Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Diet-KEEPING: Low-cal Chicken, Bleu Cheese & Almond Salad!

I've found that one of the easiest ways to make a quick healthy, and may I add... quite yummy, lunch is to take a frozen chicken breast, thaw it out, cook it up and throw it on a salad with some chopped veggies.

Today, I threw one together for my lunch, as I spent the entire morning spring-cleaning half of the kitchen, was terribly exhausted, and needed some extra Popeye-powered strength to make it through the second half of my cleaning frenzy.

When I make my salads, I often choose what to put on it based on two things... what I'm feeling like, and what I may actually have in my refrigerator :)

So, based on immediate desire and availability, here is the yummy concoction that I came up with today.

Low-cal Chicken, Bleu Cheese & Almond Salad (about 415 calories)

2-3c Organic Lettuce Mix (15-20 calories)
1/2 medium sized cucumber (10 calories)
1/3 orange or red bell pepper (10 calories)
1oz bleu cheese crumbles (100 calories)
1/8c toasted almonds - see preparation below (85 calories)
3T Balsamic dressing - see recipe below (120 calories)
1 3oz chicken breast thawed (75 calories)

Balsamic Dressing:
To make a simple lower-cal balsamic dressing, mix the following ingredients in the proper proportions (I usually salt and pepper to taste):

1/4 Olive Oil
1/4 Water
1/2 Balsamic Vinegar

Salad Preparation:

  • Chop lettuce and put in a mixing bowl.
  • Slice and then chop cucumber and bell pepper, then add to bowl.
  • Add the bleu cheese crumbles.
  • Chop almonds and toast in a frying pan with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and garlic granules.  When toasted, throw into the salad bowl.
  • Toss salad and place on a dinner plate.

Prep Chicken:
  • Slice chicken breast against the grain.  Place slices in searing hot pan (with a little olive oil coating)
  • Sprinkle the top of the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic granules.
  • Once chicken slices are seared on one side, flip them over and re-season.  
It only takes a few minutes to cook the chicken this way, so be careful not to overcook it.  By cooking the chicken on a searing hot pan, it locks in the juices and keeps the chicken from becoming too dry.

Final Prep:

  • Add cooked chicken to the top of your salad.
  • Finish with about 3 tablespoons of balsamic dressing.
  • Salt and pepper to taste!

I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch, especially when it was paired with a nice cool glass of seltzer water and fresh lime :)  Gave me just the energy I needed to make it through the second half of my kitchen cleaning frenzy!


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