Thursday, June 7, 2012

Strawberry & chicken spinach salad

Raise your hand if your eyes are sometimes bigger than your stomach.

[raises hand]

Next, raise your hand if your eyes are sometimes bigger than your stomach, your husband's stomach, and your refrigerator.

[raises hand again]

And that's exactly what happened this past weekend when Matt and I handpicked strawberries went to Costco.  Strawberries were at the top of our list (hint: always take a list!) and, wouldn't you know, there were free samples of 'em... the sweetest strawberries we've had yet this season!  At that moment, we convinced ourselves that we absolutely could tackle four pounds of berries... right?

Not only have we tackled those berries, we did it in a grand fashion and by this morning they were gone-zo!

Better yet, are we sick of strawberries?  Hells to the no we aren't!  In fact, we already have "Costco strawberries" on our to-do list for this coming weekend.  Plus, you can't beat the price -- $6.49 for four pounds.  That's $1.60 per pound, compared to the grocery store's price of $3 per pound.  Jackpot!

We sliced strawberries and layered them with bananas and yogurt for breakfast parfaits.  We diced strawberries and folded them into pancake batter.  We blended strawberries to make refreshing smoothies.  We halved strawberries and topped them with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  And we ate them whole in one bite, morning noon and night.  We kiiiiiiiiinda love strawberries, ya dig?

But, by far the coolest thing we did with those strawberries was use them to make salad dressing.

Yes, salad dressing!

Blended lickety split in my mini food chopper with some apple cider vinegar, champagne (love me those mini bottles of the stuff!), sugar and a pinch of salt, and I suddenly had homemade salad dressing.  Dressing whose every ingredient I could pronounce and find in my own kitchen.  Three cheers for no mysterious chemicals!

And, three more cheers for a simple and ultra fresh summer salad made in no time at all.  I cooked chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, and sliced 'em up when they were cool enough to handle. 

Then, I began building my masterpiece.  Crisp baby spinach leaves topped with tender chicken, even more strawberries, a few chopped almonds, and drizzled with the salad dressing of the millenium.  It's barely sweet and slightly tart from the vinegar and so smooth it practically melts into the salad components.  No gloopy sit-on-top dressing here, folks.

This was such a light and refreshing, yet totally balanced and delicious dish that I couldn't believe I was eating dinner.  It hit all the right notes and even satisfied my normal post-dinner dessert craving.  Let's be honest, I would've most likely eaten strawberries anyway, right?

One year ago: Baked cinnamon French toast
Two years ago: Peanut butter and jelly bars

Strawberry and Chicken Spinach Salad
(adapted from Annie's Eats)
-serves 2 with some extra dressing

For the dressing:
1 cup strawberries
2 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons champagne
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

For the salad:
Baby spinach leaves
Two 4-ounce chicken breasts, cooked and cut into strips
Fresh sliced strawberries
Almonds, whole or sliced

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients for dressing and blend until completely smooth.  Store in airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use or up to two weeks.

Plate spinach and top with cut chicken.  Drizzle dressing all over salad.  Finish by topping salad with sliced strawberries and almonds.  Serve and enjoy immediately!

1 comment:

  1. The snozberries taste like snozberries!