The Covered Dish - Healthy Marinated Salad

August 23, 2023

With the heavy heat at week’s end I decided it was time to do a hearty marinated salad for our lunches this week. The recipe may be simple, but I will be honest and say the prep took a little time. The ticket is to do parts one evening and then finish it the second evening. This outline is going to be totally flexible according to your likes and dislikes.

When I prepared the quinoa and rice I cooked more than the recipe needed. Currently these two ingredients are in Ziploc bags in the refrigerator, if I don’t use them in a couple of days I will place them in the freezer for a later use. This is when you will be so thankful you cooked extra.
When I made the salad on Saturday, our son, Phillip, said he wasn’t going to eat any because of the artichokes and tomatoes. Then I heard him go to the garage deep freeze and I knew he was hunting for an alternative! Since I knew what he was up to I went out and said: "Hey, how about some quick fix fried rice?" He sautéed some of his favorite vegetables, added soy, etc., used the last chicken breast diced, added quinoa and rice, and wrapped it up with 2-3 eggs scrambled in the center. Then he brought all his ingredients together and had a quick and simple fried rice. By the way…..I’ll run my Malaysian Fried Rice in the near future so you can make a large ‘bunch’ of fried rice for your lunches. It’s a little more intensive than this simple little version, and more flavorful.
Feel free to put the extra quinoa and rice in the freezer. This way you are ready to add them to any dish. Another way to be a bit more efficient in the kitchen.
For the dressing I used one of my favorite commercial dressings by the company, ‘Breanna’. Yes, this salad dressing is a bit more expensive than most, but it’s worth it for the taste. I like to use the poppy seed version on some of my Cole slaw recipes. The peach dressing and strawberry are good with the matching fruit also added to a salad. Sure, it would have been good to make dressing from scratch, but I had other things to do and using a prepared salad dressing doesn’t hurt a thing!
I was hearing some rather intensive heat for this week, so plan your meals sensibly. When the heat intensifies the AC units are working overtime. There’s nothing wrong with a plate of sliced tomatoes and sandwiches. I know I always say, ‘I remember’, but I’m going to do it anyway. My mom made all the hot meals at lunch, especially when we didn’t have air conditioning! Evening was cold cuts and chips, then a trip to the local quarry, for a swim.
Enjoy trying something different this week. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.

Note: This makes enough salad for 12-14 persons, you may need to cut the recipe in half.

Healthy Marinated Salad

2-3 baked chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

2 cups cooked red quinoa

4 cups brown Basmati rice

Salt for quinoa and rice, see below-

1 bunch of green onion, finely diced

2 jars (10 oz. ea.) quartered artichokes, drained

1 container of grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4 canning size cucumbers (these are small), cut in half and slice

4 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut julienne style

1 can (20 oz. approx.) black beans, drained & rinsed

4-6 ounces of Asiago cheese, (may change this), add after the dressing-

Fresh minced Basil, or 1 tablespoon dry Italian spices

1 teaspoon dry chipotle pepper

Brianna Asiago Caesar dressing, about 8-12 ounces

* Fresh sliced spinach would be a good addition-

1 large bowl

Other choices might be dried fruits, walnuts, or even a turn towards a more Italian version using colored peppers, black or green olives and perhaps an Italian meat.

While the chicken is being cooked; prepare the quinoa and rice. Follow the directions on the bags and you should do just fine. After rinsing the dry basmati I did add a bit of dry stock to the boiling water before cooking. Salt was added to both saucepans, perhaps 1/2 teaspoon each.
Make sure the rice and quinoa are totally dry & cool before adding into your large bowl. Sometimes I will put down paper towels and spread it out to dry. Prepare all the vegetables

& meat and add to the bowl. Sprinkle on seasonings, next pour on a portion of the dressing and stir. Gradually add more until it’s at your desired level. Lastly; I would add the cheese and perhaps sliced spinach to the mixture.
This will be a great protein dish for your lunch, by using brown rice and quinoa you will have cut down on lots of carbohydrates. Be sure and read the column above as I give additional tips for this recipe.