If this is Rabbit Food, Just Call Me Bugs
My intent when I started this little blog was not to share recipes. In fact, to those of you who know me in real life *cough*mom*cough*, sharing recipes is the last thing you would expect from me. I’m not exactly what one would call a “natural cook”.
However, as I start to get older, I’m becoming more aware of the fact that living off of Tuna Helper and Macaroni and Cheese for the rest of my life may not be the most healthy, viable option. So I’ve made it a personal goal to start cooking more – to make the time to put unprocessed foods into my body, and the strangest thing has started to happen. I’ve actually been enjoying it.
I’ve learned that when it comes to cooking, it doesn’t really matter if you accidentally cook the pasta for 30 minutes or mistake baking soda for cornstarch, as long as you surround yourself with loving people who will smile and eat it anyway.
That said, I’m sharing with you today one of my new-found favorite recipes. It’s perfect for summer (maybe soon I’ll be able to try it with my home-grown lettuce, assuming it survives to maturity), and I’m so glad I found it right here. (I’ve since discovered that the recipe submitter, Kelly, has an amazing food blog called Evil Shenanigans. Check it out!)
I really didn’t deviate from the original recipe, and I’m glad I didn’t. But I’ll show you anyway how I made it.
First, the Dressing:
- 1/4 c. lime juice
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise
- 1/4 c. Dijon mustard
- 1/3 c. honey
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
I tried using real lime juice, but was quickly thwarted when I didn’t have enough. So I supplemented with this:
Just put all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Doesn’t get much easier than that!
Eventually it will become smooth and thin. Taste it. It’s like a citrusy honey mustard. Mmmm! I’ve actually discovered that I love making my own dressing. It’s great being able to adjust the ingredients to your liking. The more you play around, the more you’ll discover about food.
Pop a lid on that sucker and let it sit in the refrigerator for around an hour so all of your ingredients can meld.
Second, the Chicken:
The chicken in this recipe is very good, no doubt. However, I think if I were ever short on time but still were craving this salad, I could make it without the chicken and wouldn’t miss it. There’s enough “stuff” in here that it really doesn’t even need the meat. But in all fairness, I think the hubs would disagree.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 thin-cut breasts. If your breasts aren’t thin, pound them flat so they cook more evenly. Sounds painful, huh?)
- 1/4 c. ponzu sauce (I found this in the Asian food aisle at the commissary on the military installation. I think it’s basically just soy sauce with some citrus fruit in it, so if you can’t find it, try some soy with lime juice.)
- 1/4 c. lime juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp. sugar
To create the marinade, just mix these ingredients (crush and mince the garlic clove) together in a plastic bag.
I added some zest from my limes that I used for the dressing, just to give it even a stronger citrus flavor. (Plus I wanted an excuse to use my microplane – fun kitchen gadgets are an added bonus to learning how to cook.)
So mix all that in a bag, then add your chicken. I let mine marinade in the fridge for about a half hour.
Then it’s time to get your grill going. I’m sure these would be delicious on an outdoor grill, but since the hubs won’t let me near uncontrolled open flame, I decided to use my grill pan. I LOVE my grill pan. Even on a flat top electric stove, it’s a great tool to use for grilling indoors.
Give the grill pan a light coating of olive oil and preheat it over medium-high heat.
Pour yourself a nice, cool glass of Riesling, because it’s about to get hot in here. (Do you see a trend in my cooking?)
Use tongs to lay your marinaded breasts on the grill pan (discard the remaining marinade – it had raw chicken in it).
Try not to move the breasts too much (I know it’s tempting – you want to touch the breasts – but try not to). If you can avoid this (I’m not very good at it), you might see some nice grill marks.
Once cooked (they should no longer be pink inside), set them aside and cover them in foil while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
Third, the Salad:
- 6 c. chopped romaine lettuce (I used the stuff in the bag for convenience, but hopefully soon I will be able to use greens from our garden!)
- 1 whole avocado, diced (I love, love, love avocados. As far as I’m concerned, they’re one of the best things about summer.)
- 1 whole mango, diced (Want to know how the f* to dice a mango? So did I. You can find out here.)
- 1/4 c. finely minced onion (This works with any kind of onion. So far my favorite has actually been red onion.)
- 1 Tbsp finely minced jalapeno (**I did NOT use this!)
- 1/4 c. minced cilantro (**I did NOT use this! I don’t really care for cilantro, even though I’m growing some in the garden.)
- 1/2 c. canned black beans, drained and rinsed (Do NOT skip these. They are excellent.)
Figure out how to dice that damn mango (don’t worry, it’s worth it in the end) and all of your other ingredients.
You will end up with a slew of skins, seeds, and other discardable fruit and vegetable entrails. These would be perfect for my compost bin… if I had one. Soon, my precious. Soon. (*Note: Some people say you shouldn’t use citrus for composting. Others say it’s fine. Do some research before throwing all this stuff in your compost pile. For what it’s worth, I would use it if I had one.)
Now, the original instructions say to mix everything together in one bowl, but I like to serve this up assembly-line style.
That way everyone can have exactly what they want. And I can hoard the avocado.
Just assemble all your ingredients on your plate, then drizzle with the dressing.
I think this might be my new favorite salad.
What’s your favorite summer salad?