Donal Skehan

Spicy Chicken and Avocado Salad

I constantly go back to this salad dressing, I can make it in my sleep! I  get annoyed at myself for using it so much at times, but it really does  taste good and it’s a cinch to make. Opt for streaky rashers, as the  more traditional ones won’t crisp up and crumble into the salad.

Serves 2
2 chicken breast fillets
2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 ripe avocado, stone removed and cut into thick slices
About half the leaves of a cos lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bitesize pieces
1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in half
4 streaky rashers

For the dressing
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed through a garlic press
A generous seasoning of sea salt and ground black pepper

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl, or pop into an old jam jar, stick the lid on and give it a good shake!

Sprinkle the chicken with the cajun seasoning on a plate, and then place a frying pan over a medium high heat with a little olive oil.  Fry the chicken on both sides for about 4 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.  You can check if they are cooked by slicing through the thickest part of the chicken breast, if there are any signs of pink, throw it back on the pan.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a chopping board.  Keep the pan on the heat and fry the bacon until crispy. Slice the chicken and bacon thinly.

Place the cherry tomatoes and torn lettuce leaves in a bowl and toss with half the dressing. Assemble the salad on serving plates, topping with with the chicken, avocado and bacon.  Drizzle over the rest of the dressing, sprinkle with a little ground black pepper and you are ready to eat!

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Balsamic Chicken, Avocado & Radish Salad

Even my just about overripe Avocado, is one of the true underrated super foods- It’s packed with essential fatty acids, Vitamin K and antioxidants- it also makes a lovely face mask! (But you didn’t hear that from me…) Radish’s are often linked to aiding digestive problems and are beneficial for the teeth and gum’s- So overall this salad is packed with nutrition and is a perfect Good Mood Food recipe!

Serves 2
2 free range chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
A good pinch of black pepper
1 red onion, cut in half and sliced wafer thin
1 avocado
6 radishes
A large handful of oak leaf lettuce leaves

For the dressing:
1 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
A good pinch of sea salt

If you have the time to marinate the chicken breasts overnight, by all means go ahead. Remove any fat or skin from the breasts and place in small resealable bag. Pour in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of black pepper. Seal and give a good shake. In a jar, bowl, or whatever you want to make your dressing in, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk or shake to combine and set aside.

Heat a large frying pan, until just before it begins smoking, and place the chicken on it. You shouldn’t need any extra oil as olive oil is used in the marinade. Cook for approximately 4–5 minutes either side then remove from the heat. Let it rest for a few minutes (if you can wait) and slice into thin strips. Place a good handful of lettuce leaves on each plate and scatter with the red onion.

Slice the avocado in half and remove the stone. Spoon out the green flesh, slice into thin strips and arrange on top of the salad. Give them a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning. Cut the radishes into quarters and place on the outside of the plate. Arrange the chicken strips on top of the avocado and using a spoon drizzle the dressing over the salad.

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Avocado, Parmesan and Rocket Pasta

As I may or may not have mentioned I am addicted to avocados! They are packed with healthy nutrients and vitamins so all the more reason to eat them. I have been coming up with different recipes just to stick them in to my diet and this is one of my favourites. Look for avocados which are slightly soft to the touch when you press them with your fingers. The only thing to remember about avocados is that, unless you give them a spritz of lemon juice they tend not to like sitting around, so always prepare them last.

Serves 4
250g of wholemeal pasta
70g of rocket leaves, roughly chopped
2 avocados
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
A good handful of grated Parmesan cheese
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according the instructions on the pack.

While the pasta is cooking, add the rocket, Parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl and set aside. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and then add it to the bowl. Pour in the vinegar and olive oil and stir the pasta until it is nicely coated.  You should end up with stringy cheesy green pasta- YUM!

Slice the avocados in half and remove the stones, slice thinly and add to the pasta. Serve straight away and devour!

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Bacon Avocado and Sundried Tomato Sandwich

Try and choose some tasty bacon from your butchers, it will make all the difference!

Makes 4 tasty sandwiches
4 rashers of good quality bacon
1 nice ripe avocado
4 slices of Irish brown bread
A little butter to spread
75g of sundried or sunblushed tomatoes roughly chopped
A pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

Place 4 rashers under a hot grill and cook on both sides till crispy.  Toast 4 slices of Irish brown bread.

Slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and carefully scoop out the flesh.  Slice the avocado into half moon pieces. Butter the slices of toast and place a rasher of bacon on each slice.  Top the bacon with pieces of avocado and tomatoes.

Sprinkle with a little sea salt and ground black pepper.  Serve straight away.

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Avocado and Lime Salsa

This little recipe is so basic anyone can do it. It requires absolutely no cooking and is essentially all preparation. I wasn’t always a big fan of avocados and have only recently started eating them. But boy have I been missing out! These tasty little fruits are like a whole meal on their own and, packed with nutrients, they are a really powerful antioxidant food. This salsa is a brilliant way to serve avocados and even more perfect to munch with tortilla chips. Adjust the quantity of ingredients to your own taste. I like things hot, so use less Tabasco sauce if you want a milder mix.

Serves 4 as a snack
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lime
1⁄2 red onion
1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon of olive oil
A good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut the avocado lengthways and remove the stone.

Scoop out the green flesh and chop finely, but don’t worry too much as it all turns a bit mushy when you add the rest of the ingredients.

Add a squeeze of lime juice to stop it discolouring and add to a medium sized bowl.

Chop the red onion finely and add to the avocado.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients with the onion and avocado to your desired consistency and that’s it. Enjoy!

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