Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Deep South Eats: Sauteed Chicken and Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Have you made a meal recently that really surprised you? I was looking forward to trying the recipe for Sauteed Chicken and Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette from the January/February Cooking Light. In the end, I was blown away with how delicious the salad turned out. The warm chicken against the cool crisp baby spinach was made complete with the salty, sweet flavor of the vinaigrette. Throw in some crunchy apple slices and toss up your feet in satisfaction!

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I just bought approximately 24 total ounces and divided it up after it was sliced)
  • 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 slices of center cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots 
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 apple, cut into slices, I prefer Gala or Granny Smith when pairing with spinach
  • Place chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound out to about 1/2" thickness. This will help to cook the chicken evenly. Sprinkle pounded chicken breasts evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat.
  • Add chicken to pan and saute 6 minutes on each side or until done. (If all of chicken will not fit in the pan at once, feel free to cook in batches) Remove chicken and let stand for 8 minutes. Slice and keep warm.
  • While chicken is resting, reduce heat to medium and add bacon to pan. Cook around 5 minutes or until crisp, turning once. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings, and allow bacon to drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon.
  • Add shallots to drippings in the pan and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 
  • Stir in vinegar, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. 
  • Stir in broth, syrup, and mustard and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  • Assemble the salad: Arrange 1 1/2 cups of baby spinach on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Divide sliced chicken into 4 equal servings and top each plate of spinach with one serving of chicken. Divided apple slices evenly among plates. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of dressing over each salad and top with crumbled bacon.
This serves 4 and with the adjustments I made (sub spinach for arugula, sub center cut bacon for applewood smoked and addition of apples) it is about 262 calories per serving.

Original recipe from Cooking Light.

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