Tag Archives: chicken

Spinach salad with strawberries

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Spinach salad with strawberries is my second-favorite salad of all time, a close second to quinoa and spinach salad — and no surprise there, since they contain many of the same ingredients.

I think a big part of what keeps this one at the top of my list over other green salads is that I only buy strawberries when they’re in season. (My test for whether they’re good and ripe? If there’s a box of them at table height and I can smell them when standing over them, they’re good!) And since here in Kansas, good strawberries are only available April through June, this salad is a rare treat.

(SO jealous of my niece who lives in California, and can get amazing ripened-in-the-field strawberries year-round!)

It’s good with or without chicken, and all ingredients can be adjusted to your taste.

Spinach salad with strawberries

Recipe: Spinach salad with strawberries

For each individual salad:
2.5 oz. baby spinach (or thereabouts)
sliced fresh strawberries, to your taste (maybe 1/2 a cup?)
1 – 3 T. feta cheese, seasoned or plain
red onion, sliced thin; amount to taste
1.4 c. pecan halves (or to taste)
half of a seasoned, cooked chicken breast (about 3 oz.) – optional
balsamic vinaigrette or onion poppyseed dressing, to taste

Combine all ingredients; toss; enjoy!
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Nutrition info, according to myfitnesspal.com:
Calories: 444
Carbs: 17
Fat: 32
Protein: 24
Sodium:  780
Sugar: 9

Emergency, quick, easy BBQ sauce

Emergency BBQ sauce recipe
Everybody’s got a bottle of BBQ sauce in their fridge, right?

Except, of course, if you’ve already been to the store, and the meat is in the oven, and you don’t want to go back out again. True story.

But a little desperation is often the beginning of a great new recipe.

A little googling turned up a recipe which claims to be “A Very Popular BBQ Sauce.” It looked quick and simple, so I used this as the starting point for my DIY BBQ sauce. I needed to scale it down, cut back on the sugar, and replace the hot sauce. I was very happy with the result! I think you will be, too.

(Note: Unless you’re using homemade ketchup, there will still be sugar and/or corn syrup in the ketchup. Here’s a sugar-free ketchup recipe.)
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Emergency easy BBQ sauce

1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar (or 1/4 c. maple syrup, and omit water)
3 T. water
3 T. red wine vinegar
1-1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce (or more if you like it, or optional if you don’t have it)
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. adobo sauce, or more if you like it spicy (optional; adds heat and smokiness)
1/8 t. salt

If you’ll be applying the sauce to meat that’s going back on grill or oven, you can just mix it up and add it in/on.

If serving as a condiment, it will benefit from a brief heating….

Put everything in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir till well combined and cook for one or two minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

Remove from heat and let cool.

photo credit: The mofoJT via photopin cc

12 Mediterranean Diet Recipes to Try

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With more and more evidence pointing to the Mediterranean Diet as both good for you and easy to live with, I’ll be exploring more of these recipes. Here are a few I’ve got my sights on…

Grilled Rosemary Salmon, also from Eating Well
Insalata Caprese II, via AllRecipes
Spinach and Feta Pita Bake — sort of a 15-minute pizza; via AllRecipes (400+ reviews; 4.5 stars)
Mediterranean Chicken, made entirely stove-top; via AllRecipes
Fattoush Salad is ubiquitous in Wichita, and with good reason: Lebanese is our strongest ethnic influence here — plus, it’s delicious. Here’s Kalyn’s Fattoush recipe.
Greek Feta Yogurt Dip, from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
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And a couple bean salads to try (no good pics):

Recipe review: White Bean Chicken Chili

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I saw a yummy-looking recipe for White Bean Chicken Chili pinned on Pinterest the other day and thought it sounded like great food for a snow day. But when I looked up the recipe, it didn’t sound so great. The recipe was scaled to feed a crowd, and used very little actual chicken.
I still loved the idea, though, so I hit AllRecipes and found this one there.
White Bean Chicken Chili
Photo from AllRecipes.

