Recently, after an afternoon of shopping, a friend and I stopped at TGI Fridays for an early dinner. To say I was hungry was an understatement; I was near the point of gnawing on my arm. With it being summer, I wanted a fairly light meal full of vegetables, but also filling enough to get me through the night. The pecan-crusted chicken salad jumped out at me immediately: chicken coated in one of my favorite nuts (yum!), lots of romaine and mixed greens tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, a smattering of blue cheese, a sprinkle of dried cranberries for a bit of tartness, mandarin orange wedges for sweetness, and celery to provide a fresh, crisp contrast.
I ordered the salad, sans celery, figuring the romaine would provide enough textural contrast to satisfy me; it did not disappoint. The flavors of this salad were spot-on: the tang of the cheese, combined with the sweet-tart cranberries, the slight bitterness of the mixed greens, the cool crispness of the romaine, and the sweetness of the oranges and balsamic dressing made me a very, very happy girl. And since I adore chicken with a nut coating, that this protein was coated in my favorite nut (pecans) was an added bonus. And there were even more sweet pecans scattered about!
This salad was the perfect summer dinner for a very hungry girl: light enough to not weigh me down, yet substantial enough to keep me going through the night. The best part? If I made something similar at home, I would have to spend much more on ingredients than I did at TGI Fridays for a prepared meal with cleanup.
You know how I feel about having to clean up the mess in the kitchen…
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