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Monday, July 3, 2017

A Perfect Salad for the Fourth

When it's 90 degrees out in the shade and turning on the oven seems like cruel and unusual punishment, this is the dinner you need to be making. I made it last week and it'll probably be on rotation until the price of berries starts to go up again.

You cover all your nutritional bases; plentiful fruits and veggies, succulent roasted chicken and a hint of creamy cheese, crunchy nuts and tangy dressing to make sure you hit your fat allotment for the day. (You know I've been tracking my macros when I talk about dinner like this.) It's also crazy flexible: use any kind of greens you like for the base. Substitute raspberries and blackberries if that's what you have on hand. Goat cheese or feta cheese will both compliment the berries and adding nuts on top is a perfect finishing touch.

My one request is that you please, PLEASE make this balsamic dressing to go with it and keep it in your fridge at all times from here on out. Our family got this recipe out of a Southern Living issue back in the 90s and I don't think I've eaten a salad without it since.

Y'all. This vinaigrette is life. (Am I at risk of saying that too much?) It keeps for weeks and elevates every dinner salad. It also makes a great marinade and is great for dipping crusty bread into. Buy yourself a little cruet and keep a good balsamic and a good extra virgin olive oil on hand so you can whip it up whenever you need to. If it's summer time, invest $4 in a basil plant to keep in the windowsill so you can have fresh basil all season long. If it's your $4 for a pint of ice cream and use dried basil. :)

Summer Berry Salad with Chicken and Balsamic Vinaigrette 
Serves 1

Enough spinach (or salad mix) to fill your plate
Chopped baked chicken breast (make your life easy and get a rotisserie chicken from Costco...)
2-3 sliced strawberries
Small handful of blueberries
A sprinkle of goat or feta cheese
Optional: crushed walnuts, pecans or almonds, sliced red onion

Assemble your salad, dress with balsamic vinaigrette and serve alongside crusty artisan bread. 

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chopped basil
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients except olive oil together in a glass jar. Slowly whisk in olive oil until incorporated. Keep in the refrigerator. 

This is the little book of recipes my mother sent me to college with that I referenced in my big meal planning post. Isn't this a fantastic idea? I use these recipes ALL. THE. TIME. 

Happy eating and Happy Fourth of July!

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