Publix, our local grocery store, often has tasting centers set up throughout the store.  Of course they are meant to encourage you to buy the product; sometimes I do, mostly I don't.  But I love the tastes, especially when it involves the sushi department.  :)

One of the stations usually involves not just a single product, but a whole meal or main dish prepared before your eyes (if you want to stick around and watch, which I usually don't).  These are almost always delicious, and every once in a while I can't resist picking up the ingredients to make it myself.  So it was one day last week.

Does Chicken over Warm Kale and Asparagus Salad sound good to you?  I can't say it did to me, but that's the advantage of these stations:  I tasted it.  I'm including the recipe below, at least as much for myself as for anyone else.  On the other hand, as far as I'm concerned recipes are merely suggestions, so here are some of the changes I made, or might make next time.  There will be a next time.  It was so good each of us ate more than the 1/4 recipe portion size recommended, and I could have eaten a lot more.

  • I did use the shallots, but next time will probably just go with red onion, or any onion I have on hand; I don't think it makes that much difference.
  • I didn't buy any fresh basil, because I thought we had enough on our basil plant at home.  But it turns out it still needs more growing time, so I used fresh Thai basil from our abundant supply.  (The flavor is quite different, but still great).
  • I didn't add the asparagus, because what was available at the store didn't look very good.
  • Instead of the raw chicken breasts, I used shredded meat from a whole chicken I had cooked earlier, adding it later in the process, because all it needed was to get hot.  I also used a lot less chicken than the recipe calls for, and mixed it in with the salad rather than placing it on top.
  • I used Essex Garlic Salt (a wonderful product that was birthed about the same time Porter was; thanks, PJS!)
  • The "kale salad blend" was by organicgirl ("Baby kale, tango, baby spinach, baby green chard, green romaine, baby green oakleaf lettuce. Ingredients may vary by season.")  It was on the pricy side, but absolutely delicious.  I'm trying to quell my frugal side when it comes to things that will help us eat more healthy food.
  • The Parmesan cheese was fresh-grated, of course!
  • I added some chopped pecans at the end, just because I had them and the idea sounded good.  It was.

Chicken Over Warm Kale and Asparagus Salad

1 (3-oz) package shallots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb fresh asparagus spears
1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic/herb seasoning, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pint grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 (5-oz) container kale salad blend
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Chop shallots and basil.
  • Cut asparagus into 1-inch long pieces, removing tough root end.


  1. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes. Season chicken with 1 teaspoon garlic/herb seasoning (wash hands). Place oil in pan, then add chicken; cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Stir in tomatoes and shallots; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are softened.
  3. Combine vinegar and sugar, then stir into tomato mixture; cook 8-10 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, or until liquid has reduced by about one-half and chicken is 165°F. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes to rest.
  4. Stir kale, basil, asparagus, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon seasoning into tomato mixture; cook 1 minute or until salad is wilted. Transfer salad to serving plates; slice chicken and arrange on top of salad. Sprinkle with cheese; serve.

CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 380kcal; FAT 13g; CHOL 115mg; SODIUM 320mg; CARB 19g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 45g; VIT A 80%; VIT C 50%; CALC 15%; IRON 15%

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 11:12 am | Edit
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In the old days, the struggling people in the city next door to us used to attend the collations after funerals. There they would usually be welcome (some even became celebrities), and would often leave with the leftovers to cover several meals. Today, if they can get a Costco card, they can eat from the food stations to their heart's content! (One moral of the story: Never shop hungry at Costco. Another moral: Lots of good stuff still happens at churches!)

Posted by Eric on Thursday, January 09, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Right you are, Eric, on both counts. Though I have sometimes wished my husband had come shopping with me: with all the samples, I could have skipped fixing dinner.

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, January 09, 2014 at 1:57 pm