Monday, February 4, 2013

escaping Winter with dinner

Usually we get our fill of salad greens in the spring and summer months but with all the warm and hearty comfort food we've been eating...I've been craving a cold, crisp garden salad. Here's what I threw together..finding decent salad greens in the dead of winter was the only thing I found complex about this meal.
marinated & grilled chicken, goat cheese and sweet & sour dressing
Thankfully, I still have a little goat cheese in the freezer left over from the cheese bounty last year..cuz there's nothing better than a little Italian crumbled goat cheese on a garden salad! I then whipped up a little marinade for the chicken. I do love a good marinade. Mine are always different..with a marinade, it's hard to go wrong. It just depends on what I have in the kitchen and what sounds good to me..as to what goes in it. Today's marinade was:
1 cup olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (love that vinegar!)
1/2 cup blackberry wine
chopped celery and plenty of my dried herbs
(basil, parsley, rosemary, lemon thyme & taragon)
ground pepper
whisk it all together and add the chicken - I let it sit all day before taking the chicken to the grill. You can adjust the measurements and the ingredients to your liking. Variations could be adding soy, hot peppers, liquid smoke, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and so on. The marinade will work it's magic during the day while you're busy doing other things. What's not to love!

That evening after the grill has been turned on, I whip up one our favorite salad dressings. This is also one of those recipes where lots of variation can be used. 

Sweet and Sour Dressing:
1 cup olive oil (or another favorite oil)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice (or vinegar..sweet pickle juice also adds a delicious zest)
1 med. onion
chopped celery (or 1 tsp celery seeds)
1 tsp salt
1 Tblsp mayo (homemade is the best..greek yogurt also works great)
1 Tblsp mustard
1/4 tsp ground pepper
and plenty of my dried herbs
mix in the blender

Sweet & Sour Dressing
Sometimes, even in the frigid months of winter, you need a little taste of summer...this simple and delicious meal took me there!