Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Makeover Monday Meals

Make Monday Tasty and Light

This weekend many areas across the country got a taste of hot summer temperatures to come. With Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer just a week away, many of us are going to transition to healthier meals that don’t take too much time.

To that end, Simply Recipes had a wonderful salad that came together in no time at all.

Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

PREP TIME25 mins

COOK TIME10 mins

TOTAL TIME35 mins

SERVINGS4 servings

Ingredients

  • For the salad
  • 6 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped and packed
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup English or Persian cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (2 medium ears) or frozen and thawed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
  • 12 corn tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
  • For the dressing
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Combine salad ingredients: Combine the lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and scallions in a large serving bowl. Set aside.
  2. Char the corn: Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium or large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the corn. Season corn with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until blackened in spots and tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Season the chicken: Sprinkle the taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt over the surface of the chicken, rubbing it in and coating so the chicken is fully seasoned.
  4. Cook the chicken: In the same skillet used to cook the corn add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until deeply brown along the bottom and the flesh turns opaque about halfway up the side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue cooking, until brown on the second side and fully cooked through another 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Cut the chicken: Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Once it is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Make the salad dressing: Place the lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro, and olive oil into a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water, if needed, to get the blender going. Alternatively, make this dressing by hand. Finely chop the cilantro and place in a medium bowl. Combine all salad dressing ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  7. Finish and serve the salad: Add the corn and chicken into the bowl with the salad ingredients. Crumble the tortilla chips over the top. Add about two-thirds of the dressing and toss to lightly coat. Add more dressing and toss again, if needed. Divide salad into 4 bowls, top with crumbled Cotija cheese, and serve.
  • If you can’t find Cotija cheese, feta cheese is a great substitute. I have people that aren’t fans of either cheese, so I used extra sharp cheddar
  • For vegans and vegetarians substitute extra-firm tofu for the chicken. Cut the tofu into cubes and let sit in a sieve lined with a paper towel or cheesecloth over a bowl for about 30 to 45 minutes to let some of the extra water drain away. This will help ensure that it will get a little char on it like the chicken.
  • If you are not a cilantro fan, use Italian parsley

1 Photo from Simply Recipes Alison Bickel

Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Taking the garden path in 2021 and what’s better than a revenge body

I am still not one for resolutions. To me, the minute folks mention the word, it begins the usual graph chart. Most people are highly motivated in the beginning, then after a few weeks their enthusiasm wanes as winter’s long dark nights take a toll on workout schedules. Finally, most people drop off the chart altogether.

The better idea to me is substitutions instead of resolutions. You can begin making the changes you want to see in yourself by changing your mind set. The focus should be on a healthy body, mind, and spirit. I hear a lot about revenge bodies from people who want to get some sort of cosmic payback on an ex. Since revenge is defined as the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands. To me, that means it steeped in hate.

The word to substitute in place of revenge is empathy. Although usually applied to others, t it’s important that we empathize with ourselves and come from a place of love. The best revenge might be looking good, but , loving, looking and feeling good about yourself, can’t be topped and unlike revenge, can be served cold, hot, or never.

Now many of us north of forty and fifty chicks are making changes in our diets include more vegetables and/or lean proteins. A salad can combine the best of both in a bowl or on a plate topped with homemade dressing that allows you to control the sodium, sugar, and taste.

One of the most raved about salad dressing is from the Olive Garden. Many people love to fill up on their soup and salad. To that end, I discovered a copycat recipe for it some years ago that I have tweaked a bit. However, you can feel free to make it to your taste.

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 small or 2 large garlic cloves

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1/4 cup fresh grated or shredded Parmesan Reggiano (Follow Your Heart Dairy-Free Parmesan, Go Veggie Vegan Parmesan grated, Go Veggie Vegan Soy-free Parmesan grated topping, Violife Parmesan Wedge)

2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (Field Roast Chao Cheese Creamy is the closest in mimicking the funky saltiness of romano.)

3 tablespoons mayonnaise (regular, light, vegan, olive oil)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small food processor or mini-chop, pulse the garlic a few times. Add the vinegar and lemon juice. If using sugar, add it with the Italian seasoning, parmesan, Romano, and mayonnaise. Pulse the mixture a few times. Then with the processor running, pour the olive oil. The dressing will appear thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

  • If you don’t want to use Romano cheese, you can add more parmesan cheese
  • Asiago, Grana Padano, or even Taleggio cheese are great substitutes. Use the kind of cheese you prefer