.]

The Summahtime Grilled Chicken Berry Salad!

this salad pulls inspiration from a number of my favorites*, but mostly just ended up being what it was based on what resources i had at the time.
here's how you make your own:

baby spinach (or other healthy greens, i just really like spinach)
1/2 grilled chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large, ripe strawberries (a handful of blueberries would also be yummy.)
pre-made balsamic vinaigrette (I use Roundy's. otherwise, plain balsamic vinegar and EVOO will work just fine)
roasted, lightly salted pumpkin seeds

The MashUp:
1. plop a couple handfuls of spinach on the plate. it's spinach, you really can't have too much.
2. slice strawberries and lay them in a pretty pile on top
3. warm chicken slices in microwave for a little while, plop those on top, too.
4. drizzle vinaigrette over top lightly (honestly, i would've preferred plain balsamic & EVOO in this salad, as i tend to really like to crank up the balsamic since it's so yummy with the berries. but i was at work, and this is supposed to be one of those make-at-work, fuss-free recipes, right? a lovely raspberry vinaigrette would've been very good also. i use one Roundy's makes that's pretty tasty.)
5. sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on top. (okay, full disclosure: i didn't have actually have pumpkin seeds with me at work, so for a little extra nutty crunch i added a sprinkling of flax seeds and spent the whole meal wishing i really had some pumpkin seeds. but yay for Omega 3s!)
6. scarf. loudly, if possible. your coworkers are probably wondering where that vinegar smell is coming from, anyway. might as well nosh away and remove all doubt.

hope you enjoy! what's next week's salad, you ask? we fly by the seat of our pants here, folks. your guess is as good as mine!

*Note: this makes a lovely, light side salad for any entree if you halve the portion and omit the grilled chicken. (the chicken, however, makes a great source of protein and makes this salad more of a lunch entree.) goes great with steak, salmon... oh heck, anything! srsly, i eat it all the time, you don't even know.

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