I remember as a young girl the adventure of picking strawberries from a patch the neighbors had growing in their yard; it was small, so was I and the haul was miniscule too but it was one of the highlights of spring for me.
When I became married with children, several of my friends and I would go to farms and pick as many strawberries as our freezers would manage. Now I just go to Costco..and as any member of a warehouse club knows, that means you go from famine to feast…more fruit than you can possibly eat before it goes bad.
Luckily, I’ve got these great storage containers that actually do keep foods fresher much longer, so with some judicious planning, I can actually use that entire box of berries without throwing any away.
And one of my favorite uses is in a fresh dinner salad. Last night I had one of those ‘Let’s see what I’ve got’ moments and this was so delicious it has to be remembered and done again!
Roasted Chicken on Spinach with Strawberries, Caramelized Pecans and Balsamic Dressing
- 4 single serving chicken breasts (I had a prepared roasted chicken from Costco...so use whatever you have, roasted, barbecued, even quickly cook some on the stove or in the oven if that works best for you)
- 6-8 cups of spinach
- 16-20 medium to large size strawberries
- Caramelized Pecans (instructions follow)
- 4 oz goat cheese (My photo was taken first go around without this but loved the addition of goat cheese, so do it if you can)
- Balsamic reduction dressing
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Balsamic Reduction Salad Dressing (use the resulting reduction on fruits or waffles too!)
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 4-8 Tbsp brown sugar (Depends on your taste and your vinegar...you want a sweet/sour result)
- 1 cup olive oil
to Make the Balsamic reduction dressing:
- Warm the vinegar in a small saucepan til it starts to simmer
- Add the brown sugar
- Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half
- Add 1/4 c of the reduction to 1 cup of olive oil (or to taste) and whisk to blend
- Salt and pepper to taste
Too Make the Caramelized Pecans:
- Melt butter in small frying pan over low heat.
- Add pecans and brown sugar.
- Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is caramelized.
- Spread out on wax paper to cool.
To Prepare the Salad:
- Fill 4 salad bowls with fresh spinach leaves
- Slice and layer chicken on top of spinach
- Scatter sliced strawberries and caramelized pecans on top of salad
- Crumble goat cheese on top of salad
- Drizzle with Balsamic Reduction dressing