I recently made the Chicken Florentine Salad with Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette (pg. 77). This is a great salad that you can experiment with given the number and variety of ingredients. Through experimentation I’ve discovered ways to simplify, save time and save money in the process.
2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
10 ounces baby spinach leaves
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup grape tomatoes
½ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup sliced black olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup orzo
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Depending on your taste you could easily leave out one or two ingredients. For me, I am not a big fan of capers or cheese (but I still put the cheese in when serving to others since I am an odd ball that does not like cheese). In fact, this is also one of those great salads where you have most of the ingredients already and if you happen to be missing one or two you could still make a very tasty salad!
Instead of baking the chicken, purchase a precooked roasted chicken from your local grocery store. Better yet, the price of the precooked chicken is really comparable to an uncooked chicken. So, you are saving time without spending any more money.
Another shortcut is to use already minced garlic. Because my husband can consume garlic by the spoonfuls I keep a big jar of it on hand.
If you wanted to save a few dollars when making this salad you could substitute the pine nuts for shelled sunflower seeds. I’ve seen other recipes where sunflower nuts were used as an alternative to pine nuts. And, due to sunflower seeds costing considerably less than pine nuts this will save you a few dollars on this meal too.
I would recommend making this salad as stated in the recipe first because then you can appreciate any experimentation that you may do after a successful trial run.
I am excited to make this salad again and experiment with the vinaigrette. I really like foods with a lemon taste and I may add some extra lemon or play around with making a sweeter lemon vinaigrette.
Photos by: Penny Madden