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Restaurant Night is my new culinary project! Restaurant Night happens in the kitchen at home, but you make a dinner inspired by a dish featured at a restaurant that you like or would like to go to. Your inspiration comes from your past dining experience, or from the restaurant’s online menu’s description of the dish.

Tonight’s dish is inspired by the Parmesan Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad from Z’Tejas.  It’s pretty much the only thing I ever order when I go to Z’Tejas. The menu describes the salad as “baby spinach, Roma tomatoes, crispy bacon mixed with warm bacon dressing and topped with parmesan pecan-crusted chicken and goat cheese.”

I’m calling my version Almond Chicken Spinach Salad: baby spinach topped with grilled chicken, finely chopped almonds, and almond-crusted feta cheese, with a honey dijon mustard dipping sauce.

With my version, I wanted to go a bit healthier and use ingredients that I already had in the kitchen; all I had to buy was the spinach and chicken.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
1 chicken breast
1/3 – 1/2  pound of baby spinach
4 tbs of feta cheese
handful of almonds
2 tbs of honey
6 tbs of dijon mustard
1/2 tbs of balsamic vinegar

1) Cut chicken breast into strips, approximately 2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.
2) Season chicken with salt and pepper.
3) In a large frying pan, heat several tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for a minute or two.
4) When pan is hot (you should be able to hold your hand a few inches above the pan and feel the heat. If the oil is splattering, you’ve waited too long).
5) Add chicken to pan. Heat on medium.
6) Once chicken is half-white, half-pink, flip each piece over.
7) Heat until white all the way through. Remove from heat, and let cool.
8) Chop a handful of almonds into fine pieces. (If you have food processor, use it!)
9) Make 2 feta cheese balls. Each ball has 2 tbs of feta cheese. Form the cheese into a ball, and sprinkle well with some of the chop almonds.
10)  Place half of spinach onto a plate (other half goes onto other plate:) Top with grilled chicken, and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Place feta cheese ball on the side of the salad.

Dipping sauce:
In a small dish or bowl, mix honey, dijon mustard, and vinegar well. Serve on the side of the salad.

This recipe was quick and easy. I think the Z’Tejas is tastier, but this was much cheaper, healthier…and still delicious. Give it a try!

Food:
Dinner: The above salad and a glass of wine.
Dessert: Maybe chocolate?

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