Working from home has its perks and its challenges.
One of the perks is making yourself lunch every day.
One of the challenges is making yourself lunch every day.
For me, answering “What’s for lunch?” usually starts with a peek in the fridge to see what protein options I have on hand. With the weather warming up, I feel like a salad pretty much every day, but it’s got to have some protein.
On this particular day, I had a bit of roasted chicken, but just a small portion; not enough to make even one serving of orange-cranberry chicken salad.
So what else was in there for protein? Some fully-cooked bacon. I’m okay with using bacon as a flavor accent, but it’s not really healthy enough to be the main protein in a meal, IMHO. Hard boiled egg would round things out nicely. Now we’ve got a chicken club salad!
So I grabbed a few eggs and boiled them. It just takes a few minutes, and ever since I got this handy little egg timer, my hard boiled eggs come out perfect every time. The product description says it best:
“ Simply add the egg timer in with your eggs and boil… There’s an easy-to-read scale within the timer. During the course of boiling, the timer changes colors, from red to purple, starting from the outside edge and moving to the center. When the color change reaches your desired spot on the scale, the eggs are cooked accordingly.”
So although I just wanted one egg for my salad, I make a couple extra for deviled eggs, tomorrow’s lunch, or who knows what. While the eggs were boiling, I fried up some of the bacon. Since it’s fully cooked, that’s not really necessary, but I like it crispy.
I chopped up some romaine, and sliced a little red onion very thin. Then, to whip up the dressing.
This is based on a super-simple dressing recipe I learned from a friend…
Dressing option 1:
1 part sugar (or maple syrup or honey)
2 parts balsamic vinegar
3 parts olive oil
You just combine those in a jar and shake them up. Easy-peasy, right?
But there are two things I don’t like about that. First of all, it’s got sugar. And although you can sub another sweetener, I’ve found that sweetener-based dressings don’t cling to the greens like the sugar-based version does.
Also, it tends to separate easily. So here’s my solution:
Dressing option 2:
Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 packets Splenda or 4 t. natural sweetener of your choice; I like maple syrup.
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. mayo
2 T. olive oil
Put the sweetener and the vinegar in a small jar. Swirl it around until the sweetener is mostly dissolved.
Then add in the mayo and shake it up well, until no more white flecks can be seen on the inside of the jar. Then add the olive oil and shake again.
This makes enough for the generous dressing of one good-sized salad, or two smaller ones.
The addition of the mayo helps both with making the dressing cling to the salad, and keeping it from separating.
So, by this time, your eggs should be done. Rinse them with cold water for a minute or so, then shake the pan so the eggs smack against each other, to crack the shells. Then remove the shells, and slice up as many as you want for your salad.
Assembly time: romaine, chicken, egg slices, bacon, sliced onion. I wasn’t in a cheese mood on this particular day, but you could certainly add feta, bleu, Swiss, or shredded cheddar to this. Then drizzle dressing over the top and toss lightly.
There you have it: a fresh, healthy, delicious salad, in less time than it would take you to drive to a bistro and read the menu!
I call that a perk.
You might also like:
30-second Caesar salad
Ginger-peanut salad dressing
Make-ahead Tex-Mex salad
Sugar-free poppy seed dressing