Saturday, August 27, 2016

Workout Night Dinners: Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad





Weeknight dinners are a popular subject.  You come home late, your tired, and you still have to cook?  You want dinners that are on the table fast, everyone likes, and will satisfy your hunger. 

MGG and I have found a sub-set of that "weeknight dinner"  that we call WORKOUT NIGHTS. We have a workout regimen 2-3 nights a week in which we rush home from work and get ready for a vigorous aerobic workout.  Then comes dinner...

I'll tell you, after a workout I'm not all that hungry for at least an hour, plus I'm tired as a dog chasing butterflies all afternoon!  So dinner on those days?  Well lets just say they need to be really light, but recharge us and our sore muscles.  SALAD TO THE RESCUE.   Add a little protein to the mix and we are refueled in a healthy way.  Ready to pass out to face another day! 

In comes my "to make" list of goodies from Pinterest.  I found that Karina from Café Delites really knows how to do protein and salads.  This week I decided to make my version of her Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad (barely tweaking it)  HOLY COW!  I think that this marinade/dressing has to be the best one EVER.  I love it so much that I'm making this my go to marinade for everything grilled, baked, or pan fried.  It's that good.



To make this salad work for us on Workout Nights, I did some of the prep work while I was waiting for MGG to get home.  I made the marinade and prepped the veggies with the exception of the avocado.  As the chicken is grilled I used the grill pre-heating time to marinate the chicken for 15 minutes while it came to room temperature.  This worked out perfect and was so flavorful that it really didn't need much more time. 

About an hour after our workout MGG lit the grill outside and I threw the chicken in the marinade.  15 minutes later he threw the chicken on the barbie and I decorated the salad platter and sliced the avocado.  Chicken done, rested, and sliced and dinner was served!

The best part of all that?  The flavors of this salad were outstanding.  Seriously outstanding.  You need to make this now.  It is a great 30 minute meal, the perfect salad, and weeknights never tasted so good!




WORKOUT NIGHT DINNER ACCOMPLISHED!




Kitchen Note:  Lemon juice (acid) will cook your protein as it sits in the marinade.  For chicken it should not be left on more than a couple of hours or it will break down the protein too much and affect the texture of the chicken.  Beef and pork can be left in the marinade up to about 4 hours as they take longer to break down.






Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad

adapted slightly from Café Delites

serves 4

Marinade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
cracked pepper, to taste

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, slice in half to make thin cutlets
4 cups lettuce leaves, washed and dried ( I used Lafayette mix)
1 large English cucumber, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, sliced
1 avocado, sliced


Whisk together all of the marinade/dressing ingredients in a large jug. Pour out half of the marinade into a re-sealable storage bag.  Refrigerate the remaining marinade to use as the dressing later.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat (or you can use and indoor grill pan).  Add the chicken to the marinade in the bag and allow to sit while coming to room temperature on the counter 15 minutes (or up to two hours in the refrigerator).

Prepare all of the salad ingredients and add to a large bowl or serving platter.  

Grill chicken on both sides until browned and completely cooked through. thin sliced chicken about 4-5 minutes on the first side and about 3-4 on the other side or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. 

Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes; slice and arrange in the salad. Drizzle the entire salad with the remaining dressing. Serve with lemon wedges if you like.













Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grilled Chili Lime Fish or Chicken Tacos





Tacos, Tacos, Tacos!

It doesn't have to be "Tuesday" to eat tacos.  In fact it can be any old day of the week and I'll eat a tacos without hesitation.  But, when summer comes I gravitate outside and grill my tacos.  Yum!  Although these Slow Cooker Beef Tacos may be an exception.


EASY GRILLED CHILI LIME FISH OR CHICKEN TACOS ARE ON THE MENU
Grilled Chili Lime Fish or Chicken Tacos are versatile and simple, plus they satisfy that Mexican food graving we all get from time to time.  Why two types of protein?  Well, since MGG loves fish and me, no so much, I bought a beautiful piece of Tilapia for him, and a got a nice chicken breast for me.  Who says you can't make different types of tacos in one sitting?  Not I.  This way we use all the same spices and ingredients and just adjust the protein to our liking.  Bingo, we're both winners with this dish!

