Dinners Week 15: The week after Christmas...trying to be a little healthy: Stetson Chopped Salad, Salsa Verde Chicken Tostadas, Chinese Chicken Salad,

The week after Christmas is probably not the best time to think about trying new recipes; especially recipes that call for ingredients that are not found in my regular rotation of recipes.  BUT, that is exactly what I did.

A friend of mine gave me Gwyneth Paltrow's book, It's All Good, for Christmas.  This book is
beautiful, inspiring, and the recipes that I made this week were delicious.  I
tried her Hoisin Duck and her Two Pan Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Green Olives.  With NYE and New Year's Day falling during the week, it was feasible to make a few special dinners that wouldn't normally be planned as easy, throw-together week night meals.  If you want some healthy, inspiring, special meals, I would highly recommend purchasing this book.  I will certainly use it for weekend meals and for special occassions, but I'm not sure how often her meals will fall into my weekly rotations at this stage of life.

With that being said, I will share with you the recipes that fall in line with what this blog is all about:




Salsa Verde Chicken Tostadas: (recipe from skinnytaste.com)
Recipe found HERE

NOTES:  easy, delicious, big fan of all of the recipes from Skinnytaste so far!!




Chinese Chicken Salad:(recipe from CovCom Cooks)
4 chicken breasts with ribs and skin
10-12 fresh wonton wrappers cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly shrededed
1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, greens included
2 large avocados, medium dice
2 navel oranges, supremed (reserve zest and juice from 1/2 orange for dressing)
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 bunch cilantro, rough chop

Dressing:
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
Zest and juice from 1/2 orange
1 tsp minced garlic
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan, rub to coat with olive oil, season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Roast in 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.  Cool chicken meat completely, and cut into medium dice.  Reserve.

To make dressing, combine all ingredients except for the vegetable oil and whisk.  Slowly whisk in vegetable oil.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a saute pan.  Fry wonton wrappers until golden brown.  Do not overcrowd pan.  Drain on paper towels, set aside until ready to use.

Toss together on large serving platter the following:  Napa cabbage, red cabbage, shredded carrot, scallions, and chicken.  Layer on top the avocados, orange supremes, friend wonton stripes, and toasted sesame seeds.  Dress salad and serve immediately.

NOTES:  I served the Hoisin Duck over this, and it was SO yummy!  You could cook the chicken really any way you would like...grill, pan saute, etc.  If you don't know what orange supremes are, here is a link to show you.  It's basically just oranges without the peel and the flesh.  This serves a crowd, so invite some friends over and enjoy!!  



Stetson Chopped Salad from Cowboy Ciao Restaurant: (recipe from CovCom Cooks!)
Dressing recipe found in an earlier post, but I will write it again here so that it's all in one place :)
DRESSING:
1/2 cup basil pesto**
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 cup Aioli (see NOTE)
1 cup buttermilk
Fresh lemon to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate.  The longer it sits, the thicker it will become.
**  You can make your own pesto by blending 8 cups packed basil leaves, 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 2-4 garlic cloves, and 1/2 tsp salt in the food processor until smooth.  At the end, stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
NOTE:  For Aioli, combine 1-2 finely minced garlic cloves, 1/3 cup olive oil, and 1/2 cup mayonnaise.  Whisk together and set aside.

For the salad:
 1 lb salmon filets, smoked or grilled
2 cups Israeli couscous, cooked according to package directions
Fresh baby arugula
diced Roma tomatoes (I usually use 4)
Crumbled Asiago Cheese (I sometimes substitute shredded Parmesan)
1 cup toasted Pepitas (pumpkins seeds)
1 cup dried black currants, cherries, or cranberries (I prefer cherries)
4 ears of fresh roasted corn

  Arrange arugula on a large platter.  Arrange each ingredient in lines over the arugula.  After presenting the salad, toss with the dressing.  Do not overdress.  Refrigerate remaining dressing.

NOTES: 
This salad makes a beautiful presentation.  I usually serve this when we have friends over, but this week I made it for just us for New Year's Eve.  It's a relatively easy dinner that makes serving a salad really special.  You can use any protein you like, substitute nuts for the pumpkin seeds, use any dried fruit you like, etc.  Be creative with this one!!!  


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