Help, It’s September or Make These Two Great Grilled Chicken Salads

Greek Grilled Chicken Salad.  Sweet, indeed, with a little Beaujolais.  Ok, Ok, get Greek wine if you must.

I hate hot weather.  I can’t say it any other way.  I’m  a 56 year-old post-menopausal woman who starts dreading summer and reading the morning temperatures in March every year.   By April, I’m beginning to tear up.  Soon,  the air conditioning is on as low and for as long as I can afford the bill.  I don’t care if I have to put on covers at night.  This is my life, for goodness’ sake.  And I cannot bake in the summer.  My oven stays off for three months (except for Dave’s birthday, when I get up at 5 to bake a NY cheesecake.)  Who made summer? I AM A BAKER.

On the other hand.  I adore summer fruit, salads, grilling, putting up jam (with the AC on ohdarklowly), eating outdoors (which we do every night unless it’s storming).  I lovingly plant, fertilize, water, water, water, water (for 90 days unless it snows first) my tomatoes.  I stand outside and curse the squirrels who chew the ripe ones before I can run out and rescue them. (the tomatoes, not the squirrels)  My herb garden is touched daily, and I now have one permanent bedded garden as well as my portable winter herb garden that makes its way to the front porch to blossom and grow in the sun all summer.  When I travel, the potted herbs are all moved to where the sprinkler system can water them.  Baseball?  Hot dogs?  These are my things, too.   (Actually they’re Daves, but, hey, I’m a CUBS fan.)   Making ice cream?  Of course.  Porch wine with the neighbors.  Natch.  (Strawberry margaritas tomorrow night in honor of the waning light..)  The hot tub on cool summer nights overlooking the city?

Of course, I’m blessed.  But, by God, I can’t stand the heat and that’s why I should and do get out of the kitchen.  I’m a slave to chopping vegetables, spinning up vinaigrette, finding new summer dry roses or whites, and asking Dave what he wants to grill.  Eating after 7pm OUTSIDE in the breeze.  To that end, I sometimes am not as creative as I long to be in summer.  So I decided to fix that.  Witness these two scrumpt salads.  Hard?  No?  Truly original?  As far as I know, they are.  But, in food, as in life, nothing is original under the sun.

My goal was simple:  Make a few 2DIE4 salads using grilled, boneless chicken breasts and not too many other ingredients to create meals that could be put together during the week after making a big batch of the breasts over the weekend.  Did they fill the bill?  You decide.  I’m making them and eating them forever.  Hey, you can also just pull meat from rotisserie chicken from the store.  Or make whole breasts with skin in the oven.  (Brush with olive oil and thoroughly dust with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 F for 45 min.)

Here  are a couple out of the ones I tried:  Greek Grilled Chicken Salad and Chicken Guac Salad

Greek Grilled Chicken  after waiting for its closeup…topped with fresh basil from my garden.

Chicken Guac Salad with a Big Squeeze of Fresh Lime…  Kinda like a margarita to eat.

The recipes:

Greek Grilled Chicken Salad

4 servings

  • 1 English cucumber, chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1/2 large green sweet pepper, same drill
  • 2 large tomatoes, ditto
  • 6-8 oz bulk feta cheese, drained well, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 2 grilled or rotisserie chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced as thinly as you can slice it
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce or greens
  • 2 tablespoons chiffonade basil (fresh basil very thinly sliced or julienne)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional (or to taste)
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • Dressing (In a jar, shake well 3tablespoons olive oil with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and a pinch each of salt and pepper)

Mix cucumber through lettuce in your big bowl, but be kind and just barely toss it together. You don’t want things to mush up. Top with dried oregano, and a dusting of kosher salt and maybe 1/2 t freshly ground pepper. Add the crushed red pepper if desired. Toss gently. Squeeze fresh lemon over all and toss again.  Drizzle dressing over all and toss a bit more. Garnish with fresh basil. (Note: be careful with all salt additions to this salad; the feta and the olives are already salty.)

If you like a composed Greek Chicken Salad instead of a tossed one, here’s what that might look like.  I also added avocado. So perhaps it’s now a Greek-California Chicken Salad?

