Yogurt Chicken Salad

 

 

I will admit – I LOVE mayonnaise. Not just any mayo, but the Best Foods straight up bad stuff. I used to adore white sourdough sandwiches layered thick with mayo and salami. Mmmmm … but ever since learning how bad store bought mayo is, I have cut it out of my diet. (note, real mayo made at home or with real ingredients is just fine). The mayo I like from the store is made from soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, etc. All of these come from GMO crops. Your body can’t break down soybean oil well and treats it as a toxin, sending it straight to the liver. Anyways, this is a conversation for another day … I digress.

At the gym, I try to pretend I don’t know about store bought mayo and I often get myself a treat: the chicken salad snack. It’s soooo good. I KNOW it’s made with the addictive Best Foods mayo.  So I decided I have to take matters into my own hands and find a way to recreate this yummy dish without the mayo at home. Right now, I don’t have the time or interest to make my own mayo – although maybe someday I will and I will use the previous link when I do!  So for now,  I wanted to try a quick yogurt alternative. I played around, and this recipe is very similar and quite tasty. Would be excellent to make a huge batch and have it ready to go throughout the week for an easy healthy lunch.

Chopped cooked chicken breast (i used a costco rotisserie chicken)
Chopped red or green onions
Dried cranberries (trader joes and costco both carry brands that do not add sugar to their dried fruit!)
Sliced grapes
Chopped apple
Sliced almonds
Garlic powder or salt
Black pepper
Plain yogurt

Mix and determine amounts as needed. You can see my amounts in the picture. Play around with what suits your taste buds. Enjoy on bread or wrapped in lettuce!

Advertisements

Apple Parsley Salad Dressing

 

 

Tasty!  This was easy to put together too – perfect on any salad.

Ingredients:
1 medium green apple, seeded and quartered
1 Tbs. agave nectar (optional) – I used 1/2 tbsp honey
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 scallion, coarsely chopped
¼ cup parsley
sea salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs. water
½ cup olive oil

Directions:

1. Add all the ingredients, except the olive oil, to a blender and blend until finely chopped and well combined

2. Continue blending and add the oil in a slow stream, scraping as needed to create a smooth emulsion.

Thai Chicken Quinoa Salad

The best part of this salad is the dressing! Yum! Salads are great because you can pick and chose what to include based on what you have. I wanted to use up our leafy greens, so I added them – but didn’t have carrots, edamame, or cilantro. We didn’t miss those too much! The quinoa and chicken made this salad a hearty meal.

Thanks to Bites and Mel’s Kitchen for this recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 lime juiced, about 2 tablespoons
  • Pinch of ground ginger

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. I usually cook quinoa in low-sodium chicken broth: 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/2 cups liquid.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, combine all of the sauce ingredients together in a liquid measure and whisk to combine (or pulse in a blender). When the quinoa finishes cooking, scoop it into a large bowl. Stir in the sauce and mix well. Stir in the chicken, carrots, edamame, red pepper, green onions, peanuts and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Make Your Own Salad Dressing

 

 

Making salad dressing was one of those gnostic skills that I thought some people had and some did not. I was of the have not. The few times I tried to “throw together” a salad dressing, it tasted like oil. So I gave up and bought the bottles, trying to work around all the zillions of weird ingredients that goes into a simple salad dressing.

After getting more serious about what we were eating, I decided to chuck the salad bottles again. Saving money on dressing, as well as the health benefits of making your own, forced me to get back in the game.

I found with a little information, making your own salad dressing isn’t so hard. You just need a good base. You can jump off that base and get creative – as long as the ratios of oil and vinegar stay the same.

So here’s how to mix up your own! Super simple. Use whatever you have in your fridge.

Base:

3 parts olive oil
1 part vinegar (red wine, balsamic)

Chose some add ins:

Splash of Lemon/Lime/Orange Juice
Scoop of brown mustard
Scoop of hummus
Salt
Finely Fresh Herbs
Seasonings
Minced onion or garlic
Shredded cheese
Mashed avocado
Salsa

Too Tangy?  Make it creamier – Add in some plain yogurt/mayo/sour cream

Garlicky Zucchini and Squash Ribbon Salad

Bring it on, summer! This salad was super yum! With all those tomatoes, squash, and basil you are going to be seeing around soon, this salad is a must have. It would be great to bring to a pot luck! My kiddos ate it up, exclaiming several times how much they liked the “squash pasta”. Hey, whatever name works. This calls for zucchini, but I used yellow crooked neck squash. Seriously. Try it.

Also, let me give a great shout out to Post Punk Kitchen. Loving all their vegan options – even though we aren’t vegan – they have some great stuff!

