Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dress it Yourself

Have you ever gone to the grocery store for salad dressing and felt completely overwhelmed by the plethora of bottles stocking the shelves? Creamy, cheesy, tangy, greasy...less is more!  So I have started making my own salad dressings.  It saves money, it's usually healthier, and you can rest assured knowing you are aware of every ingredient you are dripping over your lettuce.

Most of the time I stick with a simple recipe for balsamic vinaigrette.  All you do is mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar and go!  Sometimes I feel fancy and throw in some chopped garlic or basil, or do a mix of balsamic and red wine vinegar.  You can use a screw top jar to mix your ingredients (put them in, secure the top, and shake), or, you can get one these nifty dressing mixers Mr. PT got as a Christmas gift last year.

You can get these at a kitchen specialty store, like Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma.

I made a salad this past week that called for an intriguing dressing concocted with lemon juice and herbs.  It was really delicious and I liked that it was less oil-based than other dressings I have made.  So if you are a salad person, you will definitely want to try this dish.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

You will need:

1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tbs snipped mint
2 tbs snipped basil
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs honey
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups cut up chicken
2 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (or hummus)
2 tbs crumbled feta cheese

Mix the lemon juice, herbs, oil, honey and pepper together in a jar or dressing mixer.  Prepare lettuce.  Cook chicken as you like, either boiling, broiling, slow cooking, grilling, etc.  Top lettuce with chicken, tomatoes, garbanzo beans (or hummus), and feta cheese.  Drizzle with prepared dressing. Enjoy!

I loved the way the dressing gave the salad a tangy, minty flavor.  And to me, nothing is better than hot chicken on cool salad.  You can also top your salad with black olives if you like.  I will definitely be using citrus and herbs in future dressings.

Combine with a 30-40 minute fast paced (not running) walk through your neighborhood with yourself, your honey or your friend.  Do 3 sets of 50 crunches before bed time.

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