This is a fun late winter, early spring dish – it takes advantage of fruits available in the winter, but it looks fun and colorful, a welcome relief from the winter doldrums! Everything can be made ahead, another bonus. The concept is a green salad topped with cooked chicken breast, mandarin oranges, grapes and strawberries. Drizzle on a creamy raspberry balsamic poppy seed dressing, sprinkle on honey roasted sliced almonds and the confetti layers delight both the eye and the taste buds.
I took the time to make a flavorful mandarin orange, Dijon mustard baked chicken and the dressing, but if you’re pressed for time, and/or you’re going into your creative mode, use whatever you have on hand or time for. To save time there are some great balsamic and poppy seed bottled dressings, and a roast chicken from the deli or leftover grilled chicken breasts will work just as well. Ditto for the fruits – you can choose to suit yourself, playing around with different “slice and dice” shapes to complete the confetti look.
2 bags of your favorite salad greens
Cooked and sliced chicken breast (recipe follows)
1 pint strawberries, hulled, washed and sliced into circles
2 cups black or red seedless grapes, washed and halved vertically
1 each – 16 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup honey roasted sliced almonds
Raspberry balsamic poppy seed dressing (recipe follows)
Dressing Recipe and Ingredients:
1/3 cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
2 Tablespoons Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Skim Milk
3/4 cup Lite Mayo
Combine the sugar, poppy seeds, vinegar and mayo. Whisk in the milk until the dressing is smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate.
Chicken Recipe and Ingredients:
1 cup Low-sodium Chicken Broth
6 each – 4 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts (if you cannot find small, tender chicken breasts you can substitute chicken tenders and adjust the baking time)
5 each – Mandarin or Clementine oranges, peeled, and sliced (I peel, pull apart into two halves, lay each half flat on a cutting board and slice horizontally)
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 cloves Garlic – minced
2 each – Green Onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine everything except the chicken broth and chicken in a large bowl. Mix well. Microwave 1 to 2 minutes to begin to release the juices. Pour the chicken broth into a glass baking pan. Add the chicken in a single layer. Top the chicken with the orange mixture.
Bake uncovered approximately 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Cool. Remove the orange mixture and discard. Slice the chicken breasts. If you are not serving right away, strain the broth in the baking pan and pour over the chicken breasts to keep them moist and flavorful. Refrigerate.