Ok, yes, this really is a summer salad and yes, some of the ingredients that go into this lovely salad like strawberries, are a ridiculous purchase in the dead of winter.
But I say, “Buck the system” “Live on the wild side” and for pete’s sake, “Feed yourself something that reminds you of warm summer days.” I say these things because I get delirious just thinking about a day when the temperature might hit, oh say, 49 degrees! Not to mention the kind of weather that begs you to toss on a swimsuit and head for the lake. Which, consequently, is also another great reason for a salad.
Anyways, I go a bit crazy in my head this time each year dreaming of warmer weather and sunshine. And it always reminds me of the winter picnics my mom used to have with my brother and I when we were little.
She would pick some freezing cold day (I am guessing sometime in the intolerable January-March stretch of winter where it feels it will never, ever end) and would turn the heat up in the house to the mid-80’s. Then we would all go dig out our summer wear. Shorts, tank tops, sunglasses, you name it. In the living room she would spread out our big “picnic” blanket where we would feast on sandwiches, chips and veggies, the whole time pretending we were outside on a beautiful and gloriously HOT day.
As an adult I appreciate her winter picnics more than ever as I realize what a BOLD move it was to turn the thermostat past anything in the low 70’s, which is the rule in our house…according to my husband.
So this summer salad in winter is my own version of the ever-famous, Winter Picnic.
Summer Chicken Salad
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped
4-5 good size strawberries, sliced
½ cup Lemon Pepper marinade (just a store bought variety)
1 bag of pre-washed mixed salad greens
Lemon Pepper seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
Honey-Dijon dressing (or whatever you prefer!)
1. Cut the chicken into bit size pieces and marinate in Lemon Pepper sauce for 30 minutes. (Alternatively, you can be lazy like me and toss a little of the marinade on your frozen chicken breasts while you defrost them at the last minute!)
2. Cook the chicken on a medium high skillet with a little more of the Lemon Pepper marinade and some olive oil until cooked through. Season with Lemon Pepper Seasoning and salt & pepper, to taste.
3. Meanwhile, slice up strawberries and avocados.
4. To put the salad together simply add your greens to the bowl, top with chicken, avocados, and strawberries. Garnish with chopped pecans and add your dressing of choice. And because I love pepper, I always add more to the top of the salad.
Last Bite: This will always be my favorite chicken salad, whether I serve it in summer or dreary winter. I bet you will like it too! And let’s be honest, you can always wait until summer to make this, when the strawberries are, you know, in season. It’s your decision.