A Week of Salads

The past week was full of heavy eating. We spent a few nights out with friends, partook in a couple of Baltimore Beer Week events, and ate very, very heavily. I'm not complaining—it was wonderful. Between hamburgers two meals in a row and a trip to the Renaissance Festival, I was in serious need of a detox. So, starting Sunday, I instituted a week of salad. For seven days we'd be eating salads every night for dinner and honestly? I had a lot of fun coming up with the menu!

Day 1: Apple & Bacon Salad
Cook 6-8 slices of bacon until crispy. Dice two apples, the variety of your choice. Allow the bacon to cool and dice it. Toss together bacon, apple, 4 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, and 1/4 cup of a fruity salad dressing.

Day 2: Fried Eggplant & Grape Salad
Slice your eggplant into 1/4" thick slices. Halve them. Set up two bowls. In the first, whisk an egg. In the second, mix 1/2 cup pastry flour and 1/2 cup all purpose flour. Stir in 2 tbsp grits, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp salt. Heat 2 cups oil in a heavy pan. When the oil is hot, fry the eggplant for 3-4 minutes per side. Let cool slightly. Slice 2 cups black seedless grapes in half. Toss with 4 cups mixed greens, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, and 1/4 cup creamy salad dressing. Plate and top with fried eggplant slices.

Day 3: Pomegranate & Proscuitto Salad
Seed your pomegranate, being careful not to pop the seeds. Shred your proscuitto into bit size pieces. Toss pomegranate seeds, proscuitto, 4 cups mixed greens, and 1/4 cup Asian sesame salad dressing.

Day 4: Pesto Grilled Chicken Salad
In a food processor combine 2 cups fresh basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts. Blend until smooth. Pat two chicken breasts down and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Grill (or cook in a grill pan) for 10-15 minutes, until crispy and cooked through. Slice and toss in pesto. Slice 10-15 sun dried tomatoes in half. Toss tomatoes, 4 cups mixed greens, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing. Plate and top with chicken.

Day 5: Avocado Shrimp Salad
Over medium heat, sauté your peeled and cleaned shrimp for 5-7 minutes, or until bright pink. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and set aside. Slice an avocado. Toss together 4 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup drained black beans, 1/2 cup corn, and 1/4 cup lime-based salad dressing. Plate and top with avocado and shrimp.

Day 6: BLT Salad
Cook 6-8 slices of bacon until crispy. Set aside and let cool. Dice. Toss with 4 cups mixed greens, 1 cup diced tomatoes, 1 cup diced avocado, 1/2 cup diced green onion, and 1/4 cup creamy salad dressing.

Day 7: Buffalo Chicken Salad
Grill/pan cook 2 chicken breasts for 5 minutes each side. Coat with buffalo chicken sauce and allow to cook 2 more minutes. Slice. Toss 4 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup diced celery, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, and 1/4 cup blue cheese salad dressing. Plate and top with chicken.

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