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Kale and Apple Salad with Grilled Apricot Chicken

1 protein – 1 vegetable – 1/2 fruit – 1 fat

Sometimes a great meal discovery takes place when you’re not even trying. Take this past Sunday, for example. I had a busy day. I catered a large graduation party followed by errands and a meeting with a new bride. My day started at 7:00 a.m. and I didn’t get home until 7:30 p.m. I had done pretty well staying on plan throughout the day, drank plenty of water, but had not planned dinner. A good friend of mine decided to join us, so I was also cooking for company. I was hoping to eat by 8:00 p.m. since it was a school night.

As I was scrounging in the fridge, I found a beautiful bunch of kale, some apples and a package of chicken breasts along with an unopened jar of sugar-free apricot preserves (I can’t for the life of me remember why I purchased this originally, but I’m sure it was brilliant). I whipped up a sweet salad made with raw kale and apples, which limited my cooking to the grill and kept the kitchen cool. Chicken on the grill is quick if you keep your heat high and just leave the breasts alone for a bit. Let them sear and don’t be tempted to keep flipping them – they’ll cook faster with the lid closed, just a few minutes on each side.

Dinner was on the table by 8:00 p.m., and everyone pretty much licked their plate. Our chicken breasts were rather huge, so I went ahead and cooked them as-is, but trimmed them down to size before we ate. The extra pieces trimmed from the breasts made for a nice leftover salad in my daughter’s lunch the next day.

You can get this meal on the table quickly with ingredients you probably already have in the house. This is the timeline I followed:

  1. Preheat grill–You want to get your grill nice and hot so that it is waiting for you and not the other way around.
  2. Prepare the salad–The kale in this salad is raw, and the flavor and texture are both enhanced when the kale spends some time marinating in the dressing. Leftovers will even be good the next day, not mushy.
  3. Cook chicken–If your grill has a side burner, this is the perfect time to use it. While grilling your chicken, simmer the apricot glaze on the side burner.

While I was enjoying this dish, surprised at just how tasty it was, I could not help but think that the kale salad would be a perfect way to wrap up our celebration of National Salad Month–consider the grilled apricot chicken a bonus. I hope you enjoy this dish as the perfect go-to dinner on many upcoming summer nights.

–Kim K.

Ingredients

  • Kale and Apple Salad
  • 1 bunch kale, leaves removed from stems (discard stems)
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into bite-size pieces (removing peel is optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Splenda® brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Morton® Lite Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Using a sharp knife, slice kale leaves crosswise into thin ribbons. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Place kale ribbons in a large bowl with apple pieces. Toss.

In a small bowl, combine mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and Splenda. Whisk to combine. Add olive oil and whisk again. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over kale and apple mixture and toss to coat leaves. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • Grilled Apricot Chicken
  • 1/4 C. sugar-free apricot preserves (used as a fat-free dressing allowance)
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered mustard
  • 2 6-oz. chicken breasts, trimmed and flattened between two sheets of plastic wrap
  • 1/4 tsp. Morton® Lite Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat grill to high heat.

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine apricot preserves with vinegar, ginger and mustard. Stir well with a whisk. Cook until preserves begin to break down and liquefy, whisking occasionally and breaking up any lumps.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts on preheated grill. Using a grill brush, baste top of chicken breasts with half of apricot mixture. Close grill and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn chicken and baste top with remaining half of apricot mixture. Close grill and cook an additional 3-5 minutes or just until cooked through. Remove to a plate and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 2 servings