Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Homemade Strawberry Balsamic Dressing served over Blackberry, Goat Cheese and Chicken Salad



Even if the weather won't cooperate, I'm ready to start eating like it is summer.

Ready for fresh, flavorful, seasonal salads enjoyed on the deck with a glass of wine while the kids play in the yard.

Maybe it is just a daydream, but even if it is just in my mind, I'm ready for it!

So, for dinner tonight, I was inspired by one of the best homemade dressings that I have ever made, Strawberry Balsamic.

It was so good that I was literally licking the spoon after cleaning up after dinner.  I was thinking that perhaps olive oil and balsamic vinegar are the newest ingredients in a smoothie, just add spinach, blend and enjoy!

The second source of inspiration was goat cheese.  It is so smooth and creamy, pair it up with a variety of flavors and textures and the salad will at least bring summer to my dinner table.

Whenever I make a salad as my entree, I always want to ensure that there is enough protein to keep me full for a while.  The easiest, obvious choice, is chicken, but can always be beef or seafood.

To get started, I threw frozen chicken tenders in a pan with some oil over medium heat to thaw and cook. Frozen chicken tenders are my easiest go-to, they cook up quickly!  They were seasoned with some lemon pepper while they cooked.


The ingredients of the dressing, 2 cups of strawberries, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp brown sugar and some salt and pepper were tossed into a blender, pureed until smooth.


So easy, almost seemed too easy for the amount of deliciousness that resulted!


One a mix bed of spinach and romaine, the chicken was layer, then the blackberries, goat cheese and sunflower seeds before the sweet, fresh dressing pulled it all together.


The creaminess of the goat cheese coupled with the juicy texture of the berries, the perfect crunch from the sunflower seeds along with the chicken and crisp lettuce made for a salad that will be welcome as a repeat visitor at All Things Libby throughout the summer.  Especially as the seasonal produce evolves...the dressing and salad will evolve as well.

RECIPE

Ingredients

Dressing:
2 cups of strawberries
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
some salt and pepper, to taste

Salad:
Romaine
Spinach
Cooked Chicken Tender - seasoned with lemon pepper
Blackberries
Goat Cheese
Sunflower Seeds

Directions
Blend the first 6 ingredients in blender until smooth. 

Prepare salad by layering components and topping with dressing.