Over two years ago I blogged on Clean-Out-the-Fridge Frittata to urge you to utilize leftovers in a creative way without throwing them in the trash (of course, composting is another option.) Sunday mornings are a perfect time for this process. But just as inventive, and maybe even healthier, is a clean-out-the fridge dinner salad, with in this case, a poached chicken breast (see how below.)
In poaching, you get to use some of your fresh herbs—a snip here, a snip there, for instant aromatic flavor. Or in the spirit of cleaning out the fridge, maybe you are harboring some leftover herbs? Depending on the size of your garden, you may also be able to harvest some of the veggies such as tomatoes and cucumbers. You get the idea, whatever is on hand is the point.
For the salad base, use any extra produce you accumulate throughout the week; for us this time it was a variety of lettuces, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, cauliflower, carrots, and half an avocado. Other times it’s been bell peppers, celery, radishes, cabbage—the list goes on and on… Not to mention leftover cheese, olives, nuts…
We’re also pretty adamant about formulating our own salad dressings. This avoids the excessive calories and processed ingredients of store-bought varieties. You might want to invest in something like shown below (available from Amazon for less than $12), a very compact mixer with just the right capacity so you will not have to deal with a huge blender. All you have to do is add your oil, vinegar and seasonings, turn the handle and make your dressing within seconds!
Follow the simple set of steps below to make your poached chicken breast, prep your other ingredients, and voila, a healthy dinner salad with a minimum of cooking. Not into a vegetable salad per se? How about combining with mayo, onion and celery and make chicken salad spread for a sandwich… or use in chicken tacos… soup anyone?
*TIP: Strain and reserve the broth. Pour into silicone ice cube trays, freeze and then package into ziplocs. Take out as needed for use in sauces, soups, or other recipes.
Easy Poached Chicken Salad
- 1 large, or 2 small boneless chicken breasts
- 1/2 small unpeeled onion, root end left intact, quartered
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- Sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary, and/or parsley
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- chicken broth, enough to just cover chicken about 1/2 way
- Lettuces and whatever else you have on hand to create a dinner salad
- Choice of dressing
Place chicken, herbs, peppercorn, garlic, onion and bay leaf in a small, shallow pan.
Pour in enough broth to cover chicken about 1/2 way.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
- If your breast is large, flip the chicken over and simmer, uncovered for another 5 minutes.
Turn off heat, cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Remove meat to cutting board, slice or shred chicken. *Reserve broth for use in future recipes.
- Assemble salad with on-hand ingredients, and top with poached chicken.