We're on vacation by the sea, and while for some that means endless fried seafood plates, we still cook at home many nights. Part of it stems from practicality and selfishness: with a young child, eating at home is just easier some nights. And part of it stems from healthfulness and food-snobbery. There just isn't that much good food on Cape Cod, and a lot of what tastes good just isn't great for you.
After years of doing this, I've come up with a system. Before we leave home, I designate one cookbook to bring with us. It has to have mostly easy recipes, and ones that don't require too many ingredients, especially "exotic" ingredients. Think about your average summer rental - not a lot of cumin, allspice, hoisin, etc. lying around. I'm willing to buy some condiments and spices (and I bring a few things with me, like harissa - more to come on that), but I want recipes with only a few ingredients, most of which I'm going to buy fresh.
This year I brought down the Better Homes & Gardens New Dieter's Cookbook. I got this at TJMaxx for $5.99 a while ago on a whim, and I have to tell you, it's been a great little find. All the recipes are easy, they're short, they've got some interesting and creative combinations of ingredients, and what's more, they're healthful. You may remember the spicy sesame chicken recipe I posted a while back - that's from this cookbook. It's not gourmet in any sense of the word, but I've probably made 15 dishes from this and we haven't found a loser yet.
Tonight's salad was a big hit. It makes a perfect light summer supper. I adapted it a bit, so this is not verbatim from the cookbook.
Chicken & Stone Fruit Salad1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins salt and pepper to taste 2 peaches, pitted and sliced 2 plums, pitted and sliced juice of one lemon 1/2 c. non-fat lemon yogurt one scallion, thinly sliced 1/4 t poppy seeds mixed fancy salad greens
Sprinkle the tenderloins with salt & pepper and set on a broiler pan. Broil on high for a few minutes on each side until cooked through, then remove and set out to cool while you prepare the remainder of the salad.
Meanwhile, combine the sliced peaches and plums in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 the lemon juice and toss them gently to coat. For the dressing, combine the yogurt, green onion, poppy seeds and the remaining juice of the lemon. Stir.
Divide greens amongst four dinner plates. Arrange the fruit atop the greens, then layer chicken tenders on top of the fruit. Drizzle each salad with the dressing. Serve immediately.