Temps are slowly rising in Colorado this week and it’s finally feeling like spring is going to stick around. Winter will always be my favorite season, but there’s always something refreshing about the change to spring. It makes me want to grill every day and eat watermelon and fresh corn on the cob constantly. And I always get a hankering to clean (like, deep purge clean) the house and work in the garden. Spring is just productive. I think my favorite thing about the warm weather though, are the cravings I get for lighter fare. That’s how I was feeling last night.
I got home from work at 6 PM after having left the house at 5:30 AM. I was hungry, tired, and not wanting to invest much effort in a meal, but I also wanted something healthy and satiating after eating nothing all day except for a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and a soggy ready-made turkey sandwich from a hospital cafeteria for lunch. Gross.
Anyways, I remembered that I had scored a small victory by remembering to thaw some chicken the night before so I had two fresh, fat chicken breasts waiting for me in the fridge. I also had a plethora of produce on hand from my Costco run a couple days prior (I seriously went in there to buy two things and came out with enough food to feed a family of four for two weeks. I’m not complaining, I just don’t know how that happens literally every time I go in there. I think there’s an unwritten rule that you can’t leave that store without spending at least $200.)
I proceeded to pull out everything from my fridge that looked tasty and decided to turn it into a salad chock-full of yumminess. It was so good and so fresh and so satiating that I will undoubtedly have to put this on repeat throughout the rest of the spring and into summer.
Blackened Chicken Caprese Summer Salad
Makes 2 generous servings. Ready in 30 minutes.
2 c spinach
2 c spring mix lettuce
1 c grape tomatoes (I used colorful ones), sliced in half if desired
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin stripes
1 Gala apple, cubed
1 ripe avocado, cubed & sprinkled with coarse sea salt and pepper
2 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
2 chicken breasts, raw, sliced into strips
2 T olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (I used this delicious Lavendar Balsamic from the EVOO Marketplace in downtown Denver)
1 t paprika
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4-1/2 t cayenne, depending on your preference for heat
1/4 t black pepper
- Mix all of the spices for your blackened seasoning mix, set aside.
- Slice chicken breasts into strips. Place in a small bowl & toss in 1 T olive oil.
- Sprinkle blackened seasoning into chicken and use your hands to rub the seasoning evening into the chicken.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add in remaining 1 T olive oil, then toss in your chicken.
- Sear all sides of the chicken over medium heat (this will make the blackened seasoning ‘pop’) then reduce heat to low and let it go for 10 ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While your chicken finishes cooking, slice your bell pepper, tomatoes, and mozzarella, and cube your avocado and apple. Sprinkle coarse sea salt and pepper over the avocado.
- When your chicken is done (you can slice a strip in half and check to make sure it’s opaque white all the way through), remove from heat and set aside.
- Put 1 c each of spinach and spring mix onto 2 plates. Arrange half of the fixin’s (produce, cheese, and chicken) atop each bed of lettuce.
- Drizzle each plate with your desired dose of balsamic vinegar. I used roughly 1/2 T for each plate. I buy all of my balsamic vinegar from this adorable shop called EVOO Marketplace, off of Larimer Square in downtown Denver. You can buy literally any flavor of infused Italian balsamic vinegar online (the 4-packs make wonderful gifts too.)
There is nothing glamorous or complicated about this meal, but it’s one of those meals that makes me really happy. It’s fast and easy to prepare, the colors are beautiful, the flavors are magical, and it’s absolutely loaded with good-for-you fats and protein. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
I am not affiliated with or endorsed by any brands mentioned in this post. I simply recommended what I love!