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!


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

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.

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