Dinner Rush! Cheesy Baked Chicken Chopped Salad

By: Patrick Decker

I’m completely guilty of being an overbuyer in the grocery store’s produce department. I love the flavor and freshness of vegetables and am hard-pressed to leave my local market without some combination of them compromising the structural integrity of my shopping bag.

Assessing the contents of my refrigerator crisper drawer and noticing a bit of a Mediterranean theme in my most recent haul, I was inspired to pull together a quick and delicious Greek-style chopped salad.

The best part of a dish this simple is that there’s really no set recipe to worry about sticking to — it comes together with whatever you have on hand in your refrigerator. Serving up something so simple, though, means that you’ve got to keep one big factor in mind: texture. Think about how to incorporate things that are creamy, crispy, crumbly and moist to keep a dinner with only a few ingredients both interesting and satisfying.

Cheesy Baked Chicken Chopped Salad
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

1/4 cup soft herbed cheese (about half of a 5.2-oz. block), such as Boursin

1/4 cup mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (4- to 6-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 large English cucumber, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the cheese and mayonnaise. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and arrange them on a baking sheet. Evenly divide the cheese mixture between the chicken, spreading it out to cover the surface of the meat. Bake the chicken until the cheese is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 15 to 17 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, in a large serving bowl whisk together the olive oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables and oregano in the dressing.

To serve, slice the chicken and arrange it over the chopped salad.

More Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team for Food Network stars like Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest Tweets on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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