Who says nothing exciting ever happens in Iowa? Yesterday we got our very first Whole Foods – booyah!
I, along with a good chunk of Central Iowa, have been waiting on pins and needles for this baby to open up, and I, along with a good chunk of Central Iowa showed up to check it out on opening day! Seriously almost lost my mind amongst the crowds, but it was so worth it!
And at least I got to wait the 30 minutes it took to check out in the chocolate aisle.
Whole Foods is a wonderful addition to the community not only because they offer a wide variety of organic products (which is personally my favorite part) and special diet foods (egg & dairy free items for my nephew who has food allergies, for instance,) but also because of their commitment to support local farmers and merchants.
Some people jokingly call it “Whole Paycheck” because, yes, some products can be pricier than at the conventional grocery store, but I truly believe you get what you pay for, and the prices are reasonable if you shop seasonally, and smart. For instance, yesterday there was wild salmon on sale for $4.99/lb. Organic strawberry and blueberry cartons were 2/$4, and organic cherries were just $4.99/lb. That’s insane!
I’m waiting to explore the store to its fullest after the crowds have died down a bit, but yesterday I managed to take a hot lap and grab a giant bag of those aforementioned cherries to make a CRAZY quick and healthy meal of Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa (with a Skinny Cherry Berry Smash on the side!)
You will ADORE this recipe! Juicy cherries mingle with fresh basil, honey, and balsamic vinegar, then are drizzled over 8 minute grilled chicken. This dinner will take you 20 minutes TOPS to prepare. Sorry I keep computer shouting…I’m just a little excited…
Whole Foods is celebrating their 3rd annual Cherry Fest right now through July 24th, which means mounds of these sweet ‘n’ plump cherries will be in abundance at all WF stores nationwide for the next week or so. Get ‘em while their hot!
Start the Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa by pitting 1 1/2lb cherries. I borrowed my Mom’s cherry pitter to do the job, but you can pit them the same way as if they were mini peaches. Slice, twist & pop.
Once the cherries are pitted, roughly chop them up and an add ‘em to a big bowl.
Next add 1/2 cup minced red onions, and 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Then chop up and add a handful of fresh basil, and 2 teaspoons honey.
Finally, add a dash of salt, and 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar. That’s it! Stash the mix in the fridge to chill while you get the chicken ready to grill.
Pound a couple chicken breasts (I used a cast iron skillet) to uniform thickness in a ziplock bag. I like using a bag over plastic wrap because I feel as though a chunk or two always escapes and flies across the kitchen never to be seen or heard from again. Gross.
Brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil, liberally season with salt & pepper, then grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes a side, or until cooked through. You know I like me some fancy seasoning blends, but simple salt & pepper is still tre delish, and really lets the cherry salsa shine through.
Let the cooked chicken rest for 5 minutes, then plate, scoop, drizzle, and serve!
Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa
Slightly adapted from Simply Recipes
1-1/2lb cherries, pitted & roughly chopped
1/2 cup minced red onion
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 chicken breasts, pounded to uniform thickness
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
- Combine cherries, red onion, lemon juice, basil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and salt in a bowl. Place into the refrigerator while you grill the chicken.
- Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with oil then season liberally with salt & pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes a side, or until cooked all the way through. Let rest for 5 minutes before topping with fresh cherry salsa.
Juicy, tart, savory, and sweet – this is one of my favorite fruit salsas of all time. I would make this whole, summery meal again and again, and seriously – 20 minutes to make the whole thing!
I couldn’t let dinner have all the fun, so I combined some more pitted cherries with blueberries and a little booze, and made a Skinny Cherry Berry Smash to sip alongside.
Fresh cherries and blueberries are muddled with mint then topped off with fresh lime juice, dark rum, and no-calorie dark cherry soda. This whole sweet and refreshing drink clocks in at under 120 calories!
Just pit 3 cherries, cut them in half, then add them to a glass with 2 Tablespoons fresh blueberries and a couple sprigs of mint. Muddle with a wooden spoon until the berries are juicy and the mint is fragrant.
Add 1 1/2 shots (3 Tablespoons) dark rum,
then add 1 Tablespoon lime, and 3/4 cup no-calorie black cherry soda. You can use whatever type or brand of soda you like. I chose this soda sweetened with stevia, which I also picked up at Whole Foods.
Stir, and add ice!
Skinny Cherry Berry Smash
Adapted from Eating Well
12 cherries, pitted and cut in half
1/2 cup blueberries
12 fresh mint leaves
6 ounces dark rum
1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes worth)
3 cups black-cherry or cherry flavored soda
Add 3 cherries, 2 Tablespoons blueberries, and 4 mint leaves into each glass. Muddle with a wooden spoon, then add 1 1/2oz dark rum, 1 Tablespoon lime juice, and 3/4 cup soda to each glass and stir. Add ice.
Hope you’ll give these recipes a try sometime!
What’s your favorite grocery store?