Spinach Salad with Balsamic Chicken, Roasted Tomatoes and Greek Olives

Mariel here. Last weekend, I had a hankering for my mom’s incredible Herb & Garlic Roasted Chicken with Figs. As I’ve mentioned many times before, however, patience is not my strong suit, so the thought of marinating this dish overnight all but killed my urge to indulge. Incidentally, I had also spent the previous day eating nothing but straight crap – a bacon and egg sandwich followed by mac n’ cheese and rounded out with meatloaf – so I wanted something a little lighter, something that might help keep me in my jeans.

So, culling from my mom’s aforementioned recipe and inspired by the Chicken Paillard at a local Italian joint, I assembled the following dinner salad. A little sweet, a little savory, this delicious dish packs a lot of flavor without loading on the extra cals. It’s the type of meal that’s perfect for a Sunday evening spent repenting for a weekend’s worth of sinning.

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Spinach Salad with Balsamic Chicken, Roasted Tomatoes and Greek Olives
Makes 6 servings

Note: This salad saves beautifully so long as you store the baby spinach, roasted tomatoes and chicken in separate containers to preserve their individual aromas.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs of vine-ripe tomatoes (I used Camparis since they were on sale, plum tomatoes also work), quartered – $2.98
2 1/2 lbs thin-sliced chicken cutlets – $10.00
1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar – stock
1 cup Greek (or Kalamata) olives, pitted and halved – $1.99
1 teaspoon brown sugar – stock
5-oz baby spinach (or arugula) – $2.99
2 TBS olive oil, divided – stock
Salt and pepper, to taste – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $17.96
Cost per serving: $2.99

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Quarter the tomatoes then place them in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly toss together, coating everything.

3. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer, skins down, on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Roast for 25 minutes.

4. In the meantime, toss the cutlets with the olives, Balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same bowl you used to season the tomatoes (that way it includes a little of the tomato juice). Add salt and pepper. Transfer to glass casserole dishes and let stand while the tomatoes are roasting for the first 25 minutes.

5. After the tomatoes have roasted for 25 minutes, sprinkle the tops with brown sugar then return to the oven. Place the chicken in the oven and roast both for approximately 15 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through and juices run clear. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.

6. Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and toss with the tomatoes, olives and baby spinach. Serve at room temperature.

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