In the Kitchenette: Ginapple Chicken Salad

There were a few places in NJ where Andrew and I deemed safe to eat. We frequented many Dunkin Donuts, a few diners and Panera. Most days, he'd pick me up from work and take me straight to Panera, where I'd get a Fuji Apple Chicken Salad and an iced coffee. Andrew usually had a couple of plain bagels or an Asiago roast beef sandwich (no cheese, no onions, no tomatoes and NO HORSERADISH!!). My salad was heavenly. It was the kind of meal I could (and did) eat daily and never grow tired of it.

So of course, there are no Panera's in Philly. And until I bring my car to a nearby parking garage, I won't be able to go on Panera binging sprees (unless car-jacking is involved, but I like to keep my rap sheet neat). So I've made my own version. The result is no where near Panera's perfection but it's good nonetheless. You can make this with any kind of apple, I would just recommend keeping it consistent throughout the salad, dressing and chips. I used Red Delicious, which are my favorite. The apple chips can be made the night before and stored in the fridge.

Ginapple* Chicken Salad
serves 1 hungry apple crazed Gina

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 bowl of fresh greens
1 handful of pecans
1/2 cucumber, sliced
olive oil

1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil with garlic until flagrant. Add chicken, salt and pepper and cook until both sides are nice and brown.
2. Put your greens in the bowl, woo! Take a break because that was really intense.
3. Sprinkle pecans and cucumber on greens. Seriously, this is your cardio for today.
4. When chicken is cooked, slice into strips and put on top of salad.

apple chips:
adapted from this recipe
1 apple
1 cup of apple juice
1 cinnamon stick

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. The original recipe said 250 degrees but it was taking forever for my chips to be crispy. It might just be my oven, but set it to what you know will toast the chips well.
2. Add the apple juice and cinnamon stick to a medium sized saucepan, and bring to a boil.
3. Slice your apple so that the slices are are about 1/4 inch thick. As long as your slices are of equal width, you should be good. Don't make them too thick or they will never get crispy!
4. Add apple slices to boiling apple juice and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Doesn't that smell delicious?
5. Remove the apple slices from the saucepan and place on paper towels to absorb the excess apple juice. This is very important: don't leave your chips soggy!
6. After your chips are dry, put them in the oven on a baking sheet for 30-40 minutes. Like I said before, mine were taking forever so judge your cooking time accordingly.
7. Once the chips are crispy and browned, remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet.
8. Top your salad with the chips.

adapted from this recipe
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2.5 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 apple of your choosing
1/8 cup small yellow onion

1. In a food processor, chop apple and onion until you get a sort of confetti.
2. Combine rice vinegar and sesame oil in a container with a lid.
3. Add 3 tablespoons of the apple/onion confetti mixture, salt, pepper and sesame seeds.
4. Shake together and pour over your salad.

And because I'm just that apple-crazed, I added some chopped apple pieces into my salad as well. And I drank apple juice and I did an apple dance. Youtube video to follow.

*that's Gina-Apple not Gin-Apple.


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