Monterrey Chicken Salad

This is an inspired recipe from our favorite Mexican restaurant.  Many people think there aren’t any healthy options at a Mexican restaurant but if you are creative with your substitutions, you can make it work.  That being said, the best option is ALWAYS making it at home with ingredients YOU control.

1 small head organic romaine lettuce
1-2 handfuls organic baby spinach
1 small organic grilled chicken breast
Chopped tomato
Chopped avocado

Dressing = salsa (homemade or sugar-less store bought – check labels!)

Organic cheddar cheese (preferably Beyond Organic Cheddar)
Black olives

Put lettuce and spinach in a bowl or on a plate and layer the rest of the ingredients.


Grilled Grass Fed Sirloin with Caprese Salad

Nothing beats grilling out in the summer.  However, grilling can add unwanted carcinogens to your meal.  Smoke from the grill contains carcinogenic substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which can coat your food.  In addition, heterocyclic amines(HCAs), can develop in meat that is cooked over high heat.  However, there are ways to mitigate these dangers.  The best way is to marinate your meat.  In fact, the American Institute of Cancer Research says marinating can reduce carcinogenic activity by 92-99%.

Some other tips are to cook at lower temperatures, flip often, never char your meat, and keep away from direct flame.

Marinating grass fed beef also makes it much more tender (as it is not as marbled) and gives it much more flavor.

Basic Grass Fed Beef Grilling Marinade 

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Let marinate for at least 30 minutes but the longer the better.

This is one of my favorite summer salads.  These tomatoes and basil came fresh from my garden which made them even more delightful.

Caprese Salad

Fresh garden roma tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil
Fresh, raw mozzerella
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Slice the tomatoes and mozzerella.  Stack a tomato slice, a basil leaf, and a mozzerella slice.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Spicy Tropical Dressing

Core Plan

This is a great warm weather salad dressing with a kick to it.  Feel free to use it as a sauce for chicken or fish as well.

1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup fresh pineapple
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 orange squeezed for juice
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp minced jalepeno pepper
2 sliver red onion
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Process all ingredients in a blender until well combined and then drizzle in olive oil at a lower speed.

Serving suggestion:  Serve over fresh greens (spinach, spring mix), red onions, pineapple chunks, organic bell peppers and add grilled chicken or salmon if desired.

Adapted from  Cooking Light July 2010

Sweet & Savory Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

This is a great sweet salad.  The addition of the Advanced Plan approved fruit makes it a different, delicious treat.  This is a restaurant calibur salad that makes a great presentation.  Make if for a crowd.


Makes 4 servings

6 cups Organic mixed greens
2 cups Organic spinach
1 cup walnuts, whole or coarsely chopped
4 Handfuls Blackberries (for garnish)
1-2 Granny Smith Apples
Organic Roasted Turkey or Wild Caught Smoked Salmon
1/2 cup organic gorgonzola cheese, optional
1 avocado, sliced, optional

Blackberry Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon grapeseed or coconut oil
1 tablespoon grated onion or shallots
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 pint blackberries
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon spoonable stevia
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

In a non-toxic (non-teflon) skillet, heat the coconut oil over med-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook for about a minute.  Add the blackberries and let break down (about 1-2 min).  Pour in the vinegars and stir to combine.

Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and add the stevia, salt, and pepper.  Blend until smooth and add the olive oil slowly with blender or food processor.  If you want to remove all seeds, strain through a mesh strainer.

Place the greens on a plate.  Put remaining ingredients as desired and drizzle with dressing.  For a nice presentation, put apples, blackberries, walnuts, and turkey in sections around the edges of the greens.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Dinner tonight was one of those instances where I was in a rush and admittedly lacking a plan.  I stood with the refrigerator door open hunting for ingredients.  I came across spinach and bacon and the lightbulb went off.  I had a flashback of a classic restaurant salad that I have avoided for years because it is usually made with pork bacon.  I decided to take a stab at adapting it to be Maximized Living “approved” and it turned out fabulously.  It has the crunch of the turkey bacon and the sweet and sour tang of the dressing which makes it a perfect adaptation of the original.

1 package baby spinach (about 9-10 oz) or that much washed spinach leaves
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
4-5 pieces of organic turkey bacon, chopped
¼ cup onion, grated or minced
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons xylitol
OPTIONAL:  Chopped hard boiled egg, mushrooms, red bell peppers

Put the spinach (and optional vegetables if desired) in a large bowl.  Fry the bacon in the grapeseed oil until crisp. Remove, drain on paper towels and chop.  Keep the leftover oil in the pan and cook the onion in the fat for 2-3 minutes, and then add the garlic – cook for 15-30 seconds but DO NOT let the garlic brown.  Add the vinegar, and scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Add the salt, pepper, and xylitol. Stir to dissolve, and pour the dressing over the spinach.  Top with the chopped bacon.

Great Summer Salad – Chicken on Greens with Pears & Candied Walnuts w/ Fresh Rasperry Vinaigrette

This was a super easy and delicious salad that the whole family loved.  It’s great for hot summer days when you don’t want anything heavy.  The bright pink of the dressing against the greens makes for a beautiful presentatio.  If there could be such a thing as a dessert salad, this would be it.  Just assemble the following:

I started with some Chicken Savoy (recipe in the   Maximized Living Nutrition Plans book) but any type of sliced chicken will do.

Baby Greens

1 Pear, sliced

Candied Walnuts– 2 handfuls walnuts (I made extra for snacking), 2 tablespoons melted butter, xylitol & cinnamon to taste.  Mix nuts with butter, xylitol & cinnamon.  If desired, you can LIGHTLY roast them in the oven and let cool or just set them aside without roasting.

Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette

1/2 cup grapeseed oil
a couple of pinches of stevia
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
half of 1/2 pint fresh raspberries, about 1/2 cup (you can also use frozen raspberries if desired)

Combine all ingredients except berries in food processor or blender and process briefly to emulsify. Add berries and process until liquid.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups. Store in fridge and shake or whisk well before using again.

OPTIONAL:  gorgonzola or goat cheese crumbles