Going out on top
Here we are: 2021.
Our NYE was pretty much like any other night, except the BOTTLES WERE POPPIN'!
Bottles of Martinelli's, that is. I let the kids drink their "kid champagne" out of fancy cups and they were all about it.
That, plus a Daniel Tiger countdown at 7:30 meant my husband and I could actually sit down and enjoy a drink ourselves, while saying goodbye to both 2020 and "The Office" being on Netflix.
What I might be *most* proud of on my NYE was that I made AND ATE salad that contained fruit.
I'm barely a salad person to begin with and I'm firmly against the inclusion of fruit amongst my greens. But I don't know- 2020 had me all questioning everything anyway, so I took a chance and made this salad. You know what? It's going to be in heavy rotation. Everyone liked it, even thought the kids requested that everything be separated on their plates. I can roll with that.
Squash & Pomegranate Salad
-2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I had two huge ones) + preferred seasoning
-2 lbs-ish butternut squash (I am in no way going to take the time to cube up my own- precut is my fave)
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 cup walnuts
-Arils from 1 pomegranate (about 3/4 cup)
-6 oz crumbled goat cheese (if your store doesn't have crumbles, it's easy to buy a little log and crumble it yourself)
-5 oz salad greens (I used baby spinach and arugula)
-4 tablespoons olive oil
-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-1 tablespoon honey
-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
-Pinch each of salt and pepper
Whisk together ingredients. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This salad can be partially made in advance. I made the chicken in the morning- just seasoned it and baked it, covered with foil, for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. I let it cool then coarsely diced it up.
This seasoning from Aldi is my go-to for any meat. It already has salt in it so it's super easy.
The squash can be made in advance too. Toss the squash cubes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 350 for 40 or so minutes. I let mine go a little longer because I really like it crisped up. For the last five-ish minutes of baking, I moved it all to one side of the rimmed pan and added the walnuts. The walnuts can burn if you let them go too long, so keep an eye on them. Once cooled enough to handle, coarsely chop those up too.
When you're ready to assemble the salads, start with your greens. I like a baby spinach-arugula mix, but use whatever you like. Top with chicken (either warmed up or cold- whatever's your jam), squash, walnuts, goat cheese, and pomegranate arils.
Drizzle a bit of dressing on top and GET IT.
Nutritionally, this salad pretty much has it all: greens give tons of fiber and vitamins and minerals. The pomegranates contain tons of antioxidants and vitamin C. The chicken is pure protein. The butternut squash gives you some vitamin A and fiber. The walnuts and olive oil bring healthy unsaturated fats to the party.
I really dig this because it's such a variety of textures. You've got the crunch of the greens, the tender chicken, the crunchy nuts and juicy pomegranate arils, and the creamy goat cheese. Every dang bite is awesome.
Makes six salads. Per salad: 440 calories, 25 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams fat (mainly heart healthy from the olive oil), 27 grams protein, 1018 mg sodium.