My youngster has a fairly adventurous set of taste buds. Not surprisingly, I encourage her to explore a lot of different cuisine and invite her to help in the kitchen often. And she often sits at the dinner table and requests we have that particular dinner again because it's her favorite. What I've learned from this is that she has a lot of favorites! That said, there are some items she lights up about again and again. Sometimes, just to see her smile, I'll incorporate many of them into a single dish. That's what I did with this salad:

In addition to be a bit of a salad fiend (and what kind of parent is going to hate that?), she's particularly fond of tomatoes, cucumbers and pickles, edamame (she'll shell it by the pound if I let her!), avocado (she makes a mean guacamole), and olives (black ones, in particular, are a bigger treat than any candy). So when I pair that with lemony-tasting chicken and the rest of the salad stuff, I get to hear squeals of joy and lots of thank yous … all for making a salad for dinner. Sometimes, my life is simply grand!

If you happen to have some french bread or pita, you could serve that alongside this salad with a bit of hummus — have I mentioned she loves that too? — and call it dinner. And if you happen to have different favorites, feel free to tweak this salad to make it your own. Just please, let's avoid adding candy bars to it, ok?

Favorites Salad

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 c. Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2/3 c. chopped tomatoes (I like using a variety of roma and pear tomatoes for color and flavor)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 c. steamed, shelled edamame
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled & coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ c. pitted black olives, sliced in half
  • 1 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk together the first 10 ingredients (olive oil through cracked pepper) in a resealable jar. Pour out half of the marinade into a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate the remaining marinade to use as the dressing later.

Add the chicken to the marinade in the bag; seal and marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes or up to two hours in the refrigerator if time is available. While waiting for the chicken, prepare all of the remaining salad ingredients and toss together in a large salad bowl.

Once the chicken is done marinating, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking fat (choose your favorite) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken on both sides until it is browned and completely cooked through. Slice the chicken and briefly return to the skillet to crisp any edges. Add the warm chicken to the salad and toss well. Drizzle salad with the remaining dressing before serving.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes-2 hours marinating time

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