Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grilled Tropical Chicken Salad and a Blog Award!

I would just like to start out by apologizing to all of my faithful readers for not posting lately… Since starting my new job, it seems like I’m tired all of the time! It might be helpful to know that I had worked PM shift as a Certified Nursing Assistant for 6 years prior to starting this new job, which requires me to be awake by around 7:00 AM… That’s early for a girl who’s accustomed to staying up until 3 AM and not getting out of bed until 10 or 11! And I’ve still been cooking when I get home, but haven’t always had the opportunity to take pictures because of having company over… But, I’m getting back into the swing of things again! So, thank you for your patience with me and your continued support.

I came up with this salad after seeing “Tropical …something… Salad” on several menus recently and wondering what in the world qualified them as being “tropical.” One had mangos and raspberries with a basil vinaigrette dressing… One had shrimp and mandarin oranges on it… And I can’t remember the other.
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I think of tropical places, I imagine pineapples and papayas… Fresh fish and bright flavors… While I do love basil (it’s my favorite herb), I’m not sure that it’s a tropical kind of thing. So, when I was thinking of what I wanted to go on my salad, something with pineapple definitely came to mind. I found this recipe on the internet, but changed a few things based on what I wanted. I have a couple of lemon verbena plants in my house, so definitely wanted to use that as I rather adamantly dislike rosemary. Not to mention that bright lemony flavors seem much more fresh and all of that good stuff!
I suppose one could argue that raspberry chipotle barbecued chicken isn’t exactly tropical either… But, oh, well! I had originally intended to make shrimp, which would also be really good, but didn’t get to use it soon enough and so had to throw it away. Next time! But, chicken is a universal meat selection around the world, right?! :-)

Printable Recipe

½ fresh, ripe pineapple
¼ medium fresh, ripe papaya
2 ripe mangos
6 oz. fresh raspberries
2 chicken breasts
Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Spring Mix lettuce
Pineapple Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Sliced almonds, optional

Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to medium heat.
Prepare the fruit. For the pineapple, remove the peel and cut it into quarters lengthwise; remove the core by cutting along the inside length just around the woody center. Depending on the size of the pineapple, cut the quarters in half or thirds lengthwise. For the papaya, cut it in half lengthwise and then lengthwise again into sizes similar to the pineapple. Prepare the mangos by identifying where the pit is and then cutting the fruit along the long sides of the seed. (There are mango gadgets that do this for you, but if you don’t eat mangos very often then I would suggest just using your knife.) For the raspberries, fill a bowl with cold water and gently place the fruit in the water. Allow them to sit in the water for a few minutes to clean them off and then allow them to dry completely on a paper towel.
Place the chicken and the prepared fruit pieces on a medium hot grill, being sure to watch the fruit closely so that it doesn’t burn; when the fruit is warmed through and has sufficient grill marks, remove it from the grill and allow to cool slightly. When the chicken is cooked through, baste it with a little bit of the raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce and allow it to set before removing it from the grill. Cut the fruit into bite-size pieces and the chicken into strips.
For the salads, arrange the lettuce in large salad bowls or on dinner plates. Arrange the grilled fruit on top of the lettuce, dividing evenly among the dishes, and top with the strips of grilled chicken. Sprinkle the fresh raspberries over the top of the salad and drizzle with the pineapple vinaigrette. If you’d like, you may also sprinkle some sliced almonds on top of the salads.

Pineapple Vinaigrette:
6 oz. pineapple juice
2 Tbsp. almond oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. dried parsley (or 2 Tbsp. fresh, minced)
1 tsp. fresh lemon verbena, minced

Mix all of the ingredients in an airtight container with a lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. The dressing must be mixed well each time it is served, as the other ingredients separate from the oil. (No refrigeration is necessary.)

