Saturday, April 27

Blackberry Chicken Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

Blackberries were on sale at the store this morning.... I was thinking I hadn't ever made a salad with blackberries before and into my shopping cart they went. LOL. Several hours later.... Oh wow I am so glad I tried them! The tart creamy feta cheese next to the moist chicken and semi-tart juicy berries surrounded by crunchy green veggies... yes very good choice. 

If you know me pretty well... you know salad is a staple in my household and is my normal lunch. Like most kids, I grew up on lunches consisting of sandwiches, chips, fruit but as an adult I find it easier to keep a balanced diet if I leave the processed stuff out of every single lunch (unless I am eating out - which is a rare but fun treat). The kind of salad tends to vary, but to my dismay or benefit sometimes the sizes of the salads are on the very large size. It works for me because I don't have any morning snacks and am starving by lunch time.  My stomach isn't complaining and I drink plenty of water to handle all those fibrous veggies. So its all good. My husband kind of eyes me sometimes (when hes around at lunch time) like 'are you really going to eat all of that'. I just smile back with a protective glance at my large pasta dish full of veggies. So you have been 'officially' warned,  the recipe below is for one salad for one person, as a meal in itself.  But if you don't constantly crave veggies like my husband go ahead and halve it. Its okay. I won't tell anyone. With all the nutrients in this lovely thing, you won't have to worry about veggies for a little while (wink, wink). 

Tart, Sweet, Savory, Crunchy Green, Golden Moist Chicken Salad 
with Blackberry Vinaigrette

Toss together:  
1 & 1/2 cups of romaine lettuce chopped
1/2 small pkg of blackberries, rinsed & kept whole
1/2 cup of reduced - fat crumbled feta cheese
1/2 large cucumber, rinsed, halved & sliced into crescents 
2 cups of fresh broccoli, rinsed/sliced into fork friendly pieces

Whisk together: 
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbs honey
2 smashed blackberries
1/16 tsp of salt - 1 small dash
1/8 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 chicken breast, boneless/skinless, butterflied or flatted for quicker cooking
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp herbes de provence, salt free (or whatever your fav herb is)
1 1/2 cups of water - this is approximate... you want water to cover half way up the chicken 

Making the Salad: 

1. Bring the water to a boil in a deep skillet or large saucepan. Sprinkle the chicken (after butterflied or pounded thinner) with the seasonings. 

2.  Put chicken in the deep skillet and let it boil/simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side. 

3. After poaching the chicken, drain the liquid out and return it to the stove for 2 or 3 minutes on each side to brown and get that golden delicious color. 

*Hint: We aren't using any oil here to save some calories for the yummy dressing

4.  While the salad is cooking, cut/chop all the veggies together and put them in the dish except for 3 individual blackberries. 

5. Smash one of the extra blackberries into the chicken after you flip it while it is getting brown. Let the berry juice stain the meat and get all pretty looking. 

*Unrelated side note: Watching the berries juice cover the chicken made me really think I really need to make a pork or chicken dish that uses blackberries with some wine and then some sort of starch to soak up some of these incredible drippings. 

5. In a cereal bowl whip up the easy delish blackberry vinaigrette. Taste it and adjust accordingly. If you like it sweeter add more honey, if you want it thinner add a bit more olive oil, ect... 

6. Once the meat is done - pull it off the stove and let it sit for a few minutes on the cutting board.  So you don't burn your fingers but also to let some of the juices settle into the meat. 

7. Top your salad with pretty slices of the chicken and gently pour the dressing over the top. 

Super yummy super healthy way to usher in spring... 
By the way I am so making way more vinaigrette next time and adding some toasted walnuts!! Love it when an impromptu idea turns out to be a 'favorite'.  From my kitchen to yours

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