When summer's produce is in abundance we like to create meals that revolve around it, like this one. If you are vegan or vegetarian you can substitute cooked blacked beans or sautéed tempeh for the chicken. I think you'll find the Spicy Avocado Dressing rather addicting! Tom and I like to make a batch of this dressing with the whole jalapeño—seeds and all, but for the children we make it without the seeds.
Did you know that eating a small avocado with a meal containing carotenoids (found in the tomatoes, peppers, and salad greens) helps to absorb these beneficial compounds? Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin all need to be consumed with fat to optimize absorption in the intestines. One also needs to have a functioning small intestine for this to occur (gluten, antibiotics, yeast overgrowth, and environmental toxins can damage the gut and impede absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients). Once in the body these carotenoids act as powerful antioxidants mopping up free radicals. Some of these carotenoids can also be converted into vitamin A (all-trans-retinol). We need vitamin A to assist with gene transcription, proper development of an embryo, various reproductive processes, night and color vision, skin health (acne), cellular communication, and proper immune function. Vitamin A is found in liver, meat, and dairy products. In order to convert carotenoids from plants into vitamin A we need to have adequate zinc and proper thyroid function as the T3 thyroid hormone helps in the conversion process. When pregnant and lactating the need for preformed vitamin A increases quite a bit so be sure to consume enough carotenoids from plants and vitamin A from animal sources, or if you are vegan, be sure to consume enough iodine, zinc, and selenium-rich foods for proper thyroid function so you can properly convert carotenoids from plants into Vitamin A.
Chicken Fajita Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing
When we make meals like this we like to place everything out on the counter and let the children make their own plates with the ingredients they prefer most. They never add fresh tomatoes but love Cucumber Salsa! If you want the dressing less spicy then remove the seeds from the pepper before blending. If you want it really spicy, leave the seeds intact, and just cut the stem off before blending.
4 organic chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
olive oil or coconut oil for cooking
1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
1 small head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
bell peppers, cut into strips
2 small avocados
¾ cup water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, stem removed
1 clove garlic, peeled
handful fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon sea salt
To make the chicken, place all ingredients into a medium-sized bowl or glass pan and gently stir. Cover and marinate on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes or refrigerate and marinate for up to 3 hours. Heat a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil or olive oil. Add some of the chicken, making sure not to crowd the pan (if you add too much chicken at once it will crowd the pan and cool it off causing much of the liquids to be released into the pan instead of searing them in, causing the chicken to dry out). Sauté each batch of chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked through. Place onto a plate to serve.
Place the romaine and napa into a large bowl and toss together. Place the tomatoes and peppers onto a plate. Place and chopped cilantro into a small bowl.
To make the dressing, place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl or jar to serve.
Let each person assemble their own salads. Enjoy! Source: www.NourishingMeals.com
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