Wish Upon A Dish: Artichoke-Olive Chicken Salad w/Feta Dressing

September 19, 2012

Artichoke-Olive Chicken Salad w/Feta Dressing

Why is it when I see something done to food that is so simple, so easy and so not my idea, you call it GENIUS and immediately wonder why I didn't think of it first?

I think we have all  So  Been  There.

I am a fatalist by nature. I truly believe that things happen for a reason.
This time it was about an ingredient I am not real fond of but one The Nudge enjoys. I figure I can just hide it under my napkin shuffle it to one end of my plate. I think with this ingredient it is more about the consistency than the taste, just like me and cottage cheese.

Tonight's recipe is very healthy, flavorful, easy and includes....sigh, feta cheese.
Yup, you got it, I don't like feta cheese. I get that it's salty (I like salty), and I get that it's healthy (I love healthy). Maybe feta, cottage cheese and tofu are to me what pasta or mayonnaise is to others.....yucky.

Yes, there are people out there who do not like pasta (my neighbor refuses to eat it). I don't refuse to eat feta, just refuse to eat most of it. There had to be a better way, everyone else seems to love it.

Remember I said if I puree cottage cheese I will eat it in everything?
Tell me why I never thought to whip the feta?

Ina did. Yup, right under my nose she did something that will forever change my eating, and I HATE HER FOR IT!! Sorry, Ina, I don't really hate you. I am sure you borrowed it from somewhere and used it in your new cookbook. Isn't that what cooking and cookbooks are all about, sharing? Well, I am stealing borrowing it from you.

I served mine over a bed of tomatoes and lettuce and yes, I should have used a larger platter (sorry).

This dish went from tolerable to I can't wait for dinner. Genius, simply genius.

Chicken with Artichoke-Olive Sauce
Adapted from Food & Wine with inspiration from Ina and smart borrowing from me

* 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon EVOO
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
* 1 1/2 cups halved artichoke hearts, patted dry
* 8 pitted kalamata olives, halved
* 1/2 cup feta cheese
* 1 ounce fat free cream cheese
* 1 tablespoon honey
* Boneless chicken breasts, sliced into fingers or chicken tenders
* 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
* 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

Serve over spring mix salad greens or not.

1. Process the feta and cream cheeses until smooth, adding a drop of cream or milk to help it blend. Add a Tablespoon honey to balance out the tartness and freshly ground black pepper. Place mixture in a squirt bottle.
2. Season chicken with salt & pepper and brush with olive oil or marinade in bottled balsamic salad dressing (I use Newman's Own) for 30 minutes. Drain and place on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350°. Remove and cool. Place pine nuts in oven for 8 minutes. Remove them and cool.
3. Mix olive oil, lemon zest and juice, artichoke hearts and olives in a bowl with garlic, oregano, salt & pepper.
4. Lay a bed of salad on a platter with the tomatoes. Place the chicken down the center, spoon the artichoke-olive mixture over plate and squeeze the cheese mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle pine nuts on top.
5. Serve at room temperature.

My neighbor came over to drool at my salad. This was terrific. So much flavor and texture. Salty, sweet, spicy and sour, all in one. A healthy, diabetic friendly home run!! A good salad for the end of the summer and for easing into the fall soups to come. Every ingredient can be purchased year round.

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