Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blueberries for Dinner!

   With a whole bunch of blueberries from the farmer's market, I decided to incorporate them into a dinner this week.  My other criteria was it must be quick and easy.  Typically I try to mix in at least two super-quick dinners each week.  As much as I love to cook, time-consuming dinners every night is just too much.    So here is my quick-and-easy meal with blueberries:  Blueberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken.  Very simple, yet quite delicious.  I love the strong flavor of blue cheese and think it makes this salad, but if you don't like it, swap in goat's cheese or even feta.

Blueberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken

For the chicken
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (preferably free-range, organic)
olive oil
apple cider vinegar
dried thyme
cayenne pepper

For the salad
5 oz.  organic baby spinach
~2-4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

For the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey (preferably raw)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Step 1: In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together a few T. olive oil,  a few T. apple cider vinegar, a bunch of shakes of thyme, and a few good pinches cayenne pepper.  Don't worry about measuring, just make sure there is enough liquid to immerse the chicken.  Add the chicken and  mix everything around until it's evenly incorporated.  Cover and refrigerate as long as you have.  (30 minutes, or 8 hours!) I did about 3 hrs. If you don't have time to marinate, just season with salt, pepper, and/or whatever poultry seasoning you have.

Step 2:  Oil the grill and grill the chicken over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked, about 5 minutes per side.

Step 3:  Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Step 4:  In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans.  Shake 'em around the pan until you start to smell them, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and roughly chop.

Step 5:  Remove chicken from grill and cut into 2 inch pieces.  I use poultry scissors for this.

Step 6:  In a large bowl, assemble the salad ingredients:  spinach, cheese, blueberries, pecans, and chicken.  Drizzle with the dressing and carefully toss.  Viola!  Dinner is ready.

Yield:  2 very hungry people or 4 moderately hungry people.  Tim and I ate it all.  We were starving.

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