1 cup diced fresh tomato (from 1 average sized tomato)
10 large basil leaves, thinly sliced (plus extra small leaves, to garnish)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic (personally, I used half of a bulb green garlic, diced)
1 lb zucchini, peeled into ribbons

Sea salt
Fresh black pepper

Don’t worry about getting the zucchini into perfect ribbons. Simply give the zuke a preliminary peel so that you don’t have too much skin (unless you like that.) Then place on a cutting board and peel into rustic ribbons, turning the zuke as you go. You might have a little nub left over, so just slice it up and add to the salad. Really, you can’t go wrong. Anyway you slice it (har har) it’s going to be great.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the tomato, basil, vinegar, olive oil and garlic. Add a big pinch of salt and some fresh black pepper. Let that sit as you prep the zucchini.

When zucchini is ready, add to the bowl and using your hands, toss to coat. Taste for salt. Garnish with basil leaves and serve!

~ If you’re looking for a more substantial salad, you can bulk it up. Add chickpeas, toasted walnuts, and avocado. Yum!

~ Use a non-serrated peeler if you can, or your ribbons will have ridges. Not the biggest deal, but probably worth mentioning.

~ You want to serve this as soon as possible, to retain its crunch and freshness. If you let it sit for awhile, it will become more like a slaw.

Updated Quinoa Salad

 

 

I’ve posted a similar quinoa salad before, but this one I like even better. The tip on toasting the quinoa is awesome! Use this as a base, and then add whatever you’d like or whatever you happen to have on hand. Remember, quinoa is a great grain that also is a complete protein!  You can also cook your quinoa in veggie or chicken broth.

SERVES 4

Do not add oil or butter to the pot when toasting the quinoa, as it will make the grain taste slightly bitter. To make this dish spicier, add the chile seeds. After 12 minutes of cooking, there will still be a little bit of water in the pan, but this will evaporate as the quinoa cools.

INGREDIENTS (Base)

  • 1cup quinoa, rinsed and dried on a towel
  • 1 1/2cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cumin

SUggested inclusions:

Red Bell Pepper
Cilantro
Corn
Parsly
Jalapeño
Black Beans
Tomatoes
Pine Nuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Toast the quinoa in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until the quinoa is lightly toasted and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Stir in the water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer until the quinoa has absorbed most of the water and is nearly tender, about 12 minutes. Spread the quinoa out over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside until it is tender and cool, about 20 minutes.
  2. 2. When the quinoa is cool, transfer it to a large bowl. Stir in the onion, and any extra add ins you want. In a separate bowl, whisk the lime juice, oil, mustard, garlic, and cumin together, then pour over the quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
  3. TO MAKE AHEAD: The quinoa salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; season with additional salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste before serving.

SUPERFOOD!

Following up with the healthy eating, here are two great SUPERFOOD meals to kick off your new year! YUM!

Superfood Salad:

Spinach & Kale (SUPERFOOD!!) – http://www.kalesuperfood.com/what-is-kale/

Avocado – healthy fat! we are learning how important it is to include healthy fats into your diet, plus they keep you satiated throughout the day, helping to regulate your blood sugar.

Chia Seeds (SUPERFOOD!) – great source of Omega 3’s http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/content/en/dave_foreman/chia.jsp

Cacao Nibs (SUPERFOOD!) – huge way to get magnesium into your diet – http://livesuperfoods.com/raw-cacao-nibs.html

Parsly – yep, just a few springs torn up add some in! .Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It contains iron and folate and is loaded with flavonoids. It has more vitamin C than an orange!  It’s mostly in the stems so don’t throw those out.

Almonds – healthy fat

*then toss in whatever else you like in your salad – carrots, celery, dried fruit.  IF you add some chicken, salmon, or a hard boiled egg this becomes a complete meal!  Protein, fat, and carbs!

Superfood Oatmeal:

Steel Cut or Rolled Oats, cooked

Frozen or Fresh Blueberries: wonderful antioxidants

Almonds – healthy fat!

Chia Seeds (SUPERFOOD!) See above!

Raisins or Dried Fruit – add if you want something to replace your sugar

Cacao Nibs (SUPERFOOD!) – adds some extra caffeine to your meal, see facts above!

Cinnamon

Pat of Butter – helps regulate the carbohydrates, keeps your blood sugar from spiking and keeps you fuller longer!

