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From the food editor: Up your lunch game with this recipe for Chicken, Orange and White Bean Salad

Liven up your work lunch with Chicken, Orange and White Bean Salad.

MICHELLE STARK | Times

Liven up your work lunch with Chicken, Orange and White Bean Salad.

Are you part of the Sad Lunch Club?

Do you, like me, strive to get away from your desk for an hour to eat a meal but find yourself unable or unwilling to take your eyes off the computer?

This is a growing habit of American office workers, as more and more jobs require little more than sitting in front of a screen all day. According to a recent story in the New York Times, "Some 62 percent of professionals say they typically eat lunch at their desks, a phenomenon that social scientists have begun calling 'desktop dining.' "

Instead of giving meals priority, we use the solo time to multitask, to get things done.

This can be good for productivity, but bad for your relationship with food if you are consuming it mindlessly.

It doesn't have to be this way, fellow desk lunchers. You can embrace your routine by bringing homemade meals that nourish and satisfy. If you do it right, packing a lunch from home usually is healthier than dining out: Portions are likely smaller, the fat and calorie content is usually lower — and it's less expensive. That New York Times story also points out that when we eat with other people, we tend to eat more, which seems very true.

This week's recipe is one idea for an exciting work lunch. The recipe is long, but it's not complicated. There are a lot of parts to this meal, but they all require simple preparation methods. And, because you make everything separately, you can prep on the weekend and make enough servings to last you a couple of days.

Now, that's not so sad, is it?

Contact Michelle Stark at mstark@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

easy

Chicken, Orange and White Bean Salad

Chicken, Orange and White Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small bulb fennel, chopped into rough ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons each parsley stems and leaves, separated and chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans
  • 3 oranges
  • 6 ounces feta cheese
  • 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. First, roast the chicken. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Dry the chicken breasts thoroughly with paper towels, then season them all over with salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts on a large baking sheet, skin side up.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.
  4. Let the chicken cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.
  5. Now, cook the red pepper. Turn a gas burner to medium heat and place the whole pepper directly onto the flame. Cook, rotating the pepper every 2 minutes, until the pepper is completely blackened and soft, about 10 minutes total. Alternatively, place the pepper on a sheet pan and cook under a broiler for about 10 minutes, turning the pepper over halfway through. Transfer the hot, cooked pepper to an airtight plastic bag and seal the bag. Let the pepper sit for at least 20 minutes at room temperature so that it steams and then cools.
  6. Take the pepper out of the bag and use your hands to peel away the blackened skin. Cut the top off of the pepper and discard, then peel it open and scrape out any seeds. Cut the pepper into thin strips, then cut the strips into rough ¼-inch pieces.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the fennel is soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and parsley stems, season with a little salt and pepper and cook until the garlic is fragrant and just starting to brown, about a minute more. Add half of the roasted red pepper, chopped into rough ¼-inch pieces, and white beans and cook, stirring often, until the beans start to break down just a little bit, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chopped parsley leaves and stir everything together.
  8. You've now made all of the components. All that's left is assembling your meal on the day you're going to eat it.
  9. Start by making a dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the juice of half of one of the oranges, ¼ teaspoon orange zest, a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and whisk to combine.
  10. Cut the remaining half of the orange into segments. Use a knife to cut the peel off the orange so that there's no white pith left on the outside. Working over a bowl, use a small, sharp knife to cut the segments away from white membrane that separates them.
  11. Put ⅔ of one of the chicken breasts, cut into rough ½-inch pieces, and ⅓ of the white bean mixture in a large container or bowl. In a separate, smaller container, combine the orange segments, 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves.
  12. At lunchtime, microwave the chicken and white beans on high for 1 ½ minutes, until heated through. Toss with the orange vinaigrette, then top with the feta, orange and parsley.
  13. Makes enough for 3 lunch servings, so if you want to make it again, just repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Source: Adapted from Buzzfeed

From the food editor: Up your lunch game with this recipe for Chicken, Orange and White Bean Salad 03/21/16 [Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2016 11:13am]
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