About Johanna

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Chicago/Aurora, IL, United States
I am just like so many busy moms out there. I want to create great meals for me and my family where the food brings us together at the end of a long and hectic day. I want to empower moms to feel like they are able to make Great Everyday Meals by using simple, accessible, and inexpensive ingredients and basic cooking techniques. It’s more about family and less about slaving away in the kitchen cooking. I have been a restaurant industry professional for about 10 years and have a great passion for cooking. I will share tips, recipes and techniques that I have learned to arm everyday cooks with the foundation to simple yet great tasting cooking! Johanna M. Cook

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Berry Chicken Salad w/ Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

As I was searching my pantry for some inspiration for my next meal, I came across jars full of jams and preserves. Many people think of jam as something to be spread on a piece of toast with their morning coffee. And yes, that's a great way to use jam. But, there are so many creative ways to use the fruit jams sitting in your pantry. Try using it as a vinaigrette (like I am in this recipe), a unique marinade, or in a glaze or sauce. It'll definitely give regular ol' chicken breast some pizazz. Try impressing your family and friends with orange-glazed salmon or sesame orange chicken (recipe coming soon) for dinner by using orange marmalade!

In this Berry Chicken Salad, I took 2 pre-washed bags of field green mix, 1 lb of strawberries and 1 pint of blueberries and turned it into an elegant dinner. I marinaded the chicken breasts in a simple yet flavorful white wine marinade. I use this marinade a lot for grilled chicken for salads because although it is flavorful, the flavor profile never takes away from the rest of the salad ingredients. The Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette is so delish and will kick any store bought dressing in the you know what! This is a great and easy recipe to put together mid-week when you're just truly exhausted, or an impromtu cocktail party in your home. You will look like a gourmet chef with this one!

Berry Chicken Salad

2 bags pre-washed field greens mix
1 lb of ripe strawberries
1 pint of blueberries
3 chicken breasts
2 cups of coursely chopped walnuts
4 oz of crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Simple White Wine Marinade

1 cup of white wine
3 TBL of Kikkoman soy sauce
1 lemon for juicing
1 TBL oregano
1-2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 TBL of blackberry preserves
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Take all the White Wine Marinade ingredients and wisk together. Place the chicken breasts in a large Zip Lock bag and pour the marinade on top. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, but no more than 1 hour.
Grill the chicken breasts over meduim-high heat. Do not place it on the hottest part of the grill as it will be cooked on the outside but raw in the inside. Check that the internal temperature is 165 degrees and set aside.

Place the blackberry jam, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper together in a mixing bowl. With one hand slowly drizzle the extra virgin oil while whisking with the other hand until all the ingredients are throuroughly combine and place aside.

Take both bags of field greens and place it in a large serving bowl. Take the strawberries and cut them in quarters and place it on top of the lettuce. Then, take the blueberries, walnuts and gorgonzola cheese and place them on top of the salad as well, making sure that all the ingredients are spread throughout. Take the chicken breasts and slice them at an angle and place them around the bowl for a decorative touch. Drizzle the entire salad witht the Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette and serve.

Then sit back and enjoy the praise!

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