Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pittsburgh Style Salad

Hey everyone!  In case you didn’t notice,  I haven’t updated the blog in about 2 weeks because I’ve been on a nice long vacation!  It was one of those vacations where you come home exhausted and with a few extra pounds tagging along.  My husband and 2 friends of ours went on an excursion to Europe, including Venice and Bari {Italy}, Corfu, Athens and Mykonos {Greece}, Dubrovnik {Croatia}, and Munich {Germany} for the Oktoberfest!  Our days consisted of eating and drinking our way through these areas, getting a taste of the local flavors and trying our hardest to communicate with the people to get the most out of our visits.  

We really tried to immerse ourselves in the local food and wine -- asking our waiters/waitresses to bring us something special that hasn’t been “Americanized”.  I’ll never forget watching a girl bring us a huge plate of tempura battered mini fishes -- heads, eyes, tails and all!  I dubbed them “Fish French Fries” and they were delicious!  I have a lot photos of food and many experiences to share so I’m planning on picking an area, showing you the food and why they’re known for it and re-creating one of the dishes for you all to enjoy!  Look for this coming up in the next few weeks so I have time to compile my photos and write some recipes!

But ahhh....it’s good to be home! 

So due to my extreme exhaustion and the fact that I’m writing this blog at 4 am due to jet lag, I have something easy for you today!  The Pittsburgh Salad is more of a style than a recipe, although I will give you my recipe and dressing recipe as well.  A little history -- those in Pittsburgh have a habit of throwing french fries on everything, especially those decadent sandwiches known as Primanti Brothers, which I devoured on the regular while in college.  I was a little shocked, though, when I ordered a salad listed “Pittsburgh-Style”  and received a pile of lettuce, chicken and cheese, topped off with a mountain of crispy french fries.  So much for eating healthy -- but wow, this combination is fan-freaking-tastic.  Go ahead and bake your fries to keep it on the healthier side -- that’s what I did here!  And feel free to mix it up with veggies and meats!

Pittsburgh-Style Salad (makes 2 large dinner salads)

1 head of romaine lettuce, cut or torn into bite sized pieces
4 c. spring mix greens
3 small tomatoes, quartered
1 orange bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
4 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 bag Ore-Ida frozen Seasoned French Fries, baked according to package directions
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese {start with a block and shred with a grater for easier melting cheese}

  1. Toss all vegetables and divide among two dinner plates.
  2. Top salads with chopped warm chicken, pile with french fries and scatter cheese on top and allow to melt a little before serving with your favorite dressing.

SkinnyChow Balsamic Dressing
This recipe is very acidic, which I love.  Most dressing recipes have more oil than acid but I use a reverse ratio to make it a little more health conscious.

1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp grainy dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced or grated
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 to 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, to taste

1.  Combine all ingredients and use an immersion blender, blender or magic bullet style mixer to combine and whip into a smooth dressing.  

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