Poached Chicken, Mango, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

Chx Avo Mango Blueberry Salad vertical

Do you despise rubbery, tasteless chicken? I do! The only solution I’ve found that renders succulent, slice-able chicken for salads or Alfredo or whatever (without confiscating the choice parts of a whole roast chicken at the table for “later”) is poaching. Although come to think of it, that first method is “poaching” too… but let’s move on.

When chicken breasts — even the boneless, skinless variety — are submerged and cooked at the gentlest of simmers (I’m talking barely a bubble) over the lowest heat possible, magic happens! Plus, you can “influence” the chicken’s flavor by whatever you throw in to simmer along with it. (I believe the proper term is infuse.)

For this batch I alternated whole carrots and celery stalks, chunks of onion, and a couple of garlic cloves in my Dutch oven, laid the chicken breasts on top (so as not to cook them too quickly on the bottom of the pan — the higher off the heat, the better), added a half-dozen black peppercorns, several sprigs of fresh parsley, a sprinkle of sea salt and a bay leaf topped with enough cold water to cover all of the above. Let the poaching begin!

Granted, it takes a bit of patience, but the tender results are worth your time (and mine) — not to mention more chicken stock for the freezer. Win, win! And hey, how ’bout those frozen blueberries… I feel a salad coming on. (I love visual reminders, don’t you?)

Blueberries and Chx Stock

Poached Chicken, Mango, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

Assorted greens (I used a “bagged mix” but anything with arugula is fine by me)

1 poached, sliced chicken breast (for an excellent tutorial on poaching click here — many thanks to The Kitchn!)

1 cup diced mango

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed

1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen, obviously)

Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

(adapted from Jodee Wieland’s “Delicious Homemade Honey Mustard Vinaigrette recipe here — thanks, Jodee!)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard (Gulden’s or Grey Poupon)

1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (the real deal)

3 drops hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot or Louisiana style hot sauce) (no doubt I used more… let’s just say “to taste”)

1 small clove garlic, minced

Freshly ground black pepper & sea salt (ditto on “to taste”)

Assemble salad greens in the bottom of a large shallow bowl.

Top with artfully arranged slices of poached chicken, mango, avocado, and blueberries drizzled with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Pour on the Maple Mustard Vinaigrette and enjoy!

Poached chicken, avocado, mango, and blueberries with Spicy Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

There’s nothin’ complicated about this salad — just start slicin’ and dicin’ whatever’s in your fridge for your very own flavor fest and throw on a tasty vinaigrette — but, please take the time to properly poach your chicken first.

Enjoying weekend wonders,

~ Kim

The Heart of the Matter (Roasted Artichoke Heart, Red Bell Pepper, & Caper Salad)

Roasted Artichoke Heart Salad

I did something just now that I haven’t done in a long time.  I scrolled through six months’ worth of my posts and read what I wrote.

“Holy cow!  I’m all over the map!” I declared in my pre-dawn stupor.

Then I laughed. :)

Have you read what you’ve written lately?  (You should.)

And while you’re at it, pat yourself on the back.

The heart of the matter is:  You’re expressing yourself to the world!

That’s something to be proud of.  (I am.)

Life is a tasty hodgepodge, just like this salad…

A Tasty Hodgepodge

Roasted Artichoke Heart, Red Bell Pepper, & Caper Salad

(adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe on Food Network)

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1/2 jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained & diced

2 Tbsp. capers, drained

Basil Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Pat artichoke hearts dry; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Toss gently; transfer to a baking sheet.

Roast until browned, 25 to 30 minutes, turning once.  (I added the drained peppers at the 20 minute mark to heat them.)

Meanwhile, make vinaigrette.

Basil Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion

1 Tbsp. dried basil (I’m sure fresh would be stellar)

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar

Dijon mustard, to taste

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine dressing ingredients in a measuring cup.  Whisk until incorporated; set aside.

Remove artichoke hearts and peppers from oven.  Drizzle with Basil Vinaigrette to allow them to soak up the flavor as they cool.

Transfer roasted veggies to a bowl.  Add capers and additional vinaigrette to taste; toss gently.

Serve warm with crusty bread and a glass of Chardonnay.

When Life Tosses You Crumbs, Eat Them!

No matter how “un-related” your posts (or mine) may (or may not) be, the important thing is: you’re expressing your heart!

The world’s a better place for it and I thank you for blessing my life with your presence.

Enjoying random thoughts and recipes,

~ Kimby

Summer Salad

The sun-drenched days of summer are upon us at last and my thoughts turn to simple meals…

Spinach.  Mushrooms.  Grilled chicken.  Olives.  What could be better?

Except, perhaps, a drizzle of Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and bacon.

Summer Salad

Fresh baby spinach leaves

Fresh mushrooms, sliced

Grilled chicken breast, sliced  (great way to use up leftovers!)

Assorted olives

2 slices of bacon, diced, cooked & drained (for garnish)

Cook the bacon; set aside.  Arrange baby spinach leaves on a plate.

Alternate chicken and mushrooms around the circumference.

Mound olives in the middle.

(For a less fancy schmancy version, just toss everything in a bowl — it tastes the same and it’s faster.)

Prepare the vinaigrette.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1/2 Tbsp.  honey, or to taste

1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, or to taste

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Combine vinegar, honey, and mustard in a measuring cup or small bowl.  Whisk in olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle over salad.  Garnish with bacon.

Lots and lots of bacon.

Enjoying the simplicity of summer,

~ Kim

A Sweet and Smoky Salad

Wash one bunch of red butter lettuce leaves and fluff them out on a plate.  (Yes, I’m aware that “fluff them out” isn’t a cooking term.)

Layer with caramelized pears, smoked Provolone cheese, and smoked almonds.

Add a glass of Chardonnay.

And a fork.

Sweet and Smoky Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Red butter lettuce leaves, torn

Caramelized pears (recipe to follow)

Smoked almonds (however many you like)

Smoked Provolone cheese, julienned

Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

Begin by making the caramelized pears.

Caramelized Pears

1 to 2 D’Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and sliced

1-1/2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pears and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Stir to coat.  Reduce heat to medium; cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until pears are coated but retain their shape.  Set pears aside on a plate to cool.

Meanwhile, julienne smoked Provolone cheese, assemble lettuce leaves on a plate, and prepare this vinaigrette dressing.  (Thank you, Chef Rohini!)

Citrus Vinaigrette (from Food Served With Love And Calories)

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed orange juice

2 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. honey

1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together until cohesive; set aside.

Once pears have cooled, layer them over the lettuce with julienned cheese and smoked almonds.  Drizzle vinaigrette over the top and prepare for mouth happiness.

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Enjoying salad days,

~ Kim