Whole Milk – chose whole, not low fat. Low fat milk is packed with sugar to make up for the loss of flavor in fat. It is also very processed to remove the fat, and powdered milk flakes are added back into it to make it look like “milk”. Whole milk is not processed like this – what you see is what you get. Plus you need less to feel full if you drink a higher fat content milk. Preferably go with grass fed, but of course that’s harder to find! Read more … http://flaxandhoney.com/2012/10/02/dairy/

Fiesta Salad

Dsc_7892

You want to eat this salad. The dressing is addictive. Do you see
how much dressing is here on this small salad? That poor little
spinach leaf is drowning … that’s because the salad is only a
vehicle to eat said dressing. If you’ve been to dinner at our house
in the last few weeks, you’ve eaten this salad. And then I have
happily eaten the leftovers for lunch, snack, dinner again …

If you are like me, the first few years I started cooking, I had no
idea what vegetable to serve with Mexican food. Mexican resturants
aren’t the best at offering good mexican veggie side dishes – no one
ever really likes that pathetic helping of iceberg lettuce with a
dollap of sour cream. So I was VERY happy to be introduced to this
yummy creation from my Not Without Salt cooking class last June. If you are in the Seattle area, I 
highly recommend taking one of Ashley’s classes – they are the best!  Check out her site here: Not Without Salt

Fiesta Salad


Dressing:

3 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 mexican cotija cheese grated
1 scant tsp salt
1 green onion, minced

Combine all ingredients. Taste and season highly with salt if needed.

Salad:

Romaine or leaf lettuce, chopped
1/2 jicama bulb
3 oranges, segmented into supremes
1/2 pepitas

(and anything else you have around – i’ve added carrots, cucumbers, feta …)

Cornbread Salad

Dsc_5316

I found this recipe on Bites (http://jessieheaviland.blogspot.com/2008/11/cornbread-salad.html) – and it was super yummy.  We could hardly tell it was vegetarian!  And proof that it was easy to make, because it was the first meal I made after Timothy – somehow I got it on the table with an infant crying and a toddler running around.  I hope to someday get a trifle bowl, to make this salad look as pretty as Jessie's!  Highly recommend!

One 9-oz package of cornbread mix
One 4.5-oz can chopped green chiles
1.5 cup light mayo
1.5 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I use twice this much total)
3/4 cup lime juice
3 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 head of lettuce, shredded
One 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained WELL
One 11-oz can whole kernel corn, drained WELL
One 8-oz package reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, chopped and drained

Prepare cornbread mix according to package directions, adding chiles. Cool and crumble. Set aside.

Process mayo and next 4 ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Set aside.

Layer a 4 quart bowl with 1/2 of the lettuce (I add the other 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro to the shredded lettuce), 1/2 of the cornbread, 1/3 of the dressing, and 1/2 each of beans, corn, cheese, pepper, onions, and tomatoes. Repeat layers.

Top with remaining 1/3 of dressing. Cover and chill 1 to 2 hours. Garnish with green onion curls.

Updated: Nordstroms Mixed Berry Salad

Dsc_5204

Katie made this for us, absolutely delicious. And what a great way to
use those summer berries you’ve been picking (or buying …!)

Hurry up and make this whie blackberries are in season!

***Here is the actual recipe from the cookbook!

Candied Walnuts:

Vegetable Oil, cooking spray

1 large egg white

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

 

Blackberry-Champagne Vinagrette:

1 shallot, quartered

1 small clove garlic

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

dash of white pepper

1/2 cup champagne vinegar (white wine vingear works, too!)

1/3 cup blackberries

1/2 cup candied walnuts

1 1/2 cup canola oil

 

Salad:

1 lb mixed baby greens

1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and julienned

1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese (i subbed in feta, but i think the bleu cheese was better!)

2 cups candied walnuts

kosher salt

pepper

1/2 pint raspberries (subbed in blueberries, which were great!)

1/2 pint blackberries

1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved

 

Directions:

To make the candied walnts, preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray bottom of rimmed baking sheet with the cooking spray.  In a bowl, whisk the egg white until it is completely foamy and no liquid remains.  Fold in the walnuts and brown sugar, then toss gently to coat evenly.  Arrange the walnuts on the prepared bakcing sheet, keeping the individual pieces separate. 

Bake until the egg white sugar mixture is cooked through and the nts are golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Loosen the nuts form the pan with a spatula and set aside on a plate to cool.  Measure out 1/2 cup for adding ot the vinaigrette and the balance for adding to the salad.  (The nuts can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container).

To make the Blackberry Champagne Vinaigrette, in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the shallot and garlic and process until finely minced.  Add the mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar, blackberries and the 1/2 cup candied walnuts and process to combine the ingredients thoroughly.  With the machine running, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream to form an emulsion.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To assemble the salad, in a large bowl, combine the greens, chicken, blue cheese, and the 2 cups walnuts.  Drizzle about 1 cup of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to coast all the ingredients.  Season to tase with the salt and pepper.  Add two thirds each of the raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries and toss gently to mix well.

Using tongs, transfer the sald to chilled salad bowls or plates, building height in the center.  Scatter the remaining berries evenly on top of the salads.  Serve immediately.