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It’s been so long since I posted anything on this blog. Sorry!! I’ve been totally tied up, cooking more than ever, but just not being able to post! Anyway, I’m on it now, and what better to resume with than a salad after the past year of consummate excess. Last year I just let myself go. Spectacularly. After all, when you’re pretty much confined to your home and not socialising, who’s going to see you anyway. Also cooking food was my go to for mental wellbeing and to keep myself occupied constructively in order to not go stark raving bonkers. I cooked and ate all the indulgent things, ate a lot and stopped exercising somewhere around August.
Little wonder that the excess seven kilos that got deposited all over my person is stubbornly clinging on and barring me from only about 95 percent of my wardrobe. Especially jeans and slacks – the ones without the elastic bands. So now, I’ve decided to take control again of my weight, groaning while attempting to touch my toes (but at least that’s happening) and eating only salads for dinner. Lets see how long that lasts.
This garden salad mind you, is no diet diet type salad. It’s full of the good stuff and manages to taste amazing and fills you up nicely with all the lettuce, avocados, chicken, bell peppers, olives. It’s substantial too and can feed at least three to four people as a side, and two people with smaller appetites, but since it was my meal, I’m not ashamed to say that I ate the whole thing myself. Better to start on a realistic note and switch to healthier meatier portions rather than drastically cut down and then gorge on a packet of chips or puff corn an hour later. So yeah after eating this I had no desire to snack on anything after.
If you do not have access to fancy stuff like avocados or bell peppers, you can easily add tomatoes and cucumber or any vegetable of your choice. So let’s get salad – ing!
1 chicken breast + a pinch of salt and pepper for seasoning
80 gms mixed salad leaves (torn into large chunks (I used romaine, lolo rosso and green lettuce).
¼ red bell pepper cut into 3/4 inch squares
¼ medium purple onion cut into broad slices
6 green olives and 6 black olives cut into half
½ avocado cut into squares
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp salt (I used pink salt)
⅕ tsp garlic paste (optional)
- Mix all the ingredients under “dressing” in a small bottle and give it a good shake. If you don’t have a bottle, make sure you mix it well so that the oil and the vinegar combine to form a smooth emulsion. Set aside.
- Pat the chicken breast with a clean napkin to remove excess moisture and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Slice the chicken breast into strips or cut them into cubes and sauté them in a teaspoon of oil on medium-high heat for a minute or so in a non-stick pan. Watch it very carefully as chicken breasts tend to dry out lightening quick.
- Heat one teaspoon of oil in a non-stick pan on medium-high and place the chicken breast on top. Keep for a minute till the underside is golden brown, then turn the chicken breast over and let it stay for another minute. Following which, turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan with a lid and let it stay for at least four minutes. Then remove the lid, turn the chicken breast again, check to see if it is fully cooked by poking a sharp knife into the fattest part. If it’s done, remove and let it rest for five minutes before slicing. If it’s still raw, keep it on the gas for another minute or so till done. Remember. the larger the chicken breast, the more the cooking time on low.
- Wash the salad leaves thoroughly (we soak them in salt water for at least 15 minutes then rinse off). In hot summers where the water is warm, wash the leaves with cold water from the fridge, else it will wilt immediately.
- In a large bowl, mix the chicken strips, salad leaves, bell pepper, onions, olives and avocado and just when you’re about to serve, pour in the dressing and toss every thing well. Transfer onto a serving dish and consume immediately.
- Alternately, you can layer the serving dish with the leaves first, then the chicken, then the vegetables and drizzle the dressing on top and serve.
Important notes: Make sure you add the dressing to the salad ONLY at the time of serving. DO NOT add the dressing half an hour or even 15 minutes before as the result will be a sloppy soggy wilted mess that will more likely resemble wet waste for compost rather than a fresh salad.