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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grilled Chicken and Peaches Salad

Cooking is one area where I've learned to be flexible. My rather strong type-A personality usually prefers structure and a plan, but that doesn't always fly in the kitchen. Take this recipe, for example. The Grilled Chicken and Peaches Salad recipe that I found in a recent issue of Women's Day Magazine sounded like the perfect summery meal. On the week I decided to make it, I was sure to stock up on the ingredients we didn't already have on hand. Namely, the ginger and a few peaches.

The Saturday we set out to make it, however, my "plan" fell through. My peaches weren't nearly ripe enough to cut into and my red onion had gone bad. Rather than throw a tantrum (White Chocolate-Amaretto Cake Style!), I made a few swaps: white onions for red, nectarines for peaches. Though it isn't the Women's Day recipe, the end result was still the same: a perfect summery meal! This is actually probably one of my favorite meals we've had this summer!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not so tight-laced that I refuse to make ingredient swaps. But I do think all the time spent in my kitchen has taught me to be more adaptable, more flexible, and more creative.

There you have it, life lessons from The Sweets Life kitchen.

Tell me, are you a 'by-the-book' cook or do you like to get creative?

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Grilled Chicken and Peaches Salad
from Women's Day, June 2010

-1 tbsp white wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp grated ginger
-3 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
-kosher salt & pepper
-2 medium red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds (or white onions)
-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
-3 peaches, cut into wedges (or nectarines)
-1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (approximately 4 cups)

1. Heat grill to medium-high. Whisk together vinegar, ginger, 1 tbsp oil, and 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Brush the onions with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Brush chicken with 1 tsp oil and season with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Toss the peaches in a bowl with the remaining 1 tbsp oil.
3. Grill the chicken and onions until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are tender (5-6 minutes per side). Grill the peaches until charred, 2 minutes each side.
4. Transfer the peaches and onions to a bowl. Add the spinach and vinaigrette and toss to combine. Top with chicken and serve immediately.

This content was originally posted on Honest Cooking in my featured column "Cooking the Magazines".