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Monday, July 25, 2016

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quinoa Salad with Pineapple Ginger Vinaigrette


This is the summer of salads! I've been making lots of main dish salads for lunch and dinners this summer because of the heat and because come summer time, I often find myself dreaming up new, interesting, and different salad concoctions that I love to try out. This one came from a craving for grilled pineapple. Grilling pineapple just makes a sweet pineapple that much sweeter, and with the addition of a little smokiness from the grill it adds a great sweet and smokey dimension to a grilled chicken salad. The chicken gets flavor from a delicious pineapple juice marinade and the pineapple ginger vinaigrette is different, delicious, and addictive. I found myself making it again and again and putting it on my plain old salads all week long to perk them up. Don't like chicken breast? you can easily make this with boneless chicken thighs or london broil instead- both would taste great with the marinade and go really well with the other components as well. Some cilantro and scallions for freshness and cashews for crunch and you've got yourself the perfect summer salad. Enjoy!


For the chicken and pineapple:
4 chicken breasts
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp fresh chopped ginger
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
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1/2 a fresh pineapple, cut into slices


Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a ziplock bag and add the chicken breasts. Let the chicken marinate for 3-4 hours. Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side until done. Grill the pineapple along side the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side.

For the salad:
1 1/2 cups quinoa (any color or a mix of colors is fine)
2 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup salted and roasted cashews

Rinse the quinoa well under running water. Place in a pot with some salt and pepper and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Keep pot covered for 5 minutes then uncover and fluff the quinoa as you would with rice. Let the quinoa cool slightly.

Cut the grilled pineapple, and chicken and mix into quinoa. Add the cilantro and scallions and drizzle the vinaigrette over it all. Top with cashews and serve.


For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup fresh diced pineapple
2 tsp fresh coarsely chopped ginger
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons canola or light olive oil
salt and pepper

Place all ingredients except the oil into a food processor. Once the ingredients are mostly smooth start drizzling in the oil until it emulsifies together. Taste to make sure there is enough salt and pepper and serve over the salad.





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Southwestern Cobb Salad With Spicy Avocado Dressing

I get great satisfaction from re-purposing leftovers. Often when planning dinner I already know what I will be making for lunch and dinner the next day with the leftovers. When I was grilling the  chili cilantro lime chicken I made last week I was already dreaming up this yummy and gorgeous salad that would be dinner the next night. I went low carb with this salad (minus the fresh corn) but you could also add black beans to this salad which would be delicious. The best part of course is the dressing- a smooth, creamy, spicy and fresh avocado dressing that gets whipped up in the food processor in no time and is the perfect compliment to this salad.  Enjoy!


1 batch cilantro lime chicken or any other grilled chicken breast
1 large head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ears grilled corn, kernels removed or 1 can of  corn
1 small red onion, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 can black beans (optional)

Arrange all the ingredients into a big bowl, pour the dressing over, toss and serve.

For the dressing:
1 avocado, pitted and skin removed
1/4 to a whole jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed (depending on how spicy you want it, or omit completely)
3 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup mayo 
zest and juice of one lime
juice of one lemon
1 loosely packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. 




Thursday, July 14, 2016

Grilled Chili Cilantro Lime Chicken

I'm backkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! 
But don't get too excited- between running after a toddler and running a catering business, finding time to recipe test and post on the blog has been scarce. For the next few weeks, however, I am on vacation (not from the toddler, just the catering) and I will be trying my hardest to fit this blog back in my life. First up is this yummy and juicy grilled chicken. My husband and I joined the no/low carb craze a few months ago (you know, the trend I use to make fun of and NEVER thought I would join) and so there has been lots of protein and veggies in our lives. Finding new and yummy ways to make chicken (our main protein) is often daunting but with the grill up and running I am loving experimenting with different chicken marinades. I know cilantro is controversial, I used to be on the "it tastes like shampoo" side too, but now I just love it- if you hate it you can just use all parsley instead. Lots of great lime flavor, some heat from the chili flakes and a little sweetness from some honey. All leftovers will be used for my southwestern cobb salad tomorrow- can't wait!



For the chicken:

5 boneless chicken breast (skin on or off)
3 cloves garlic
zest of one lime
juice of two limes
1/4 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/2-1 tsp red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 Tablespoon honey (or maple or agave)
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients except for the chicken into a food processor and pulse a few times until everything comes together and is chopped well.  Place the chicken and marinade into a ziplock bag making sure the marinade is coating the chicken well. Let the chicken marinate 3-4 hours. Grill over medium high heat for 5-6 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the breast).