Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Better Than Panera

Finding gluten-free options at Panera Bread is nearly impossible.  Even most of there soups contain flour.  I understand, the word bread is in the name of the restaurant, but can't there be some options?  This is not the first time I've had issues with Panera.  See blog post from three years ago about their mindless waisting.  A year later, I also wrote a complaint letter to Panera about their prices and overall C+ quality.  Maybe they could lower their prices if they didn't waist all the heals and ends of their bread.  Did Panera lower their prices, no.  Did they give me a free gift card and apology phone call, yes.  But, that still has not elevated my issues with the company.  Now, I'll just make my own soups, salads, and spreads with integrity, health, and sans gluten. 

One of the most popular Panera salads available this time of year is some sort of strawberry and chicken concoction.  Why not make your own for far less the price and quality control at home?  I did and the Bear said my recipe was even better than Panera. 

Chicken & Berry Mixed Green Salad
(serve with Herbed Goat Cheese Toast)

For the salad:
2 cups grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast chopped into 1/2 inch strips
1 bag mixed spring greens (about 4 cups)
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup finely sliced red onion

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/8 teaspoon herbes de Province

Divide salad greens, strawberries, red onion, and chicken evenly between four plates.  In a small dish, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, and herbs.  Lightly drizzle the dressing over the salads.  Serve with Herbed Goat Cheese Toast, recipe found below.

Herbed Goat Cheese Toast

1/2 cup softened goat cheese (you can use cream cheese if you do not like goat cheese or are looking to save some money)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
4 gluten-free ciabatta rolls (such as Schar brand, they are my favorite from Hy-Vee)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small dish combine goat cheese, parsley, basil, shallot, salt and pepper stirring until combined.  Cut ciabatta rolls in half and place on a baking sheet.  Spread 1 tablespoon of the goat cheese mixture onto each half.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the edges of the rolls are light brown.  Serve one roll (two halves) with the Chicken & Berry Mixed Green Salad recipe above.

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