Have you ever noticed how dramatic people get about the weather?
Take me for example… When it’s cold and miserable outside, I dream about moving to Hawaii or some other fabulous island where I can live the good life in the sun (House Hunter’s Int’l anyone?) On the other hand, when it’s a million degrees out I feel like I’m boiling to death and can’t seem to get anything done, like now.
Then your air conditioner breaks.
And you have to do things like make dinner.
Just because I blog about food, don’t let me fool you into thinking that I have endless dinner ideas. It’s quite the opposite. I often struggle with dinner because I think about it way too late in the day. By 4 o’clock my brain turns to dust and I am good for nothing. And when it’s hot and humid outside? With no AC? Forget about it! I don’t even want to look at the stove. And I don’t.
I hop in the car and buy one of those precooked rotisserie chickens. They’re a lifesaver when you don’t feel like cooking. I use it to make this Mediterranean chicken salad along with my go-to pantry staples of marinated artichoke hearts and white beans.
Now here’s the fun part; basil marinated tomatoes. Yum! It’s a little restaurant trick that I learned and I can’t even tell you how much flavor this adds. I combine sliced grape tomatoes with basil, red onions, olive oil, and salt & pepper at room temperature. The basil infuses into the tomatoes while the olive oil and salt create this incredible ‘juice.’ It sounds fancy, but I promise you it’s not. It’s delicious. Just give yourself at least 30 minutes to marinate, however the longer it sits the better it will taste.
And do you want to know the irony of it all? Without even realizing it, this dish is a ‘no-cook’ version of this recipe. Who knew? It didn’t even occur to me until I was typing up the ingredients for this post. I guess the dust has settled and my brain is working after all.
PS- The air conditioner is up and running again! (3 days later…)
- If you are making this in advance, only add the basil marinated tomatoes right before serving (otherwise the juices will turn the chicken & mozzarella pink! Not that it’s a bad thing…)
- Precooked grains including quinoa, wheat berries, and bulgur (even fun pasta shapes) make a great addition to this recipe.
- Excellent pantry substitutions/additions include chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers.
- If you have your own herb garden, now is the time to utilize what you’ve got! Be generous with the basil, parsley and chives. They add wonderful summer flavor.
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ c. basil
- ⅓ c. thinly sliced red onion
- ⅓ c. olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1x 1½ lb. rotisserie chicken
- 1x 14 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1x 14 oz. can white beans, drained & rinsed (I used northern white beans)
- 1 large celery stalk
- 1 small tub marinated bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella)
- ¼ c. red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- roughly chopped basil, parsley, chives & celery leaves to taste
- To make the basil marinated tomatoes, add the sliced tomatoes to a large bowl. Stack the basil leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and thinly slice into ribbons. Using a mandolin, slice the red onions as thin as possible. Add the basil and onion to the bowl. Top with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well to coat. Let sit at room temperature minimum 30 minutes- 3 hours.
- Grab yourself a large bowl for the salad.
- Using the white meat, dark meat, or a combination of both, cut the chicken into bite-size chunks. You will need about 2-3 cups. Add to the bowl.
- Add the artichoke hearts and beans. Using a mandolin, thinly slice the celery directly into the bowl. Add the bocconcini, breaking them in half with your fingers.
- Add the basil marinated tomatoes and all of its juice.
- Add the red wine vinegar and toss well.
- Taste the salad and season with extra salt and pepper. Drizzle extra olive oil and vinegar to taste.
- Garnish with roughly chopped basil, parsley, chives & celery leaves.