Friday, July 22, 2011

Greek Chicken Salad, Coupon Alert and Reminder About Eating Healthfully vs Organic

I apologize for the so very sad picture. I had eaten half my salad before I remembered to take it. ;)

I was so excited about this recipe but very hesitant to feed it to my family. I of course let them choose which vegetables they did/didn't want, but I sprinkled just a little feta cheese on every serving, something I'm not sure my husband had ever tasted, and I know the kids hadn't. My husband must have been feeling adventurous, because he even had me put tomatoes on his. It couldn't have been a bigger hit with everyone, and my husband told me it was "awesome" and that I could blog about it being a "keeper!"

I sacrificed some of my usual shopping habits for you in this recipe to remind you that even if you can't or don't care to buy organic/local/socially conscious/etc., you can still eat healthfully, and you can do it affordably! I originally looked for Kalamata olives since that is what you will find in traditional Greek salads, but since I live in a fairly small town in the Midwest and don't have a super neat olive bar in my grocery store or a gourmet food shop, my only option was a few dusty jars from one brand on the shelf at my grocery store. I do not mind spending $ for quality ingredients, but I passed on spending $6 on a raggedy looking jar in favor of a small can of regular old black olives for almost $5 less. My spinach is done in the garden, and I really wanted spinach over kale or romaine (which I have plenty of in the garden), so I bought some non-organic spinach, which was on sale and for which I had a coupon. My store doesn't carry organic Feta anyway, so I opted for a brand that was on sale and that I had a coupon for. I am all out of my organic and local chicken, so I got just a package of regular old chicken breasts from the grocery store, which were on mega-sale. The cucumbers came from my garden. Depending on your area, you may be able to find a coupon for $.75 off Dole Salads and $1 off Athenos Feta cheese at Swagbucks or

If you are a vegetarian or just for some variety, instead of the chicken, make up a batch of  roasted chickpeas/garbanzo beans and use those to top the salad instead!

As thrilled as I was that he loved it, my husband killed me by dousing his salad with western dressing. In my opinion, this salad does not need a dressing (especially Western!). Not only do I like to keep it light, but the chicken is incredibly flavorful and juicy, and there are so many flavors in one bite that I didn't want to distract from that with dressing. I think a bit of dressing could compliment the other flavors nicely though, so if you want dressing, take the ingredients for the marinade, leave the seasonings the same but double or triple the olive oil and vinegar/brine (I like a half oil/half vinegar dressing, if you like it with more oil or more vinegar, adjust the ratio to your liking). Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. If you are wondering about the small amount of marinade, let me explain--I dislike making a large amount of marinade, and though it serves its purpose, pouring it down the drain when I am done. So I now use just enough liquids to coat the meat and easily distribute the seasonings.  I find the meat just as juicy and flavorful, plus it makes the cheapskate in me feel much better.

Greek Chicken Salad

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar or the brine from jarred pepperoncinis
1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tsp fresh), use sweet/Greek if you can
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups spinach
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1/3 cup olives, chopped/sliced
4 pepperoncinis, chopped
2 oz Feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup, 1 Tbsp per serving)

Directions: Mix first six ingredients in a small mixing bowl and pour over chicken, rubbing it in to evenly coat the entire breasts. Let sit for at least 15 minutes (just enough time to prep the coals!) or up to eight hours (do it before you leave for work in the morning!). Cook chicken using desired method, let rest for at least 10 minutes and then slice when cool enough to handle. Assemble the chicken and the rest of the ingredients as desired and serve.


Chicken breast: On sale $1.59/lb = $1.59
Feta cheese: On sale 2/$5, used $1 off coupon ($1.50/each), used 1/2 pkg = $.75
Spinach: On sale 4/$5, used $.75 off coupon ($.50 each), used 1/2 pkg = $.25
Black olives: 2.25 oz can =  $1.29
Tomatoes: On sale for $.99/lb, used 9 oz = $.56
Onion: On sale for $.75/lb, used 5 oz = $.23
Pepperoncini: 1.59/16 oz jar, used 1/6 of jar = $.27

Total Cost: $4.94
Four Servings: $1.24 per serving

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