I made a couple minor tweaks: I only used one can of beans, and skipped the cayenne. I also used already-roasted chicken breasts from Dillon’s deli to cut down on some time and effort. (The secret to getting juicy roasted chicken at the grocery store? Pick it up at 3:30 or 4 pm. By 5 or later, they’ve been sitting under heat lamps too long and have become nasty-dry.)

This was a hit with my husband — and that’s sayin’ something, because he is an avowed soup-hater! And he even commented on how good the chicken was. He’s not really a huge fan of chicken, either.

I liked it because it was fairly simple to throw together. And yes, yummy! (A tiny bit too spicy for me, but then, I’m a spice wimp.)

If you’ve already made traditional chili in the last week but you’re not out of snow days yet, this is great cold-weather food! White Bean Chicken Chili, via AllRecipes. Husband and wife approved.

Six yummy salads with chicken

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It’s summer, and that means salad! Now that you know how to make easy roasted chicken breasts, here are six of my favorite salads with chicken breast:

salads with chicken - club salad

Orange-cranberry chicken salad

salads with chicken - Asian chicken salad
30-second Caesar salad — shown here with deli turkey, but you could make it with shredded or thinly sliced chicken, too.
salads with chicken - Almost-Panera's Asian chicken salad
Do you have a favorite salad that uses already-cooked chicken?

Easy roasted chicken breasts

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make-ahead roasted chicken breasts

One of the best things you can do to make quick, healthy dinners more doable is to have some already-cooked chicken on hand. The stuff you buy ready-cooked at the grocery is loaded with salt, probably has corn syrup in it, and doesn’t taste all that great. Here is the simplest, lowest-hassle, and most delicious method I’ve found for make-ahead roasted chicken breasts.

If you want to be super efficient, make enough to stash for future use, plus enough for dinner tonight, and serve it straight out of the oven — it’s great on its own, too!

Recipe (really, just a method):

Roasted chicken breasts, to use in recipes

Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
Olive oil (about 1 teasp. per breast)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray or oil it. Place the chicken breasts, skin side up, in the pan with an inch more more between them. Brush the tops liberally with olive oil, then lightly with salt and pepper, according to your taste. Place a meat thermometer 2″ into the fleshy part of the largest piece, trying not to hit bone. (Which would make the temperature misread.) Here’s my favorite brand of thermometer.

Bake uncovered until the internal temperature hits 165 F. If you don’t have an accurate thermometer, the skin should be a light golden-brown…

…but the juices should also run clear. To clearly see the color of the juices, slip a white dish under the edge of one breast and poke a hole just above it. Let some juice run into the dish, and look at it in good light. This test looked a little pink, so I stuck the chicken back in for about five minutes.

But also be careful not to overcook it! That’s what makes chicken tough and dry. If in doubt, pull it out a little on the underdone side. The outer and smaller parts of the chicken will probably be cooked through, with a little more pinkness in the center. Save the more-done pieces for salads and sandwiches; use the slightly underdone pieces for dishes that will get cooked some more, like soups, casseroles, and enchiladas.

If you’re serving the chicken right away, though, make sure that everything you serve is cooked through.

To store for future use, let chicken sit at room temp or in the fridge till it’s cool enough to handle. Pull off and discard the skin. Pull the chicken meat off the bone. Discard the bones. You can bag the meat and store as is, or cut into bite size pieces, or shred — whatever works for your use. Store in tightly covered containers or plastic bags.

The FDA says that cooked chicken can be kept three to four days in the fridge, or up to four months in the freezer.

Tomorrow I’ll post a round-up of six of my salad recipes that use chicken!

Recipe review: Hummus salad dressing, Mediterranean salad

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Last week, Kalyn’s Kitchen posted a recipe for Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Dressing, and I made it for dinner that night. I mean, hummus-based dressing — how genius is that?