Even though I’ve been exhausted from starting a new job and haven’t had much ambition to do a whole lot of anything, even blog, it’s nice to know that my readers still think of me. Sharon, from Family and Food Chronicles, was kind enough to pass a blog award on to me last week, so I thought I’d better return the favor! So, without further ado…

According to tradition, I'm to pass on 15 "new or newly discovered" food blogs, and share 7 interesting tidbits about myself. As for the blogs that have recently captured my interest, these are among my favorites:

Michelle – Brown-Eyed Baker
Raven – RavieNomNoms
Parsley Sage – The Deep Dish
Ally Lynn – Ally’s Baking Journey
Vicki – Wilde in the Kitchen
Jackie – Domestic Fits
Christina - Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Liren – Kitchen Confidante
Chelsea – Sprinkles of Parsley
Christiane – The Mom Chef
Shellina – The Frugal Flambé
Stacey – The Four Points Foodie Blog
Kristina – My Life as a Mrs.
Sommer – A Spicy Perspective
Kay – My Home-Cooked Meals

As for the tidbits about myself…

1. I am a little bit OCD about grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Even in text messages, I refuse to shorten phrases (except Lol and the like, which just sounds weird if you write those out…) and always write as though actually writing on a piece of paper.
2. I am OCD about washing my hands… People always think that it’s because I spent 6 years of my life working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, but I was obsessive about it even before then! I don’t like my fingers to be dirty at all. And on the rare occasion that I do use a public bathroom, I absolutely judge anyone who walks out without washing their hands. It makes me want to walk around the entire store disinfecting everything I touch, just in case they might have touched it before me!
3. I am so completely thrilled to have found a job doing what I love most! Those darn early mornings are brutal, though…
4. I am extremely amused by Adam Sandler. Even though some people don’t get it, my favorite of his movies is “Billy Madison.” It’s even better when watching it with my best friend, who also loves it!
5. I have one entire bookshelf dedicated to my cookbooks, and am almost in need of another one. I am currently working on purchasing all of Alton Brown’s cookbooks (he’s my favorite celebrity chef)!
6. I love the old television show, “I Love Lucy” and have almost every season on DVD. I can never seem to find Season 5 and the last set of discs which includes Seasons 7-9… If you ever see them, could you please let me know where?!
7. I love experimenting with new ingredients and techniques. When I find or hear of something I’ve never had before, I start researching it extensively until I know as much as possible about it. One day, I’m going to take on a spherification project! :-)


  1. This looks so yummy! Tropical recipes always a good thing in my book. Congrats on your award.

  2. Thank you for the compliments, Kim! It was really quite good!!
    I have to admit, I feel a little bad when posting blog awards... I'm trying to include everyone I like, but some of my other favorite blogs don't always get included. So, I'm just going to share blogs with all of them before sharing with the same ones over and over again! :-)

  3. Thanks for passing this award along to me, I was jazzed to scroll down and see my name! I can totally understand what you're dealing with with your cooking schedule. Things are crazy around here too and I find myself trying to cook all the food for the week in one day!

  4. Vicki, you're very welcome! I had meant to send out messages to everyone last night, but was so tired that I didn't get around to it... I'm glad you found it, though! :-)

    I can completely sympathize with you about your cooking schedule as well! I've been making a lot of simple stuff lately, or I'll concoct an idea at work and ask the head chef to make it for me. I don't usually take pictures of those things, though, because they're not entirely my own recipes so much as my ideas. But it gives me ideas for my own recipes! :-)

  5. Thanks so much for the award! Great to see you back and it sounds like things are going pretty darn good :) I totally feel your pain on that shift change. I used to work an overnight anchor position in Houston and when I had to move to days I was grumpy for quite a few weeks. Lovely salad. I'm a big fan of mango.

  6. Sandie, thanks so much for the award and thinking of me. (I love Adam Sandler too.)

  7. You're very welcome, ladies! You definitely deserve it!!

    Parsley Sage, thank you! Things are going really well, and I'm quite happy right now! :-) I still have a hard time with the shift change, even over a month later, and am always wanting to stay up late when I don't have to work the next morning. I have to force myself to go to bed early (midnight) on the days I work, and then I'm always tired... Darn schedules! Lol

  8. THANK YOU SANDIE!! I can't believe it, I'm so honored =)

  9. You're very welcome, Jackie! You are more than worthy of the award!! :-)

  10. Sandie, thank you so much for the wonderful surprise! You made my Tuesday very special - so honored!

  11. Sandie, thank you for including me in your "list", I'm very honored:-). I love that you put verbena in your dressing! Your salad looks wonderful!!

  12. Liren, you're very welcome! Glad I could make your day better!!

    KEcker, you're also very welcome! And thank you! I absolutely loved the lemon verbena in there!! :-)

  13. Thank you! I'm so honored to be included. :)

    PS~ "I Love Lucy" too!

  14. You're very welcome, Sommer! And, hello, to a fellow Lucy lover!! :-)