Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#292 Lunchtime: Kale Chicken Caesar Salad - By: V

Last week I went to grab dessert with my roommate, S, and a friend of our's, B, at our neighborhood McCormick & Schmick.  While McCormick's is known for their seafood and steaks, I soon came to find out they're known for their apple pie too.  

After we downed our burgers and fish tacos, we all felt the need to satisfy our sweet tooth with a dessert to share, when my roommate, S, piped in that McCormick's has THE best apple pie.  We even asked the waitress what the best dessert was (we were in the midst of an apple pie vs. creme brulee showdown - S on the side of apple pie and B on the side of creme brulee, and me happily in the 'I'll take any dessert you put in front of me" zone), and she happily chimed in "it's THE best apple pie I've ever had," so we were quickly won over, and boy was I happy with the decision! 

The biggest surprise is that there apple pie is an upside down candied walnut apple pie.  The pie itself is baked twice with a candied walnut crust and then topped with a warm caramel sauce and served with cinammon ice cream.  Talk about a great flavor combination...and, what better than to have this warm apple dessert with a small glass of bourbon.  The balance of the bourbon with the cinammon and apple worked perfectly.  

Now after downing this dessert it's natural for a bit of guilt to set-in, particularly when someone wants to ask "I wonder how many calories we just ate?."  Not exactly what you want to hear after you've thoroughly enjoyed yourself and gone to town on your dessert.  So, I decided to go home and make myself a healthy lunch to take to work the next day.  I decided to make a kale caesar salad with chicken, green olives, and red cabbage.  Here are some pictures of the end product as I munch down on it while I work.

Ingredients (for one lunch serving)
Caesar Dressing - I'm partial to Ken's, but you can buy whatever you prefer OR make your own
Garlic Croutons - 1/3 cup
Red Cabbage - 1/2 cup
Kale - 2 to 3 cups
Green Salad Olives - 1/2 cup
Avocado - 1/2 chopped or a whole chopped
Grilled Chicken Breast - 1 chicken breast

First grill your chicken in the oven.  I kept my chicken's seasoning simple -- some garlic salt and lemon pepper on both sides (about a 1/2 teaspoon of each per side).  The salad itself has so much flavor, it doesn't really matter how much marinade or spice you put on the chicken itself.  It's better to let the other flavors shine in the salad's ingredients on this one.  Let the chicken breast bake on a sheet of aluminum (tin) foil for 15-20 minutes in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven. You don't even need to add oil.  

In the meantime, chop up fresh kale into the container you plan to take to work.  Then add in the red cabbage, green salad olives, and Caesar Dressing to taste.  Close the lid to the container and shake it around a few times. Then open the container and top the avocados.  

I pack the croutons in a sandwich bag and the chicken breast I cut up and place in a separate container, that way I can heat up the chicken and top my salad with the warm chicken and throw in crunchy croutons when I'm ready to eat.  If you dump everything into the container and let it sit overnight you'll just meet with a salad at noon that has soggy croutons and cold chicken.  

This is a rather basic recipe, and honestly, you can add as much or as little of each ingredient as you would like. But, let's try to keep things in moderation, so we can make room for those desserts we all love! :)  

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