More salads, less pasta

As I mentioned in my previous posting, Hubby Bryan and I are making a concerted effort to improve our diet, focusing on more lean protein and fresh vegetables and trying to cut out some of the starches and carbohydrates. It’s not easy, considering potatoes and pastas are something I consider necessary to my culinary well-being.

While dining out recently, I ordered a salad that featured an unusual combination: greens, chicken, strawberries and pecans. It was quite tasty, and I resolved to make something similar at home. Then, a few days later, this recipe from Pillsbury popped into my e-mail box. It features another unusual combination: cherries and gorgonzola cheese. The Pillsbury home economists didn’t provide a recipe for the champagne dressing, however, so I looked up one on the Internet; but I think any vinaigrette-style dressing would do.

Chicken Salad with Cherries and Gorgonzola

Arrange 6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves on a large platter. Top with 2 cups chopped, sinned deli rotisserie chicken; 1 cup halved pitted Bing cherries, ½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese and ¼ cup chopped green onions.

In a blender container, combine 1 small garlic clove, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper, ½ cup champagne vinegar; blend, slowly adding 1½ cups canola or olive oil, until thick and smooth. (For best results, make dressing ahead and refrigerate for 2 hours to blend flavors.)

Pour dressing over salad. Makes 4 servings.

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