To suit our tastes, I made a few tweaks.

  • Added a sliced roasted chicken breast, for added protein. (Picked up at the deli.)
  • Swapped out red wine vinegar for the lime juice in the dressing. (To suit the hubs’ taste.)
  • Added a little Splenda; again for my husband. I love things sour; him, not so much. (I mean he doesn’t like things sour; not that I don’t love him so much!)
  • Substituted sun dried tomato slices for the olives, since neither of us are olive fans.
  • Sprinkled a little zaahtar seasoning on top.

It made a tasty, easy-to-throw together meal. Still plenty zesty, even with the tweaks. Two thumbs up!

Chicken club salad with creamy balsamic vinaigrette

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Working from home has its perks and its challenges.

One of the perks is making yourself lunch every day.

One of the challenges is making yourself lunch every day.

For me, answering “What’s for lunch?” usually starts with a peek in the fridge to see what protein options I have on hand. With the weather warming up, I feel like a salad pretty much every day, but it’s got to have some protein.

On this particular day, I had a bit of roasted chicken, but just a small portion; not enough to make even one serving of orange-cranberry chicken salad.

So what else was in there for protein? Some fully-cooked bacon. I’m okay with using bacon as a flavor accent, but it’s not really healthy enough to be the main protein in a meal, IMHO. Hard boiled egg would round things out nicely. Now we’ve got a chicken club salad!

So I grabbed a few eggs and boiled them. It just takes a few minutes, and ever since I got this handy little egg timer, my hard boiled eggs come out perfect every time. The product description says it best:

 Simply add the egg timer in with your eggs and boil… There’s an easy-to-read scale within the timer. During the course of boiling, the timer changes colors, from red to purple, starting from the outside edge and moving to the center. When the color change reaches your desired spot on the scale, the eggs are cooked accordingly.”

So although I just wanted one egg for my salad, I make a couple extra for deviled eggs, tomorrow’s lunch, or who knows what. While the eggs were boiling, I fried up some of the bacon. Since it’s fully cooked, that’s not really necessary, but I like it crispy.

I chopped up some romaine, and sliced a little red onion very thin. Then, to whip up the dressing.

This is based on a super-simple dressing recipe I learned from a friend…

Dressing option 1:

1-2-3 Dressing

1 part sugar (or maple syrup or honey)
2 parts balsamic vinegar
3 parts olive oil

You just combine those in a jar and shake them up. Easy-peasy, right?

But there are two things I don’t like about that. First of all, it’s got sugar. And although you can sub another sweetener, I’ve found that sweetener-based dressings don’t cling to the greens like the sugar-based version does.

Also, it tends to separate easily. So here’s my solution:

Dressing option 2:

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 packets Splenda (or sweetener of your choice equiv. to 4 t. sugar)
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. mayo
2 T. olive oil

Put the sweetener and the vinegar in a small jar. Swirl it around until the sweetener is mostly dissolved.

Then add in the mayo and shake it up well, until no more white flecks can be seen on the inside of the jar. Then add the olive oil and shake again.

This makes enough for the generous dressing of one good-sized salad, or two smaller ones.

The addition of the mayo helps both with making the dressing cling to the salad, and keeping it from separating.

So, by this time, your eggs should be done. Rinse them with cold water for a minute or so, then shake the pan so the eggs smack against each other, to crack the shells. Then remove the shells, and slice up as many as you want for your salad.

Assembly time: romaine, chicken, egg slices, bacon, sliced onion. I wasn’t in a cheese mood on this particular day, but you could certainly add feta, bleu, Swiss, or shredded cheddar to this. Then drizzle dressing over the top and toss lightly.

Chicken club salad, with bacon and hard-boiled eggs

There you have it: a fresh, healthy, delicious salad, in less time than it would take you to drive to a bistro and read the menu!

I call that a perk.

You might also like:
30-second Caesar salad
Ginger-peanut salad dressing
Make-ahead Tex-Mex salad