In recent weeks those dreaded Dog Days of Summer have sunk their teeth into Arkansans weak from heat. Days have been over 100 and combining that with the humidity, the walk from doorstep to car has been insufferable.
While the term ‘Dog Days’ is based in Astrology, I believe the term fits the its effect on people. We get a little stir crazy–animal like if you will. It is the mirror of what comes in winter. With summers, we know we Should be outside playing, having BBQs, swimming, but when the elements are more sauna than serene, people duck inside, board themselves up and pray for rain. In winter I think we more readily embrace the solitude that can come when the temperatures plummet. People also get rather barky. (I know, I do this myself) the heat and humidity can make us all tired, irritable, weary, and eager to snap at anything.
It’s not easy to cook during this time. Standing over a stove or living in close quarters with a hot oven seems like self-inflicted torture.
Because of this I’ve tried to find satisfying cool(er) dishes. Which hasn’t been easy. I feel more nourished with a warm meal. I Still grapple with cold soups…I find it somewhat of an oxymoron, although I’m often compelled to try them.
The easiest avenue to find something satisfying and not boring, is of course: Salads.
They’re so interchangeable. Easily adaptable.
I found a recipe I immediately knew I’d love. I made changes to a few things, so I’ll post what the recipe called for…and what I did instead.
Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
- 3 Tablespoons Thawed Limeade Concentrate
- 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
- 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
- 3/4 pound Chicken Breasts Cut into Thin Strips
- 6 oz Baby Spinach or other Greens
- 2 Cups fresh Strawberries, Sliced
- 1 Cup Sugar Snap Peas, Trimmed
- 1 small Red Onion, Chopped
- 1/2 up Pecan Halves, Toasted or Candied
- 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
- 1/3 Cup Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Canola Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
- In large plastic bag combine the limeade concentrate and pepper. Add the chicken and coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours
- Drain & Discard Marinade. Saute Chicken in Oil until no longer Pink
- Instead of this, I used the frozen chicken chunks that are already cooked. I defrosted in the microwave then used Lime Juice, and bathed the chicken bits, but didn’t marinate that long. Then did a quick cook on the stove top to make sure they were fully thawed.
- In a blender, add first 4 ingredients of dressing and combine. Slowly add in oil in a steady stream. When mixed, add in poppy seeds & pulse a few times.
- Divide Spinach/Greens among plates, add in peas and onions. Top with strawberries and pecans. Drizzle with Dressing.