Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Lunch Club

I am in a lunch club at work.... Well, we can hardly call ourselves a club....more a gathering of three people. The rules are simple, each person has one day a week that they prepare lunch for the group. We try to make healthy meals focusing on fresh ingredients while taking into account, everyone's dietary restrictions. Today was my day to make lunch. I decided to make an Italian salad of roasted chicken and flourless chocolate walnut cookies for dessert.

I started with purchasing an herb roasted chicken from the nearby gourmet grocer. Quite a timesaver.... And, to be honest, I like their roasted chicken better than my own.

After shredding the chicken, I added thinly sliced red onions, fire roasted bell peppers, fresh Italian parsley, capers and slivered almonds. I tossed all the ingredients in a large bowl until everything was evenly disbursed.

I then made the dressing with a good quality red wine vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, honey and an excellent fruity extra virgin olive oil. I finished the dressing with sea salt and freshly grounded pepper.

Since I am now avoiding gluten, I had to find a recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth and still be delicious to everyone else. I found a recipe for flourless chocolate walnut cookies made with cocoa powder, chopped walnuts, egg whites and confectioner's sugar. Simple and easy; it produces big beautiful cookies!

Italian Chicken Salad

10 cups of coarsely shredded roasted chicken
2 cups of roasted red and yellow bell pepper, drained, patted dry and coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups paper thin slices of red onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup drained capers
salt and pepper
4 ounces of shaved parmesan
Red Wine Vinagrette (recipe below)

Mix all ingredients (except the parmesan and the vinagrette) together until everything is evenly disbursed. An hour before you are ready to serve the salad, toss with the vinagrette and the parmesan. The salad can be served over a bed of your favorite greens.

Red Wine Vinagrette

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp honey
2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup of fruity olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil. Blend until the dressing is emulsified.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups of chopped walnuts
a pinch of salt
4 egg whites
2 tablespoons of good quality vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

With the paddle attachment of the mixer, mix the dry ingredients (cocoa, sugar & walnuts) until well incorporated, about one minute. In another bowl mix together the egg whites and the vanilla. With the mixer running on medium, slowly add the egg and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes.

With a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, place on a non-stick cookie sheet at least 3 inches apart. Place in oven and lower the temperature to 320-325 and bake for 14 minutes or until thin cracks appear on the cookie's surface. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet to prevent the cookie from breaking. Store in an airtight container.


Tanya Kristine said...

and i can attest: both were AMAZING!!!

i shared the cookie with my boyfriend and now i'm PISSED!

doggybloggy said...

looks good...I will make it..actually I will make the cookies and the salad but no walnuts for me..allergy

Michelle Ann said...

Tanya-thanks for the shout out! You know me, I love to feed a person that loves to eat!

Doggy-when I worked in a bakery, I know we made cookies very similar to these and we did use chocolate chips as a substitute for nuts due to someone's allergy... It worked out fine.

pinknest said...

lunch club?! how fun. that all looks excellent! i like buying a good roasted chicken too. and those chocolate cookies look so yummy.