Greg and I love a Greek Chicken Salad or pita filled with the yummy ingredients. Plus I adore feta cheese! Recently our cousin Bruce emailed me a few tips on how he makes Greek Chicken Salad – children friendly. Bruce is a single father raising 3 beautiful children and needs to get his healthy meals on the table quickly. Plus with 3 children they each have different foods that they like or dislike. I remember as a child I was extremely picky and my mother probably wonders why today I am so open to new ingredients. As a child, I tended to lean towards certain foods and nothing else was acceptable. So I really like how Bruce takes grilled chicken, vegetables, dressings and turns it into different meals. The children are able to have their favorite foods but yet it is slightly different. His tips are great whether you have children or not because most of us find ourself in situations when time is limited.
- Prepare your chicken (boneless, thigh meat, tenderloin) with seasonings such as basil and oregano. Grill the chicken and then slice. In the winter cook the chicken in frying pan with just enough olive oil to avoid a sticky mess. In about 20-minutes your chicken is cooked.
- Assemble your salad ingredients in different containers. Create a salad bar buffet allowing your children to make their own salad. Instead of struggling to make them eat what they do not like, let them choose more of what they do like – as long as it is healthy. For the ingredients that are less healthy such as cheese perhaps measure out an appropriate serving size.
- Instead of always making a Greek Chicken Salad, rotate having them make a Greek Chicken Pita, which is always fun to eat. Many supermarkets now sell the mini-pitas which can be perfect for smaller children.
- Consider grilling large burritos allowing your children to make their own Greek Chicken Burritos. I know I love making burritos, as they are delicious and fun. What a great treat for children!
- Have a few bottles of your favorite dressings in the pantry such as Greek Vinaigrette, Italian, and Balsamic dressings. They are versatile and can be used with a lot of different meals.
- By using the Greek Chicken Salad ingredients, different dressings, and changing the presentation – salad, pita, burritos – you have a versatile dinner. Consider other meats – if your children like them – such as pork and lamb. Now you have a handful of meals that are quick to make providing multiple opportunities to use the ingredients. They can become your go-to meals and also provide a cost-effective approach to meal planning.
- Thank you Bruce for sharing your tips!
As a tip this also makes a great summer picnic salad by cooking the chicken ahead of time, prepping all of the ingredients and assembling the salad at your picnic and serving the chicken cold!
Chicken tenders or a boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced
2 tbsp Olivio (Canola with 30% Olive Oil) or your favorite oil
1 tsp Garlic, minced
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard or your favorite mustard
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt, fat-free
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
Dressing Ingredients: similar to my Poppyseed Dressing
2/3 cup Olivio (Canola with 30% Olive Oil) or your favorite oil
1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar or your favorite vinegar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Sugar or other sweetener
1 tsp Garlic, crushed
2 tsp Oregano
1/4 to 1/2 cup Cucumber, seedless, grated and drained
2 tbsp Mayonnaise, light
1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt or Strained Yogurt
1/4 cup Milk, skim
2 to 3 tsp Lemon Juice, fresh if possible
1/2 tsp Garlic, minced
A handful of Fresh Dill, chopped
Note: some people use buttermilk instead of yogurt and add fresh mint instead of fresh dill or both.
Your favorite lettuce variety or baby spinach
Pitted Olives, halved
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Red Peppers, sliced or diced
Red Onion, sliced or diced
Plus anything else you like!
Pita bread – can be the mini-pitas. Consider heating them or grilling them.
Greek Sauce Instructions
Grate cucumber and place in a strainer. Add a little salt and let the water drain from the cucumbers for about 30-minutes. While this is straining you can make your marinade and dressing. Using a large spoon press down on the grated cucumber to squeeze out any remaining liquid. Turn over the shredded cucumber and press down a few more times until no more liquid comes out. Add remaining ingredients and place in a sealed container. You may want to add more or less ingredients based upon your taste test. Refrigerate until dinner. I like to make it a day early to allow the flavors to blend.
Blend all ingredients in a shaker bottle. I like to make it a day early to allow the flavors to blend.
Mix together the marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a zip lock bag. Add marinade, coat chicken completely, seal, and refrigerate for up to 24-hours. I place my chicken in the marinade before I go to bed. I might have a few ingredients already prepped so when I come home from work I can get dinner on the table in about 30-minutes.
Grill or cook chicken on the stovetop in a heavy pan. Thinly coat a heavy frying pan with peanut oil. If you end up with too much liquid, you will need to carefully remove some of it for proper browning. I like to use peanut oil because it does not add any flavor to your chicken. It has a high smoke point, which is perfect for deep frying. Though technically I do not deep fry my chicken. It is low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Since I use about a tablespoon you could use whatever oil you have in your pantry. If I use more than a tablespoon of peanut oil the chicken did not brown as nicely. Heat your oil, add chicken, and cook about 10- to 12-minutes until brown then flip over. Continue cooking until chicken reads the proper temperature.
Assemble your Greek Chicken Salad and enjoy! Consider serving with pita bread as it is always a nice compliment.