I am back. I had all these reasons that I wasn’t ready to post: I still have my vintage Mac that is temperamental, I don’t have time, and my recipes aren’t perfect. But here’s the deal: perfect is the enemy of good. And for now, I just need to be good.
So much for my next book deal.
So I’m back. I am going to be upfront with you. I am working on recipes every day, but I am not as meticulous as I once was. Aka, I rarely break out the measuring cups and spoons. My daughters love playing with them, and I am generally throwing dinner together. Sometimes, literally throwing ingredients into the bowl. Sometimes while holding a fussy toddler and negotiating with a preschooler. #momlife
I want you to think of my recipes like something I am telling you about over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. And with that, ask me questions if you have them. I will answer them. Let’s make it a conversation!
Summer BLT Chicken Salad: The Base
Before I get into this recipe, let’s talk a little about salads. I have found that the best base for a salad is something dark and leafy with something lighter and crisper. Think:
Spring Mix + Romaine
Arugula + Romaine
Spinach + Romaine
Swiss Chards (stems removed and chopped) + Romaine
Okay, maybe I should just say something dark and leafy + Romaine.
I think that the dark and leafy gives the salad some depth, while the romaine makes it lighter and more palpable and refreshing. And let’s be kind to ourselves: buy the pre-bagged stuff. And better yet, use some of that arugula or spring mix you may have gotten in your CSA!
I probably think too much about salads…..
Once you got the lettuce, check out your fridge for some veggies. Here is what I like to add:
Diced sweet peppers
Halved cherry tomatoes
Diced sweet onion
Diced apple (goes well with the bacon)
Other things that could be good: pears, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, green onions, cilantro, diced celery.
Summer BLT Chicken Salad: the protein
I made this salad because I knew we leftover baked chicken tenderloins, but it was nowhere near enough to feed four adults for lunch. I baked one pound bacon at 375 dg(F) for 14-16 minutes on a foil covered baking sheet. I only used a half pound in the salad. The rest of bacon was used for sandwiches for the girls.
I love baking bacon in the oven because it’s easy and clean up is a breeze (just make sure the whole pan is covered and wrapped around the edges).
I chopped the half pound cooked bacon and threw it in the salad with 4-5 chicken tenderloins. That would be equal to about 2 small to medium chicken breasts. I cut the chicken in bite-sized bites.
I am a huge fan of baking packages of chicken tenderloins in the oven to keep some protein on hand during the week. I bake a package of chicken tenderloins at 375 (dg)F for 18-20 minutes until chicken reaches a temperature of 165 dg(F). I usually cover them with a steak rub or lemon pepper and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Also on a foil covered pan. You’re welcome, foil companies. I am the reason your sales increased in the last 6 months.
Summer BLT Chicken Salad: The Dressing
Because I am trying to mimic a classic BLT sandwich, mayonnaise is a must for the dressing. I love Helmans Light Mayo. Here is the formula:
Mayo + Yellow or Dijon mustard + Apple Cider Vinegar + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Steak Rub OR Lemon Pepper OR Black Pepper
I start with a good scoop of mayo and drizzle of mustard. I stir in a healthy splash of apple cider vinegar and drizzle of olive oil. Then I taste. I want to find a consistency that will drizzle, so then I usually start by adding more vinegar and maybe another drizzle of olive oil. This is where you must be tasting to get it how you want it. I love the brightness of the vinegar, so I would error on the side of more vinegar. I add the pepper once I have the basic taste and consistency. I seldom add more mayo. If it’s too thin, I would start by adding mustard.
Summer BLT Chicken Salad
To serve, heat the chicken and then combine the base and proteins of the salad and drizzle with dressing. Voila!
As you can see from the pic, I used arugula in this salad and I really liked it. This made a great summer lunch and would make a great summer dinner.
Get ready for more BLT inspired recipes. BLTs are my favorite summer food, but I get bored with the sandwich and I don’t really eat much bread. I hope you give this recipe a try and I would love to hear how it goes.