Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Old school quick dinner + new cornbread variation

A couple of Wednesday's ago, it was my turn to menu plan, and I wanted to keep it simple (as we usually do!). So I went back to my old recipe box, with those classic lined recipe cards, most of which I copied from my Mom's recipes way way back in the day when I was just starting to think about cooking. And I found one that I haven't made in years, but which I have yummy memories of eating around the family dinner table as a kid – a warm salad of Moroccan chicken strips and greens. I don't know if Mom made this a lot, or just one or two memorable times, but either way I was eager to bring it back.

The salad is extremely quick and easy to put together, and both the dressing and the marinade are super-flavourful – bright, tangy, and fresh tasting. To balance out the healthy salad with some carb-y goodness, we made cornbread too.

I love cornbread, and make it all the time (another classic recipe from Mom, this one written in the recipe notebook she made me years ago) because it's so incredibly quick. Sometimes I add chipotle puree, which is great, but that's as much as I had messed with cornbread before this. Maybe I was inspired by my sister's cornbread experimentation (we had an awesome one of hers over Christmas, with pieces of fresh corn and an assortment of ancient grains), or maybe it was an attempt to make this basic recipe more Wednesday-worthy... One way or another, sundried tomatoes and cilantro made their way into the batter before baking.

The tomatoes were awesome – chopped in large-ish pieces, they provided a chewy, intense flavour hit. The cilantro was a bit underwhelming, I thought. It looked pretty, dotting the bread with bright green, but somehow its flavour got lost in the mix. I think next time I'll try blending it with a bit of oil, and maybe garlic, first, and then stir it through the batter pesto-like. Do you think that will work better? Any other ideas?

Try the salad recipe – my verdict was that it's definitely tasty enough to make it in to my regular repertoire of quick healthy meals. Score!

Warm Salad with Moroccan Chicken
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cayenne

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups mixed salad greens

3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
pinch cayenne

3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a medium bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Add chicken strips and stir to coat well. Marinate 1/2 hour at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.

2. Just before serving, heat oil in a wok or non-stick skillet. Add chicken strips. Stir fry until chicken is cooked through.

3. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Toss with greens. Arrange chicken on top of greens and sprinkle with cilantro.


Anonymous said...

Hi Meg,
I am wondering if your cornbread recipe is the one I gave your mom a zillion years ago. It was one from my mother so if so has passed down a few generations! We had it fresh every morning for breakfast. How about that!

Meg Whetung said...

Granny – that would be awesome if it's the same cornbread recipe! I'll ask Mom... I can't believe you had it fresh every morning – lucky! I love it for breakfast. It goes so well with eggs. At Sophie's diner here they serve a version of eggs benny on cornbread with beans and avocado. Soooo good.