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May 22, 2013
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Colorful Cooking column: Strawberries signal summertime

Fire up the barbecue or pack the picnic basket; it’s a holiday weekend. Most people refer to Memorial Day as the “unofficial” start to summer. I feel the start of summer is when pallets of plump, blood-red strawberries show up in stores. They are a healthy, colorful choice at parties and a great alternative to snacks that increase your waistline and blood pressure.

Strawberries added to a lean, protein-packed piece of chicken add a fresh, sweet flavor and are full of antioxidants and fiber. They improve heart health by raising blood folate levels, which reduces buildup. All berries are cancer fighters, and strawberries have ellagitannins, which prevent colon and cervical cancer.

There’s no fighting the fact that bacon is delicious and provides a necessary smoky crunch to this sandwich. Everything in moderation is truly the way to eat. If you deprive yourself, you are likely to eat more calories trying to get what you need and desire.

Don’t waste the calorie splurge by not cooking the bacon properly. When my husband and I were dating, we went on a hut trip, and the guy who cooked the breakfast bacon burnt it to a black, inedible crisp. My husband was infuriated. That said, I never burn the bacon. If you start your bacon in a cold pan, it’s less likely to curl up. Cook it slow and low, with care.

This strawberry, chicken, avocado and bacon sandwich can be served warm or at room temperature. It’s easy to pack in a cooler, individually wrapped. If you are pre-assembling, be sure to toast the inside of the bread or spread a thin layer of butter on the inside of the roll to avoid soggy bites, then wrap tight. For a hearty appetizer, cut the sandwich into quarters and serve speared with toothpicks.

strawberry, Chicken, avocado and bacon sandwich

Serves 4

3-4 chicken breasts

8 slices bacon

1 avocado

1 cup strawberries, sliced thin

1 teaspoon dried parsley

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

4 rolls

Slice the chicken in half horizontally to make thin breasts. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and generously season the chicken on both sides with parsley mixture. Heat the grill over medium, place the chicken on the grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Cook the bacon according to package directions, drain on paper towels. Mash the avocado in a bowl with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper and a splash of lemon juice, if you have it. Slice the rolls, brush with olive oil and place them cut side down on the grill set to low for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook 1 to 2 more minutes.

Assemble the sandwich by spreading the creamy avocado on one side of the bread, top that with sliced strawberries, bacon, then chicken and cover the sandwich.

Cut the sandwich in half and use toothpicks to secure it.

Tracy Miller is TV8’s in-house cook, shares recipes Saturdays on “Good Morning Vail,” teaches cooking classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards and hosts private cooking parties. Contact Miller at tracy@colorfulcooking.net.


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The VailDaily Updated May 22, 2013 06:00AM Published May 23, 2013 03:02PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.