Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicken Pistachio Salad -AKA The Wife's Favorite

Tonight I made my favorite meal. It just so happens to be right up there for Miles too.  I will admit that this recipe is a little involved. It is not quick like I usually like but COMPLETELY worth it! It is a South Beach Diet recipe that became a favorite early on in our weight loss journey.

I really hate telling people that we did the South Beach Diet. I feel like people get the impression that we are just dieting, when we have completely changed our lifestyle. We are not going back. All we have to do is look at pictures from our former fat days to know we will continue to eat healthy for that and many other reasons. However, we did begin with the South Beach Diet and I believe it is an excellent, quick, and healthy way to begin if you need to lose weight. Just had to say it. Sorry. On to the food.

Oh. My. Goodness. Good.

Begin with about 1 cup of shelled pistachios. Buy them already shelled to save some time. You can get them at Walmart that way for not a whole lot extra. It is worth it.

Grind them up finely in the food processor and put them on a plate. You can mix in a little salt and pepper if you like. I skip the salt because I feel like pistachios are already salty enough but if you must then go ahead.

Coat both sides of your chicken breast in the pistachios. I just get my chicken wet with water. No egg. Press the nuts into the chicken fairly firmly.

Place them in a pan of heated olive oil and cook for about 1-2 minutes per side. Use a fork to turn them gently so you don't lose all the nuts in the pan. Do not be tempted to cook them longer. The nuts will burn as you can see mine started to do because I was washing my hands and I had the heat up a little too high. Then you put them in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. Flip them over and cook another 10-15 minutes on the other side. The time depends on how thick your chicken breasts are. I just use a 9x13 baking dish. There is no need to grease it.

Now you can get started on the best avocado dressing! The recipe calls for one avocado but I ALWAYS use two. I always want more of it for other things too and I like to make extra of this meal so we have leftovers the next day.

To the avocado you will add a couple tablespoons of grated sweet onion. Don't put the onion away though. You need to chop about 1/2 cup onion to saute later.

You will also add 3-4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice. A few tablespoons of olive oil, water, and salt to taste. Blend this all in the food processor until very smooth.

Saute that 1/2 cup sweet onion in a little olive oil. You might be tempted to skip this to save time but DON'T DO IT! These little sweet onions are what really make this dish so delicious. Do you really want to eat a piece of cake without the frosting? Me neither! So make the sauteed sweet onions.

When the chicken is done I take it out of the oven and let it rest for a couple minutes. Then I slice it up, put it over a bed of lettuce, and top with several dollops of dressing and the cooked onions. Tonight I served it with some sauteed yellow squash with green onion, tomato, and basil and some fruit - tangerines and pears.

I kid you not I looked at Miles' plate when I heard a noise come from him and it was clean. I still had half my dinner on my plate. I said, "You should really slow down and enjoy your dinner!" His reply, "I did! I enjoyed every little bite!" Thankfully he left the extra alone so we still have lunch tomorrow!

A couple things to know: If you can, make the dressing in the morning or a day ahead and chop the onion too. You can also grind up your pistachios ahead. It will save you lots of time. I can coat 4 fairly large chicken breasts with the pistachios but I usually like to error on grinding up more than a cup in case I run out. Then I don't have to go back and do more grinding.

That was a lot of food on my plate tonight for only about 550 calories. I am stuffed! Did you know you could eat all that food or just 1 and 1/3 bagels for about 550 calories! Eat more not less!

Here is the recipe! I promise you will love it!

Salad                                                                                     Dressing
1 cup  shelled pistachios (Walmart)                          2 tsp. grated sweet white onion
½ tsp salt                                                                           2 large ripe avocado
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper                                         3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts                        3-4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (2 limes)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil                                         1 Tbsp. water
½ cup diced sweet white onion
1 head romaine lettuce

To make salad: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grind the nuts in a food processor. Mix the nuts in a pie plate with salt and pepper.  Press the chicken into the nuts. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a non stick skillet and cook the coated breasts, 1-2 minutes per side. Place the chicken in a baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes per side. 
Heat the remaining  oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the diced onion, pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook until the onion is browned.
 Slice the chicken breasts and arrange 1 breast on top of the lettuce on each plate. Serve with several dollops of the dressing  and the onions on top.

To make the dressing: Puree the onion, avocado, oil, lime juice, and water in a blender or small food processor.

P.S. I can't believe it was dark out when we sat down to eat at 5:15 tonight. The price you pay for that extra hour of sleep Satuday I suppose. I did like that it wasn't dark when my kids went to school this morning however!

1 comment:

Margaret Kearney said...

Thank you for your thoughtful notes on making this recipe, and for maintaining a blog that doesn't require juggling pop-up ads and navigating other nonsense too much!
We are engaging in South Beach phase 1 right now. We've done it before, but when I was working full time + it was hard to keep up with meal planning, etc.
I plan to prep this recipe this afternoon, and complete it for dinner. My husband found the pistachios in the pantry the other day and asked, "What kind of PERSON buys shelled pistachios and keeps it a secret from her husband?!" As he ate a small handful ;)
Nice photos, and I plan to explore your blog further!