All in chicken and veg salad

We went to a friend’s tonight for a BBQ and, as we are in the last weeks of the Whole Life Challenge still, I brought a salad that those of us eating that way could eat, no guilt involved. I didn’t go to the store so this was mostly veg that needed to be used and frozen veg…a clean out the fridge affair.

Ingredients (serves 5-8)

  • Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded so that all breasts are evenly thick
  • One Vidalia onion, peeled and cut first into thin rings and then into halves
  • About 10 mini portobello mushrooms, cut thinly lengthwise, stem to top
  • One zucchini, cut into half inch discs and then quartered
  • One package frozen, cubed butternut squash, defrosted
  • Four pre-roasted beets, sliced into half inch rounds and quartered 
  • Ten baby carrots, cut lengthwise and then into thirds
  • Half a bag of Trader Joe’s roasted corn
  • Three large handfuls of baby spinach 
  • A quarter of a cup of pine nuts
  • One large fresh peach 
  • Leftover bacon lard or butter/oil of your choice
  • Dressing: olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, dried Italian herb mix, salt, pepper (to taste)

First things first, brine the boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness, for about 30 minutes. While that brines, get the onion/mushroom base of the salad ready.

On medium/low heat, add some bacon fat to the warm pan. First add the thinly sliced then quartered onions to the pan when the fat is hot. When they become translucent, add the mushrooms. Let them cook, stirring often. Add some salt and pepper and keep stirring. The water will release and you’ll think it’s ruined but keep cooking. That will dry out and the onions and mushrooms will get a nice crust on them. Cook until the mushrooms have shriveled and are browning.

In a separate pan or after the onion/mushroom mixture is done, start the rest of the veg. Salt the zucchini and dry off the butternut squash. Get a pan hot and add the fat of your choice. Then cook those three ingredients until the butternut squash is cooked through and browning. Add the beets and corn. Cook until warmed through.

The onions should be done now. Clean out the pan, get the same pan (on which you can put a tight lid) hot again, and then add some more fat. Dry the chicken well with paper towels. Add salt and pepper. When the pan is warmed and coating the pan, put the chicken breasts in the pan for about a minute or until the chicken is lightly browned on one side. Once the chicken is browned, flip the chicken, turn the heat to medium/low and put a lid on. Do not remove the lid until 10 minutes later (don’t cheat! The chicken cooks in its own juices and needs that lid on). Using an insta temp, check the chicken temp. Remove from heat at 160. Let it rest for 5 min. If your pan isn’t big enough, you may need to do it in two batches.

Put the uncooked baby spinach into a large bowl, add the cooked veggies on top. Slice the rested chicken into bite size pieces and add on top of the spinach veggie mix.

Toast the pine nuts and cut the peach into small chunks. Add to salad. Add dressing and toss. Serve warm or cold – both are delicious!

(I don’t have any pictures but it was really yummy – and a bit of a hit!)

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