Journey through a bottle of salad dressing

By Christina Scavone

Let’s face it: Many of us are often too tired to cook from scratch after a long day at work at the office or managing a family. I am certainly amongst those ranks.  As a working professional, it’s not always easy to find time or the energy to cook (especially a healthy meal) for my boyfriend and me after a busy day. It’s a daily struggle deciding whether to heat up a frozen meal or cook something well-balanced that includes lean protein and vegetables while still being appetizing. I would like to say I always chose the latter, but that is not always the case.

Despite my challenges (and we all have many), I’ve decided I’m going to take a leap in an effort to improve my quality of life. There is no better time than the present to try to gently push myself to prepare healthy, yet budget friendly meals, that don’t take a lot of time to prepare. As part of this effort to improve my diet and well-being, I am going to take a journey “through a bottle of salad dressing,” so to speak, and I hope you’ll join me.

As a staff member for the Association of Dressing and Sauces, I am constantly thinking about salads, dressings and pretty much just food in general. So, I thought it might be advantageous to write about my experience making my way through a simple, healthy recipe, and perhaps we’ll all learn something beneficial along the way. Here we go!

My bottle for the week is a Greek vinaigrette dressing. I love Mediterranean foods and always gravitate towards the tanginess of Greek salads (I’m a Pisces).  I was so thrilled to find out you can buy this   deliciousness in a bottle! Once my mind was set on a dressing, I found an easy and healthy recipe for Greek Salad in Hand from saladaday.org (recipe below).

My grocery store trip was quick, simple and inexpensive, (score!), and the prep work was minimal. I chopped my veggies and pan-grilled my chicken with my not-quite-sufficient kitchen tools and took photos along the way. I felt like a real food blogger and started feeling a rush of inspiration and satisfaction with my creation! So, I decided to add red onions instead of green onions and I added a few dashes of garlic powder and basil to my chicken; I added extra veggies, dressing and chicken to accommodate three people. I became so excited to showcase the meal to my hungry roommate and boyfriend who were anxiously looking along. Then, it came time for the taste test…

SUCCESS! I liked it, my roommate liked it, and my always-hungry boyfriend cleaned his plate and helped himself to seconds! I felt accomplished, satisfied and healthy all at the same time. The end result required a knife and fork, but that honestly made the meal feel more robust. Overall, the experience was better than expected. I can’t wait to continue my journey through this bottle and many more ;).

What bottle will I down next? I’m thinking something spicy and creamy. We’ll see what I discover!

Greek Salad in Hand

Prep Time:
20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. light cooking oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 C. Romaine lettuce, shredded
½ medium size cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
¼ bell pepper, sliced thin
1 green onion, sliced thin
¼ C. Greek vinaigrette salad dressing
2 whole wheat pita pockets, cut in half
4 Tbsp. feta cheese

Prep Instructions:
In a small skillet, heat cooking oil over medium heat.

Pan grill chicken breast until done, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Remove chicken breast from heat to a cutting board.

Combine romaine, cucumber, bell pepper and green onion.

Toss Greek vinaigrette over vegetables.

Slice cooked chicken breast in thin slices.

Open pita pockets and stuff salad mixture inside each, topping with feta cheese and sliced chicken breast.

Number of Servings: 2

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