Food-Salad-Greek Chicken '17

Chicken Guac Salad  3-4 servings

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped roughly, divided
1/2 cup fresh green pepper, chopped in 1/3-1/2″ pieces
1/4 cup red sweet pepper, chopped in 1/3-1/2 ” pieces
1-2 teaspoon(s) jalapeno, very finely minced (to taste)
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 cup tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 ripe avocados, roughly chopped
1 cup cooked rice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 Lime, cut in half,  and the other half cut in half again
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped (or use rotisserie chicken breasts)
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Mix cilantro through tomatoes, reserving 2 tablespoons cilantro.  Mix that reserved 2 tablespoonscilantro into the cooked rice and add to the salad.  Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Squeeze half of the lime over the salad.  Add chopped chicken breasts and spinach and stir gently.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Serve mounded, with a piece of lime on each plate to use at table.

{printable recipe}   –prints both salad recipes

Two-Dog (and cat) Kitchen and Around the Hood and Life

Emily–at home to rest! between semesters.

                            Gabby:  Are you gonna eat that?

                               Skippy grows up a little.

Mom snaps a quick pic while we go to Briarhurst Manor for a Murder Mystery Dinner….

Getting closer…

Blog to come:  Minute Marinara.  Looks good, huh?


In Memoriam… My friend Max…

Salade Tapenade


I’ve made this salad a few times and, each time, I felt like I was inventing something new.  Well, in the food world (or the whole world), there’s seldom anything new.  But one of the most cool things about being a well-seasoned cook (ha ha) is that you begin to have a sense, a feel, a love for whatever’s around and what you can do with it.  It’s not just, for instance, that strawberries taste better in late spring and so that’s when you make strawberry shortcake.  But that’s part of it.  I mean, don’t make shortcake with fedexxed strawberries in January.  The rest of it is being able to look around the at the weather, your loved ones, the refrigerator,  the general mood of life, and figure out something to eat that uses up what you have and makes you (and others) pretty happy.  Maybe avoids a trip to the store.  Keeps you at home.  Perhaps saves you time by making something that doesn’t require cooking from scratch that day.

I often make tapenade, which is generally a mixture of chopped olives and something else.  Spread it on a cracker or toasted baguette.   Of course there’s more than one kind.  I have a cracker-licking good one that involves olives, figs, walnuts, and thyme…  Gee!  But I make a regular old kalamata-anchovy-garlic-parsley one that I use to top grilled pork chops or chicken.  I always have some left.  Sometimes I throw it into or on top of an omelette.  But I adore this salad.  The tapenade, some greens, maybe a few sauteed cherry tomatoes..  That’s it.   Have a little leftover grilled fish you don’t know what to do with?  Throw it in.  Deli chicken?  Shred it and make a meal.  I like it just like it is, though.  A little bread.  A little wine.  A little tapenade salad.  Make some and see.  Even if you bought the tapenade in a plastic bucket at Sam’s for a party.

If I don’t post again for a little while, I’m on a vacation break.   I’ve also just begun another Examiner title, so watch for me under the “Food and Drink” section of Colorado Springs for recipes.    More later.

Salade Tapenade
serves 4

8 cups greens of choice
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 lemon, juiced, divided
3 T olive oil, divided
8T tapenade
1 c cherry tomatoes

Wash and dry salad greens.  Place in a large bowl.  Drizzle a little lemon juice over all and dust with salt and pepper.  Put in frig briefly while you cook the tomatoes and make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together   2T olive oil, 2T lemon juice, and a pinch each of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and add tomatoes.   Salt and pepper lightly.  Stir and saute for about 5 minutes until tomatoes begin to pop.

Remove greens from frig and divide among four salad plates.  Top with 2T tapenade for each salad.  Spoon the hot tomatoes over the greens.   Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.

News from the Two-Dog Kitchen and from Around the ‘Hood

Well, Tucker survived neutering, but I hardly did.  He’s been the weirdest dog and his personality totally changed.  He spent the last week running outside to pee, only to sit down very quickly and look around at the world, as if to say, “What???”   No playing.   Lying around like a dumb bunny.   Jumping up in the middle of my bed.  Crying.  Carrying on.  Finally took him back to the vet today; he’s infected himself (a  little)  and given himself a rash.  So I guess you’d act weird, too, with a rash on your tush and a chewed-up incision that hurt.  I guess.  (Eeeck.  Dogs.)

   The weather?  Funny you should ask.
77 and sunny on Mother’s Day.  Other days:  rain, snow…. freezing….   I have a couple of pots of flowers already, but am not fool enough to plant anything.  I keep spending my time bringing them in and hauling them out.  In Colorado, you should buy plants on Thursday of Memorial Day Weekend.  Then you’ll  have that weekend to plant them, and won’t have to go in and out, in and out.   Here, however are a couple of things:

            Flowering crab, left.  Primrose on front path, above.

Sing a new song; don’t plant anything,