I am of the opinion that food is one of the best things in life. I love to eat, and now that I’m getting older I actually have to pay attention to what I eat or I will gain weight. Gone are the days I could eat anything and not feel it later. They warned me that my metabolism would catch up with me, and now it’s definitely starting to. But eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you’re eating anymore. I’d say this is relatively healthy, and can easily be adapted to improve it.
For my first recipe to share, I figured it was best to do one that is in my Top 5 All Time Favorite Meals. I used to make this salad as a kid with my dad. It was one of the only times I would willingly eat leafy greens, so we made it often because he knew I’d eat it. I was a very picky child.
This salad has a lot of great flavors, and Jake and I both agree that the dressing is really what makes this particular salad so great. Don’t try to substitute it!
The only thing different from how I used to have it is that I use a baby kale and spinach blend for the salad instead of romaine or just spinach alone.
What you need:
For the chicken:
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Mustard
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use tenderloins because they’re quicker to dice)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cup cooking oil (I use coconut oil, but you can use Olive or Canola)
- 2 cups all-purpose flower
- Salad of your choice; I use baby kale and spinach
- 1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced thin
- ½ red onion, sliced very thin
- 5 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
The first thing I do in preparation is turn the stove on low-medium (a 4 on the dial) heat to start to warm up. I don’t put the oil in yet, just get the pan warm. It will take the oil much longer to heat up otherwise.
Next, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
In a medium sized ziplock bag, add the spices and the buttermilk. Pour the cut-up chicken into the bag and seal it to marinate. Shake the bag and make sure everything is thoroughly mixed together. Set aside.
Cut and core the pepper. Slice it into thin strips, as big as you’d want in your salad. I slice them in half once I’ve cut them all. Place them in a large salad bowl and set aside.
Slice up the onion very thin and add to the salad bowl. (I sometimes don’t use the onion because I don’t like them, but Jake loves them and says it adds a lot of flavor) Add the salad to the pepper and onion and toss. Set aside.
Pour the honey, Dijon mustard, and rice wine vinegar into a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Turn the stove up to medium-high heat (a 7 on the dial) and add the oil. It should be enough to have a thin layer across the pan.
Pour 2 cups of flour into a small bowl. Pour the chicken and mixture into another bowl. Using tongs or your hands, move the chicken into the flour and coat it thoroughly. (*should you want a healthier option, skip the breading and grill the chicken!)
Move the chicken in the pan, and be careful not to splatter yourself with the oil. Cook the chicken until it’s 160 degrees. The outside will be a crispy brown color. Be sure to flip the chicken often and cook it evenly. Do this until all of the chicken is done.
Some pieces will cook faster than others. Place the finished pieces in a separate bowl. Don’t add them to the salad yet or the heat will wilt the leaves.
Once the chicken has cooled, either mix it into the salad bowl, or add it directly to your bowl. I prefer to keep them separate so that I can heat up the left over chicken and have it the next day for lunch.
Add a generous amount of dressing, and enjoy!!
If you try this recipe, be sure to tell me what you think of it in the comments below!