Lemony Leftovers

My  freezer usually has three or four small grilled chicken breasts that I've grilled and kept on hand to top pesto pasta (one of John's favorites).

Recently I wanted use up the leftover chicken breasts and since I hadn't been to the market lately, I decided to get creative with what I had on hand. ...Definitely not a salad for a change!

This recipe is a good way to use leftover grilled chicken...even if it's been frozen

I had some fresh dill and a few lemons I needed to use so I built the meal around those flavors. I made this just for John and myself, but the recipe serves four. 

Lemon Dill Chicken and Vegetables
Lemon Dill Cream Sauce:
Make a roux with
3 T Butter
3 T Flour
Whisk in 1 Cup Whole Milk
Whisk until creamy and add
1/2 White Wine
Juice of one Lemon and its Zest
2-3 T chopped fresh Dill
Salt and White Pepper to taste

A simple and versatile lemony dill cream sauce. I had extra and served it over grilled salmon.

A simple and versatile lemony dill cream sauce. I had extra and served it over grilled salmon.

The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated.
Next, roughly chop the grilled chicken breasts.
Roughly chop 1/2 cup each: 
Asparagus Spears
Green Onions
Red Bell Pepper
In a medium skillet heat 1 T Lemon Olive Oil or regular Olive Oil.  Add the vegetables and sauté for a minute or so. Add a tablespoon or so of lemon juice and the chicken and heat through.

Use a combo of whatever veggies you have on hand. Another option to keep it heathy is to mix the veggies with the chicken, omitting the sauce altogether.

Mix the heated cream sauce into the chicken and vegetables and serve over rice.

Garnish with lemon slices and chopped dill...and enJOY!

Lemon olive oil isn't necessary -- but it is delicious, especially when it's from Pasolivo!

Cold Beef Salad

If you’ve read Salad Joy, you know I’m all about the Do-Ahead.  Every element of this Cold Beef Salad is a Do-Ahead.  Great with a cold Thai beer or Thai iced tea on a warm summer evening.

Cold Beef Salad is a perfect Do-Ahead

Cold Beef Salad is a perfect Do-Ahead

Cold Beef Salad
Serves Four

1 – 1 ½ lb. Prime Sirloin, very thinly sliced
1 Cup Soy Sauce
2 t. Sesame Oil
1 English Cucumber, peeled, cut in half and sliced with a vegetable peeler
2- 3 Carrots, peeled, and sliced a vegetable peeler
2 cup fresh Bean Sprouts
½ cup Pickled Ginger, sliced into thin strips
Butter Lettuce Leaves
Sesame Seeds
Sesame Seaweed Snacks

Vegetable Pickling Liquid/Dressing:
1 ½ T sugar
4 T Rice Wine Vinegar
¼ t Sesame Oil

Marinate the beef slices in the soy sauce in a re-sealable plastic bag for at least one hour or up to all day.

Peel the cucumber and carrots and, using a vegetable peeler, slice into long thin ribbons. 

Whisk the pickling ingredients in small bowl, transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag, add the cucumber and carrot ribbons and chill for about an hour. 

Salad Preparation:
Remove the sirloin strips from the marinade and dry thoroughly on paper towels.  Heat the one of the teaspoons of sesame oil in a large skillet and add half the strips in one layer.  Cook on high heat until you get a good caramelization on both sides, about a minute per side.  Repeat with the other teaspoon of oil and remaining beef strips.  Remove the strips and allow them to cool thoroughly.  When cool, slice each strip lengthwise into two or three thinner strips.

Place the bean sprouts in a large bowl and add the pickled vegetables and pickled ginger and toss.  Add the beef strips to the vegetables and toss again.

Place some butter lettuce leaves in large bowls and top with the beef and vegetable mixture.  Drizzle over with some of the reserved pickling liquid.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and top with thin slices of Sesame Seaweed Snacks. 

Cold Beef Salad is great with a cold Thai beer or Thai iced tea on a warm summer evening

Cook’s Notes:
or a heartier salad, add some cooked Pad Thai rice noodles.  Before adding them to the salad, toss with a little of the pickling liquid.

If you’d like to spice it, add one tablespoon of minced fresh Serrano pepper to the pickling liquid.

The sesame seaweed snacks are little mini pieces of nori, used to wrap sushi.  They add a distinctively Asian flavor – and are super healthy!

For added crunch top with ¼ cup chopped unsalted peanuts.


August 3 is National Watermelon Day!

Yes, there is indeed a National Watermelon Day -- and it's today, August 3!

To celebrate, here’s a melon salad perfect for the hot summer days.  Double it, pack the dressing separately and serve it at a picnic or at the beach in a large hollowed out watermelon half.  It’s also fun for a light brunch.  I serve it with my Smoked Salmon Blinis…and a Mimosa, of course!

Summer Melon Melange is perfect for hot summer days

Serves 4-6

4 Cups each, cut into small cubes:

4- 5 Tablespoons each, roughly chopped:
Fresh Mint
Fresh Basil
Fresh Celery Leaves

Cut the melons into bite-sized cubes, roughly chop the mint, basil and celery leaves and combine in a large bowl.

Ingredients for the Melon Melange dressing

1 T Agave Syrup
2 T Watermelon Juice (from the cubed pieces)
2 t. Celery Bitters
2 T Lime Olive Oil
1 T Fresh Lime Juice

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and toss into melon mixture.

I like to top my Summer Melon Melange with crispy pancetta.  If you omit the pancetta, be sure to serve it with plenty of my favorite finishing salt, Maldon.  Serve room temperature or chilled.

Crispy pancetta is a perfect topping for the Melon Melange salad

Cook’s Notes: Bitters are a liquid concentrated extraction of plants, herbs or seeds traditionally used in cocktails.  Celery Bitters add a truly unique flavor here, particularly paired with the watermelon.  

I like the traditional cantaloupe and honeydew with the watermelon but there are many more exotic melons available now in most markets.  Or truly celebrate National Watermelon Day and use only watermelon.

What type of melons are your favorite? Let me know how you like this salad -- perfect for an August afternoon! 

Entertaining over the Holidays? Consider Breakfast!

On the spur of the moment we invited our very good friends Kevin and Candice over for Sunday morning breakfast. 

Kevin getting ready to dig into his breakfast burrito

Kevin getting ready to dig into his breakfast burrito

Since they are unable to join us here for Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted to make breakfast more special that just bacon and eggs.  So I created a Breakfast Burrito Bar. 

Pinto beans with ham from the freezer. Recipe in  Salad Joy

Pinto beans with ham from the freezer. Recipe in Salad Joy

Having everyone make their own burritos took a lot of pressure off having to assemble them all myself and the island looked so festive with all the “fixins” displayed. 

breakfast buffet 2.jpg

I could hear my mother saying, “You have so many nice things, dear, you should use them.”  I put everything including all the toppings in pretty bowls.  OK, I left the Sriracha in the bottle!

sricha in bottle.jpg

Inviting guests for breakfast or brunch is much more casual than dinner, and if you’re on a budget, it’s certainly less expensive.  It’s also a nice alternative when you want to entertain over the holidays. 

Next breakfast for guests I will definitely make Spinach Benedict from Salad Joy.