Fish Tacos

The fish comes out flaky and tender with the perfect amount of spice.  The chicken turns out moist and flavorful as well, with hints of chili powder and citrusy lime bursting in your mouth on the first bite.  Top your tacos with a little crunch from the cabbage, and some buttery soft avocado and you'll be having a party before you know it. (above MGG added diced tomatoes and a radish to his for extra flavor)  They taste that good!  Oh, and don't forget to squeeze some lime on there for good measure.  It really takes your dish over the top.


Chicken Taco


What's better than fresh, healthy clean food to eat that's simple to prepare.  Remember, tacos are great for a any weeknight, weekend, or party.  There the perfect finger food that everyone enjoys!






Grilled Chili Lime Fish or Chicken Tacos

1 Tilapia filet
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 2 thin cutlets
2 Tbls Fiesta Lime salt free seasoning blend (Mrs. Dash)
6 corn tortillas
1 large hass avocado, sliced
1/4 c Monterey jack or queso fresco cheese
2-3 Tbls cilantro, chopped
1/4 small red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
Lime wedges for serving

Sprinkle both chicken and fish with the seasoning blend on both sides.  Pressing down to adhere.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.  Brush grill grates liberally with oil.  If you are using both chicken and fish start grilling the chicken first.  Grill about 4-5 minutes on the first side.  Flip over and cook about 3-4.  Once you flip the chicken ad the fish to the grill and cook about 3 minutes per side or until opaque and flaky.   (Grilling time may need to be adjusted based upon the grill temperature or the thickness of your meat.) 

Remove fish and chicken and place on a platter, covered with foil to keep warm.  Add the corn tortillas to the grill and cook about 30-60 seconds per side until they have a slight char on them.  Remove to the platter. 

Cut chicken and fish into small strips or bite sized pieces.  Serve in the warm tortillas and top with red cabbage, avocado, cilantro, and cheese.  Other toppings such as tomatoes or radishes work well with this dish.   










Sunday, August 21, 2016

Jicama Radish Slaw




I keep hearing that summer is over.

I'm not sure where this person lives...certainly not Southern California because it's still 100 degrees here everyday.  In my book that is summer still going strong!

I wonder why people want to rush into the next season?  All the stores have fall clothes and Halloween items already and I'm still in my bathing suit.  Even people pinning to Pinterest have joined the fall band wagon.  All the pins are of PUMPKIN already and it's not even Labor Day!



Well I'm going to slow things down a bit and bring you a summer dish that would be perfect to serve at your upcoming Labor Day bash.  Jicama Radish Slaw is a wonderful side dish that it easy to take along to a party, or quick enough to throw together for a backyard cookout.

The prep is easy, and will serve a medium crowd of about 8, but you can double this recipe if you plan on having a lot of people to feed.  Oh, and the flavors...a little pop of Asian flair will hit you when you take that first bite into a slaw that's crunchy from the jicama and carrots, and brings a little heat and earthiness from the radishes.  This light and fresh side dish will be the perfect compliment to hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, or even kabobs.  It really goes well with anything.



Summer is still calling, so enjoy this salad and savor the last days.



You may also like:
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad






Jicama Radish Slaw

serves 8

1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 of a medium jicama, peeled and cut into thin matchstick size pieces (about 3 cups)
3/4 cup radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup julienne or packaged coarsely shredded fresh carrots

2 green onions, thinly sliced
Lime wedges (optional)

In a large bowl whisk together cilantro, vinegar, oil, salt, and crushed red pepper. Add jicama, radishes, carrots, and green onions. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 2 hours. If desired, garnish with lime wedges.    




source:  Diabetic Living Guilt Free Potluck Favorites, slightly adapted








    

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