AVOCADO-MANGO-CHICKEN “FLOWER” SALAD

Avocado, mangoes, and strawberries were on sale this week, and this tasty explosion of color is what happened once I got home and raided my refrigerator and pantry for other ingredients. What is it? It’s kind of a veggie salad…kind of a fruit salad…kind of a chicken salad. But there’s no “kind of” about how good it tastes or looks. Not that I was thinking “flower” when I started laying out the salad, but around and around I went and, when I reached the center, there was a hole that just happened to be the perfect size for the chicken that turned this into dinner for my guys. Thumbs up, up, up! Now I just need to find an equally delicious use for that wedge of watermelon that was also on sale. NOTE: For a get together, this would be gorgeous served on an enormous platter.

Avocado-Mango-Chicken Salad

PINEAPPLE-PARSLEY DRESSING

100% pineapple juice (drained off canned pineapple used in salad below–you should have close to 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp minced parsley (those bits of green are so pretty!)

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

“FLOWER” SALAD

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb chicken breast tenderloins, cut into small 1/4″ thick pieces

salt and pepper, to taste

1-20 oz can pineapple slices in 100% pineapple juice, slices quartered and juice reserved for dressing above

1 head butter lettuce, cut or torn into fork-able pieces

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and sliced thin

2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced thin

10 medium-sized strawberries, sliced thin

1/2 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts (forget trying to chop these round buggers–put them in a zip top plastic bag and gently pound with a meat tenderizer to break into smaller pieces)

1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese

1) For dressing: place all ingredients in small bowl and stir; refrigerate

2) For salad: To a skillet (or grill pan) add olive oil and heat to medium-high; add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste; cook 2-3 minutes each side until cooked through; remove from heat, plate, and refrigerate

3) Add pineapple pieces to skillet and cook 1-2 minutes each side until lightly browned; remove from heat, plate, and refrigerate

4) Working from the outside of each plate inward and forming rings that decrease in size as pictured, arrange salad in this order: lettuce, mango, avocado, pineapple, strawberries; place chicken pieces in center and scatter macadamia nuts and feta cheese across the top

5) Stir dressing and drizzle over salads, then watch these beauties disappear

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/27/12

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