Baked Chicken and Deluxe Black Bean Salad

Cook’s Notes: Two excellent dishes combine for a summer night supper that’s “loaded with vegetables”. The next day, make a meal salad for lunch: dice the leftover chicken and toss it with a scoop of the bean salad. Serve over baby spinach leaves with extra dressing as needed.

Honey-Dijon Chicken (link): A bit of a misnomer, since the main components of the sauce are honey, lemon juice, and soy sauce. There is just a touch of mustard in this marinade — and no oil at all, which means the chicken isn’t greasy. Basting the boneless skinless chicken breasts every 15 minutes keeps them from getting dry. The ingredients are nicely balanced. Will definitely make it again — this recipe replaces several other baked chicken recipes I had that weren’t quite right.

  • Tip: Microwave the honey for 30 seconds to loosen it. The warm honey then blends easily with the rest of the sauce ingredients.

Deluxe Black Bean Salad (link): I modified a great base recipe from Diana Rattray, the About.com Guide to Southern Food. A pasta salad becomes an excellent vegetable and bean salad. In fact, this salad just tastes like summer, and it has some of my favorite vegetables: red bell pepper, sweet onion, cucumber, fresh corn, and black beans. The chili-lime vinaigrette dressing is a knockout. Modifications and notes:

  • Omit the macaroni pasta and the mayonnaise
  • Use Vidalia sweet onion instead of red onion
  • Use 1 peeled English hot-house cucumber, diced, instead of just 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • Steam 3 ears of fresh corn in the microwave for 6 minutes; strip kernels off the cob
  • Use 2 tsp dried cilantro instead of 2 Tbsp fresh
  • Reduce chili powder to 3/4 tsp
  • Increase cumin powder to 3/4 tsp
  • Use 1/2 tsp kosher salt instead of regular table salt
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