The gorgeous beauty of bearded iris is fading in our flower beds, giving into amazingly beautiful roses. This is a really beautiful time of year and with the Covid fears somewhat subsiding--celebrating Spring seems like a wonderful idea. What better than quick and easy main dish salads, which allow time to garden or do whatever you wish. Don't forget the health benefit of chiles in your diet...so I have tucked some chile into each of the following recipes as well as placing our mild chile on sale.
And, to make adding some mild chile into your favorite rubs, dressings and sauces, I am offering our pure, all natural mild chile at 25% off. You know chiles help with almost all parts of our bodies, aiding digestion, assisting with fat burning to give us the waistlines of our dreams, acting like Draino in our vascular system and flavoring almost any food.
An interesting fact about chiles is they are habit-forming, not addictive like their fellow nightshade family member nicotiana, better known as nicotine. What is really great is that the more chile you eat, the more you desire and the hotter and that is actually a self-protection. Because research or science points out that eating a minimum of at least a half teaspoon a day of the hottest chile you can endure two thirds of the time will protect you from getting heart disease or cancer. Two studies, one at the University of Nottingham in England and another from the University of the Philippines reflect that the capsaicin in chiles kills the mitocardia or living substance of cancer within a person's cells.
At any rate, enjoy our pure chiles and remember to store them in glass in the refrigerator or the freezer.
I would love to cook with and or travel with you. We still have openings for our Oaxaca tour, June 15 - 21 , for our Classic Paella day class June 3, our Chile Chocolate class July 8 and our next weekend, July 16 - 18. Our next week long is October 26 - 29--all in 2021. We are also presenting several private classes for groups.
Here's two of my favorite main dish salads.
GRILLED CHICKEN AND CHARD SALAD
Grilled chicken breast is the darling of fast, low-fat meals. It is quick and easy to prepare and really stunning with the chard, which you can prepared easily on a stovetop grill.
Yield: 2 large or 4 small servings
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
1 teaspoon each mild chile or to taste, salt and sugar
1 Bunch or Swiss chard (12 to 16 ounces)
1 large Spanish white onions
¼ cup Cilantro Salsa or Tomatillo Salsa
1. Trim the chicken, removing all fat and membrane. Rinse, pat dry, and evenly sprinkle with the rub, made from the equal parts of chile-sugar and salt-- rubbing it into the surface of the chicken. Rinse the chard and cut into 2-inch-wide strips. Slice the onion in half lengthwise, then cut it crosswise into ½ inch wide strips.
2. Grill the onion for about 3 minutes, just until the edges are somewhat blackened. Simultaneously grill the chicken breast for 4 minutes on each side or until firm when pressed. Grill the chard leaves slightly until wilted and soft. Or, preheat a large, heavy, well-seasoned skillet until hot. If necessary, spray the skillet with nonstick oil. Grill the onion for about 3 minutes; stir until the edges blacken somewhat. Stir and push the onions to the side and add the chicken breast. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn the chicken and cook for another 4 minutes.
3. When the onion is somewhat soft and the edges are browned, remove from the skillet. Place the chard in the skillet off to one side. Check for chicken doneness by pressing with your finger. The chicken should be firm to the touch and, when sliced, white inside. Remove the chicken to a cutting board.
4. Cover the skillet and sear the chard until some of the leaves are blackened and wilted on the edges. To serve, arrange the chard in a strip down the center of each plate. Arrange the onion in a row on each side of the chard. Cut the chicken into ½ inch wide slices and center it in a row on the chard. Top with the salsa.
Per Serving: (1/4 recipe) Calories 138, Protein 20 g., Carbohydrates 10 g., Fiber 3 g., Saturated Fat 1 mg., Cholesterol 47 mg., Sodium 308 mg. (Analyzed with Cilantro Salsa.)
Cilantro’s fresh taste can tame the most fiery dish. This salsa pairs well with a main dish of almost any kind.
Yield: 1 ¾ cup, or 4 servings
½ cup onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeño, minced or 1 teaspoon mild chile
¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1. In a non-reactive bowl, combine the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, cilantro, and lemon juice. Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
CHICKEN RICE SALAD WITH JALAPENO LIME CREAM DRESSING
Here the mild chile supplies the capsaicin or spiciness. This quick to make main dish salad, complements of convenience or deli ingredients, is a quick and healthy, spicy entrée for lunch or dinner
Yield: 4 servings
1 6-ounce package southwestern-flavored rice mix
¼ pound boneless, skinless deli chicken, diced
1 Tablespoon mild chile or to taste
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup jalapeno Lime Cream Dressing
Optional garnishes: ¼ cup ripe olives, sliced; 1 head of red or green leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces or mesclun greens
1. Cook the rice according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
2. Place the chicken, chile, bell pepper, and rice in a large bowl and toss with the salad dressing. Add the olives, if desired. To serve, divide the salad among 4 plates, on top of the lettuce, if using.
Per serving: Calories 333, Protein 32 g, Carbohydrates 38 g, Fiber 4 g, Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 80 mg, Sodium 767 mg, (Analyzed with 1 Tablespoon butter called for in the package of rice mix)
JALAPENO LIME CREAM DRESSING
1 cup plain yoghurt or ¼ cup nonfat sour cream with ¼ cup skim milk whisked in
1 or 2 jalapenos, minced
¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice (1/2 lime)
½ teaspoon lime zest
1. Combine the yoghurt, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, and zest. Whisk together, or place in a jar and shake. This dressing will keep at least 2 weeks covered in the refrigerator.
Reprinted with permission from Real Women Eat Chiles by Jane Butel