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LiveBest: Asian sesame chicken salad

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Are trips to the store still a covert operation for you? Masked and armed with a grocery list, I’m a woman on a mission: get in, get out. Focused, formulated, fast.

To make fewer shopping trips, I’m buying foods that last. Foods to freeze. Foods to stash in the cupboard. Foods that keep.

With fruit, that means more apples, oranges, grapefruit, and frozen fruit. Bananas and fresh berries, get eaten sooner.

In the vegetable department, sweet potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, grape tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and onions are sturdy friends. Most of these tend to have less water, so last longer. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and carrots store in the fridge crisper drawer with the lever closed to keep moisture in. Best to store potatoes in a cool, dark place, such as an unheated pantry or basement. The colder fridge temperature increases the sugar content, which changes the flavor.

Sweet onions, such as Vidalia and Texas Sweet have more moisture in them so don’t keep as long as yellow and red onions. Keep potatoes and onions separate. They each release gases that cause the other to ripen.

This Asian Sesame Chicken Salad seals the deal on things I’m looking for now. Easy to make, requires few pots and pans for easy cleanup, uses those sturdy vegetables, delivers on delish and nutrish, and is good the next day for a bestover.

Asian Sesame Chicken Salad is tender poached chicken, crunchy red cabbage, and sweet carrots tossed in Asian vinaigrette.

Poached chicken isn’t something you run across every day, but that needs to change. Poaching is gentle, moist cooking. Food is cooked in liquid just below the boiling point, simmering the meat until it’s done. In the case of chicken, that’s 165 degrees. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are lean protein. That’s good. But without fat, they are easily overcooked, leaving them dry and tough. Poaching helps protect them from being dry and tough.

Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

½ teaspoon minced dried onion

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

4 cups red cabbage, shredded

2 large whole carrots, shredded

¼ cups chopped fresh herbs, (parsley, mint, basil, or cilantro, all or a mixture)

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons lime juice or rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled, minced

1 teaspoon chile sauce (sambal oelek, Sirarcha, garlic chile sauce, or gochujang)

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon water

¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts or 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds or slivered almonds

Poach Chicken

Place chicken in single layer and minced dried onion in a medium sauce, add water to cover. Heat water to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, cook 10 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the chicken, it may take 5-10 minutes more simmering. The chicken will turn white and the thickest part of meat should reach 165 degrees. Remove pan from heat.

Toast Nuts Toast nuts in skillet over medium heat or bake them in a 350°F. Sesame seeds take about 3-5 minutes; slivered almond may take 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally as they cook.

Slaw

Thinly slice red cabbage and red onion. Shred carrot. Chop herbs. Place in large bowl.

Vinaigrette

In small bowl or jar with lid, combine oil, lime juice or vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh ginger, chile sauce, honey and water.

Salad

Shred chicken, toss with cabbage mixture, drizzle vinaigrette, sprinkle peanuts, sesame seeds, or almonds over top.

Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author.

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