An End of Summer Dinner Party: The Main Dish

bruschetta, salad, lemonadeTo make the most of the rest of Summer, I was fortunate enough to have Chef Shayna help me plan a menu, prepare the food and throw a casual End of Summer Dinner Party. We created simple, delicious and (mostly) healthy recipes with the goal of using food that’s in season and will make our guests feel great + summery!

Our friend, Brittany, came over and we had so much fun just in Shayna’s kitchen, learning how to properly chop and make dishes we hadn’t before. If you’ve been wanting to plan an activity with friends, get in the kitchen!


Drink: Refreshing Lemonade with a healthy twist (a cocktail version too!)

Appetizer: Bite-Size Bruschetta Cups

Main Dish: Chicken Summer Salad with strawberries & goat cheese

Dessert: Mini Peach Cobblers Summer recipe_bruschetta_filling the cupsYesterday’s post was on the bite-size bruschetta cups. Today’s is the Main Dish – the Chicken Summer Salad, which could also be accurately called “A Bowl of our Favorite Things”. All of the ingredients used in the salad are really good individually. When combined they make a sweet and savory explosion! SR_summer salad_overhead shotLight and nutrient-rich spinach and butter lettuce with flavorful chicken, smooth avocado, sweet strawberries, creamy goat cheese, crunchy pistachios and deep olive oil makes for a colorful, protein + healthy fat-packed salad.

The good thing is that this salad would be great anytime of the year. For Fall, instead of strawberries, swap in any other fruit that’s in season, like figs or grapes. SR_drizzle with balsamic glazeLovely Chicken Summer Salad:

servings: 4


  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken, deboned + cubed or 3 grilled chicken breasts, cubed
  • 6 ounces of spinach (about a bag)
  • 6 ounces of butter lettuce (about a bag)
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta or goat cheese (we used goat cheese)
  • 5 cups strawberries
  • 1/2 cup raw pistachio kernels from Keenan Farms or ½ cup candied pecans – or any of your favorite nut
  • 1-2 avocado, chopped


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • drizzle of balsamic glaze (we used Trader Giotto’s)

Prep: SR_lettuce up closeChop or tear + combine the lettuces in a large salad bowl. SR_deboned + cubed chickenSR_add chicken to saladIn this order (the thinking is heavy to light ingredients), add the rotisserie chicken. SR_avocadoThen, add the avocado. SR_slice strawberries 1Add the strawberries.SR_goat cheese crumbles 2Then, the goat cheese.SR_raw pistachio kernelsSR_add nuts to saladand finally the pistachios. SR_add olive oil to saladDrizzle olive oil over salad, then balsamic glaze. SR_drizzle with balsamic glazeSR_final summer salad_close upSR_summer salad on plateSince it’s so bright and beautiful, wait until your guests have seen it, then toss right before ready to serve!

Check back in for the Mini Peach Cobbler recipe…

Photos by Photography by MJD for A Lovely Life.

Find out more easy + great recipes your friends, family + kiddos will love at

I’d love to know – do you have a favorite Summer salad recipe?



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