We all know that salad – without too much dressing, of course – is a healthy lunch or dinner choice.
But here’s the trouble. I don’t really like salad. I don’t like making it. I don’t like eating it. For me, salad is just not very appealing. And for dinner? Frankly, I find it a bit sad.
But it is a good Lo-Co option. And it’s easy to get it quickly on the table. So at 6pm when – again – I have not planned a Lo-Co dinner, I can make a salad for myself and serve my husband and son something totally different, with very little extra work.
So the salad for dinner IDEA is growing on me. But the reality of it was just BORING until last week. So, a big ‘thank you’ to the NYT’s Melissa Clark and my sister Melissa (!) because I now have 2, count them 2, salad options that I actually enjoyed for dinner last week.
The ‘Emergency Chicken’ dinner salad.Take whatever salad fixings you have in your refrigerator (for me, it’s either red leaf lettuce or romaine, a half-avocado, pre-shredded carrot, and a bunch of grape tomatoes and some walnuts or pine nuts toasted in toaster oven) and then heat up a piece or two of what my sister Melissa calls ‘Emergency Chicken’ (aka Trader Joe’s Frozen Breaded Chicken Tenderloins) in the microwave. I slip off the breading because I don’t really like it much, then slice the chicken and place it on top of the salad with a bit of dressing. Something about the warmth of the chicken makes this otherwise-plain salad work for me. And if this sounds like a lot of ingredients to just ‘have on hand in the fridge’ you might want to reconsider: they are all easily found at TJ’s, and very easy to keep stocked. (Bonus: the avocado is surprisingly easy to keep on hand and Melissa taught me how to ‘cube’ it!)
- The WOW, I Remembered-To-Plan Salad-for-Dinner Option. Melissa Clark’s Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Watercress, Walnuts and Gruyere was just fantastic. I found this recipe in the 1/5/11 New York Times, and it was both easy and filling and didn’t leave me feeling deprived for dinner. I had never roasted cauliflower before (surprisingly easy and delicious), had never used watercress in a salad, and don’t like gruyere so I substituted crumbled bleu cheese.
I liked this recipe so much that I made it TWICE last week! And the second time, I roasted 2 cauliflower heads so I could use the leftovers as an easy-to-toss-in vegetable in other lunch/dinners last week.
Thank you Melissa and Melissa!