Jun 19, 2010

Salad with Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Salad with lemon rosemary chicken, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers.

This is my first summer living back in the good ole south in about four years and one thing that certainly hasn’t changed is the HEAT! I went up to Chicago for school and while living there we definitely had some hot days, and the long time residents of the city would complain about the humidity but for my southern blood, it was perfect summer weather. Now that we’re moving into summer, I’m quickly being reminded of that heat where just thinking about being outside makes you sweat. Humidity takes on a whole new meaning when you live in the south and the sad part is that we haven’t even reached the tip of summer yet! This all leads to making dinner, I promise! On the scorcher days I find myself starving but not wanting a heavy meal. Summer is about the light, fresh meals that cool you down after a day in the sun. Salad was one of those meals that Jordan and I turned to last week when the 90 degree weather started rolling in. The great thing about salad is that it’s pretty fast, quick clean up and you can pretty much throw all your favorite foods onto a bed of lettuce and have a complete meal. The salad I’m sharing here is pretty much a staple meal for us that we can throw together on those weeknights where we just don’t have time to be fancy.

Here’s what you’ll need:



  • bag of mixed spring lettuce (or substitute with your favorite lettuce)
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped rosemary
  • lemon rind
  • garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (you can always add more if desired)
  • parmesan cheese


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • black pepper to taste

This vinaigrette makes enough for more than two salads but it also keeps for about a week in the fridge so you can always re-use it later for other meals.

There aren’t too many steps in putting this meal together. Start with the chicken. Preheat the oven to 375 and cover a baking sheet with tinfoil before you put your chicken on it. (easy clean up!) Drizzle the chicken breasts with just a little bit of olive oil on both sides. For the spices, we have a set of great mix spices that Jordan received for Christmas and they add a fantastic punch of flavor to everything that we’ve used them for. But, the combos are really easy to recreate yourself when you don’t have access to them. For this rub, you can combine a little bit of salt and pepper, lemon rind, crushed rosemary (fresh or dried) and a little bit of garlic powder. I haven’t included exact measurements and that’s because the best way to do this is just sprinkle a little bit of each ingredient on both sides of the chicken. As long as you don’t make a layer of spices on the top of the meat, you can’t mess up the chicken’s flavor! Let the chicken cook for approximately 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.

Lemon Rosemary chicken that we baked in the oven for about 20 minutes.

While your chicken is baking you can prepare the rest of the salad. Chop up your bell pepper, half your cherry tomatoes and rinse your lettuce and throw that in a large mixing bowl. We like to use a spring mix lettuce but really any lettuce will do, so go ahead and use your favorite. You can also add literally any other veggie to this salad and make it a build your own dish. The salad dressing is neutral and will go with all sorts of veggies.

We like to make our own salad dressings and while that may sound a little daunting, it couldn’t be easier! Add all the ingredients (besides the cranberries) to a mini food processor or blender and chop/blend away. If you don’t have a one of these appliances, no problem. When we don’t add the basil leaves we actually just whisk the ingredients in a cup and it works just as great. Another easy option is to put all the ingredients in a small jar and then all you have to do is shake. So no matter your process, the finished product is cheaper and tastier than the bottled stuff I promise!

Homemade balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing that you can put together in no time!

After the chicken is done, chop it into to bite size pieces and add it to your mixing bowl. Add the cranberries and then just pour as much dressing as you’d like into the bowl. Give everything a good toss and you’re ready to serve!

Salad ready for a toss (mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, lemon rosemary chicken, cranberries, and bell pepper).

We like to add some freshly grated parmesan cheese to the top and another favorite are some homemade croutons when we have left over bread that we don’t want to waste.

Jordan and I also love salad night because it usually means our special breadstick night. As I’m sure you’re slowly learning, I LOVE bread! For salad night Jordan makes flat breadsticks with a medley of amazing herbs and spices! I’m going to add the recipe soon so you’ll have to check those out and definitely make that addition to your salad meal night!

Keep salad night in mind when you’re pressed for time, don’t feel completely inspired to cook a full blown fancy meal, want a light meal or are just craving something fresh and healthy. No matter the reason, salads can be satisfying and filling dinners that don’t have to just be a big plate of greens and bland veggies. Enjoy and stay cool out there!! For now, that’s salad with lemon rosemary chicken…in the shell of a nut!

1 Comment

  • Sounds scrumptious! What wine or brewsky would you suggest for the discerning yet economical pallet?

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