Tasty Healthy Salad

Many of us attempt to lose weight after the holidays. But fad diets don't appeal to everyone.

To help solve that problem, chef Mark Strausman shows The Early Show a meal that is light on calories, but heavy on taste — something he says is important when trying to limit your intake.

Strausman is the owner of two popular Manhattan restaurants: Campagna and Fred's at Barneys, N.Y. He says a downfall of his job is that he tastes everything in the kitchen and it all goes to his waistline. But, he has managed to incorporate a healthy approach to food to keep the weight off and yet enjoy all the flavors great meals have to offer.

He believes incorporating protein to meals gives your body nutrition and adds flavor. One of his favorite ways to do this is to create salads with shrimp, chicken or steak. The salad is the main course. The protein will give you energy and fill you, without fattening you up.

Strausman says he believes the salad dressing is where so many people turn a healthy salad into something very fattening.


Warm Chicken Salad with Capers, Olives and Tomatoes

8 ounces mixed salad greens (mesclun), or a mixture of at least three lettuces such as red leaf, Romaine, endive, radicchio, arugula, frisee, watercress, and Boston
6 boneless, skinless chickens breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour for dredging
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed of salt or vinegar
3 plum tomatoes, diced
12 black brine-cured olives, such as Nicoise or Gaeta, pitted
20 basil leaves, torn by hand into small pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Arrange the salad greens on serving plates.

Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper. Working in batches, spread about 1/2 cup of flour out on a plate and dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken as it is dredged and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and add the balsamic vinegar. Heat over medium heat until simmering. Add the browned chicken and toss to coat. Add the capers, tomatoes, olives, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss, add the olive oil, and toss again. Divide the chicken mixture on top of the greens, grind pepper over the top, and serve immediately.

Baked Pears in red wine
4 whole pears
1/2 cup cranberries
11/2 cups sugar
2 cups red wine
2 cinnamon sticks
6 walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden raisins
5 cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 medium green apple
1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 lemon
Fresh whip cream optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Core pears, leaving the stem on. Do not peel. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, raisins, brown sugar and the five cranberries.

Mix well and stuff into the cavities of the pears.

Stand pears upright in a small baking dish. Sprinkle with white sugar. Lay cinnamon sticks in the bottom of the dish, add cranberries and pour red wine over pears.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until pears are tender.