Tag Archives: salad

Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Strawberries & Feta


Spring has arrived in Belgium and while some days still call for warm and comforting food, others inspire lighter meals. And when that is the case salads are the perfect dinner option. This salad is inspired by  Cooking Light and is filled with juicy seasonal fruit, crisp greens and sweet and tangy chicken breasts.

For me, the secret to building a satisfying salad that can serve as a satisfying entree is a variety of flavors and textures. The chicken is glazed with a simple mixture of preserves before being grilled; if your dinner hour is rushed, you can cook up the chicken ahead of time. Alternatively you can use any leftover chicken you have on hand or even buy a rotisserie chicken to slice up as a topping. I am a fan of sweet and savory combinations  so this salad uses a combination of strawberries and fresh pineapple tossed with onions and peppers. Use whatever fruits and vegetables sound good to you. And because you build the salads individually you can add or omit toppings depending upon your family’s individual preferences.


1/3 cup black current, cherry or seedless raspberry preserves

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

4 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

4 cups mixed salad greens

1 cup thinly sliced orange bell peppers

1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

4 tablespoons sunflower seeds

  • Combine the preserves, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper and the garlic powder in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until combined. Set aside.
  • Preheat a lightly oiled grill to medium-high.
  • Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with the preserve mixture. Place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning every 4 to 5 minutes and brushing with more preserves until cooked through, about 24 to 28 minutes depending upon the thickness of the breasts. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and set aside.
  • Combine the oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place the strawberries and onions in a medium sized bowl and then add the oil and vinegar mixture. Toss gently to coat.
  • Divide the salad greens amongst four plates or shallow bowls.
  • Evenly divide the strawberry mixture and dressing over the top of the greens.
  • Add the peppers and pineapple to the tops of the salad.
  • Slice each chicken breast on the diagonal and place one breast on top of each salad.
  • Sprinkle with the feta cheese and sunflower seeds over the top of the salads and serve immediately.

Serves 4


Mexican Salad

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This super easy side dish is the perfect accompaniment to everything from enchiladas to grilled meats.  The ingredient list is more of a suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule.  Add or subtract other vegetables, or even fruits, as you like.  And because the salad truly takes only minutes to make, it is the perfect side dish for any of my grilled Fast Friday meals.  Enjoy……and let me know what you pair it with.


1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

1- 15 ounce can corn

4 roasted red peppers, diced

1/4 cup minced green onions

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

Juice of 1 lime

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Place all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and toss well to combine.
  • Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes then adjust seasonings and serve.

Serves 4

Warm Potato Salad w/ Bacon, Apples, & Rosemary

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I think potato salad is the perfect side dish.  The mayonnaise version is good for summer picnics and cookouts, but the cooler weather months call for a heartier version.  This is where warm potato salad enters the picture as a sophisticated alternative to traditional baked or mashed potatoes.  This recipe is courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine and includes bacon, apples, and rosemary.  It tastes best when served immediately but you can roast the potatoes ahead of time and keep them at room temperature until ready to use.  The bacon and onion can also be cooked ahead of time and kept warm.  Simply combine all of the components at the last minute and serve.  It is so easy and so good that I promise you won’t be disappointed.


1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced into 1/2 inch moons

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup yellow onion, diced

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons minced rosemary

  • Heat the oven to 400.  Put the  potatoes in a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a rimmed baking sheet and roast them until they are slightly brown and easily pierced with a fork, 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.
  • Add the bacon, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Add the onions to the pan and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the onion is softened, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the vinegar to the onions and mix well then add the cooked potatoes, apple, bacon, parsley and rosemary.
  • Gently fold everything together until well combined.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Old Fashion Potato Salad


No summer picnic or cookout is complete without a potato salad.  There are hundreds of versions out there; some are hot and others are cold.  There are vinegar based ones and mayonnaise versions while others have hard-boiled eggs mixed in.  Potato salad is one of the few dishes where I am a purist; I prefer the old-fashioned mayonnaise version I grew up on.  Potatoes, a touch of onion for flavor, a bit of celery for crunch, and mayonnaise to hold it all together is all that is really needed.  Whenever I make this salad it disappears in minutes.  If I am serving it outside in warm weather I will nest the bowl inside a larger bowl of ice to keep it cool.  Most times this isn’t necessary, however, since it disappears so quickly.


1 pound baby red potatoes

1 small red onion, minced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Salt & Pepper to taste


2 eggs, hard boiled (optional)

  • Thoroughly scrub the potatoes and discard any ones that are blemished or soft.  Cut each potato in half, or quarters if they are larger.
  • Place the potatoes in a large stock pot and cover with cool water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the heat, drain, and cool.
  • Place the potatoes in a large serving bowl.  Add the red onion, celery, and parsley and gently stir.
  • Combine the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl.  Add to the potato mixture and gently fold into the potatoes taking care not to break them.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • If you are using the hard-boiled eggs, slice them and place along the top of the potatoes.  Sprinkle with paprika.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or until thoroughly chilled.  The salad tastes best if it is served the same day it is made.

Serves 8

Arugula & Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Reduced Balsamic


It is spring and for me one of the best parts of spring is fresh strawberries.  Growing up in Maine, strawberries were in season in June.  Picking our own berries at local farms was an annual ritual and it was always a race to see who could fill the most baskets the fastest.  For the next few days strawberries were a part of every meal.  They topped our breakfast cereals, were stuffed into pancakes, pureed into milkshakes, turned into strawberry shortcake and eaten as is.  Leftover strawberries were turned into strawberry jam or frozen whole for a later use.  A favorite after school snack was a bowl of frozen strawberries covered with milk.

Here in Albanian strawberries are in season now.  I still love to eat them as is or on top of flaky shortcakes but as usual I’m always looking for new uses for an old standby.  My latest creation is a salad topped with fresh strawberries.  It is so simple but when you combine the berries with goat cheese and reduced balsamic vinegar and put it on top of a bed of greens, you have a delicious spring salad.  When selecting a balsamic vinegar, buy the best kind you can find.  I love the vinegar from Modena, Italy.  They are tangy yet mellow and when reduced produce a sweet syrup with sharp undertones that make a perfect dressing on their own.


1 cup balsamic vinegar

4 cups arugula

3 cups lettuce, chopped

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

3/4 cup soft goat cheese, cut into cubes

  • Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce allowing the mixture to continue to simmer.  Stirring occasionally, cook until the volume has reduced by one half.  
  • Divide the arugula and lettuce into four individual salad plates or bowls.
  • Divide the strawberries and goat cheese amongst the salad plates.
  • Drizzle the reduced balsamic over the salads and serve immediately.  Alternatively you can serve the dressing on the side and allow diners to add as much or as little dressing as they like.
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