It has been freakin’ hot here.
Like, 100-degrees+ day after day after day for the past couple of months. We maybe get a breather in the 90’s every now and then, but those days seem few and far between.
It’s a muggy, sweat-inducing wall of solar energy out there, and I’m loving it. I’ll take these sweltering, b.o.-urging summer soggers over bulky sweaters and frost any day. I can take the heat, as long as you can take the smell.
But if there’s one thing to complain about during these crazy hot days, it’s the fact that it’s damn-near impossible to turn on the oven without raising the temperature of my entire house by at least 20-degrees.
Sweat? I don’t mind it. Excruciatingly high a/c bill? I mind it.
So when I get home from work, I’ve had to force my vino or cold beer-influenced mind (do I sound like an alcoholic?) to get a little creative.
Lucky for anyone who depends on my cooking for survival, my sister sent me a recipe a few weeks ago that she’s been insisting – incessantly – that I try. She calls it, “The Best Salad Ever,” though I still think I dig this one just a tad more. But, considering hers takes a bit less work (store-bought dressing and no slicing of mangos, which is a huge pain-in-the-ass by the way), I will highly recommend it after finally caving and making it last night.
Say hi, Kelly.
It didn’t take too much convincing for me to try it since it requires very little work (score!) and the use of avocados (double-score!).
Here’s what you need:
- Chicken (You could use breasts or whatever you have – I used tenderloins since they cook very quickly and are great for salads)
- Seasonings for the chicken (I’m deliberately vague here because you really can use whatever your little heart desires. Upon Kel’s recommendation, I used dried basil and garlic powder)
- Romaine Lettuce
- Golden Raisins (Whatever you do, do not leave these out! I don’t even like raisins as a general rule – they’re all wrinkly and have a weird texture, but these completely complimented this salad so deliciously, it just would not have been as special without them.)
- Avocado (yum, yummy, yum yum yum)
- Bleu Cheese Crumbles
- Red Onion
- Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette (Don’t pass on this, either. I’d never had it, but it’s wonderful. Not as heavy as that cream-laden stuff. I found this next to the bagged lettuce at the grocery store.)
- Mandarin Oranges (I didn’t use these because again, they’re weird and wrinkly, but like the golden raisins, I bet they’d be really good in this)
- Croûtons (Didn’t use because I forgot. And you know what? I didn’t miss them.)
Here’s How to Put it Together:
1. Heat up some olive oil in a sauté or grill pan over medium-high heat.
2. Season your chicken with your choice of seasonings (I used dried basil and garlic powder – plenty of it).
3. Cook your chicken until it’s no longer pink and the juices run clear. I look for the purty grill marks and then slice open a piece to make sure the pink is gone.
4. While the chicken is cooking, dice up some read onion – or leave it in rings if you prefer – and dice up your avocado. I only used half the onion, by the way, and still had plenty leftover. Red onion can be pretty potent. If you’re going to let your diced avocado sit out for awhile, sprinkle some lemon juice on top to keep it from turning brown.
5. Just like the Honey Lime Grilled Chicken Salad, I like to serve this up assembly-style. Throw all of the ingredients into a bowl per your preferred ratio. Everybody’s happy!
Look at that – romaine, avocado, finely diced red onion. bleu cheese, magnificent golden raisins, and grilled chicken – all partyin’ together under a kinky drizzle of bleu cheese vinaigrette. Mmmmmm.
Stay cool out there.