Tag Archives: salad

Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries and Feta

I was traveling for work last week and had a lot going on which meant hardly any exercise and lots of bad eating. I actually don’t mind traveling for work but at the same time, I love being in a normal routine at home of making good food and hitting the gym. The one morning I actually made it to the gym? It was packed with every machine taken. I did some exercises in my room instead but that didn’t really do me much good for the rest of the week. So this week, I’m back on track. (I feel like I’m always saying that.) Salad…and more salad. Luckily, I came home to the latest Cooking Light magazine in my mailbox which had this Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries and Feta. It seemed meant to be.

Chicken breasts are marinated briefly in simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar before being grilled. Strawberries, arugula, and red onion are mixed with a little more oil and vinegar before being topped with the chicken and tangy feta cheese. This salad is simple and a little bit perfect. Strawberries and balsamic already pair so well together but added with the marinated chicken and spicy arugula, it just makes this salad so hearty and flavorful. I’ve been craving strawberries lately so this was a great way to enjoy them before they are perfectly in season. Salads can be good like that.

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Combine 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. Cut into slices.

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Combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add strawberries; toss to coat.

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Add arugula and onion to strawberry mixture; toss gently to combine.

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Sprinkle feta over salad. Divide salad among 4 plates; top evenly with sliced chicken.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Regular balsamic vinegar

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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Apple Salad with Mustard Dressing

I’m not typically someone who craves salad but with all of the traveling I’ve been doing lately, I could stand to eat a salad or two. Even when I’m home, I try to eat healthy but every once in a while I’ll grab a Hershey kiss or ten. Part of the reason I don’t crave salads that much is because my general encounters with salads are the big restaurant kind with a million ingredients that have just as many (or more) calories than a burger. I’ve come to realize the simpler the salad, the more likely I am to eat it. This Apple Salad with Mustard Dressing is only made up of two salad items and has a lively dressing. So simple. So perfect.

Mixed spring greens and slices of apple make up this salad which is dressed with a balanced yet vibrant mixture of olive oil, cider vinegar, shallot, whole-grain Dijon, and honey. The Dijon is tangy while the honey is sweet and the fresh shallot gives the whole salad a mild little bite. Fresh, thin slices of apple add a sweet crunch. Sure you can add more to this salad if you want – chicken, nuts, carrots, peppers. But the simplicity in this apple salad is the best part about it. Now that’s what I call a salad.

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Combine olive oil, vinegar, minced shallot, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

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Add apple and greens; toss to coat.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Sweet BBQ Chicken Salad

Happy May Day! Summer will be here before we know it so if you find yourself craving a salad, isn’t it good to embrace it? Craving salad doesn’t happen to me often but when it does, I appreciate salad so much.  I was in Tampa visiting friends last weekend and even though we didn’t go crazy with what we ate, we did manage to eat lots of Bombay chicken salad, crackers and cheese.  Oh and wine.  Lots and lots of wine.  Since I’ve been pretty much depriving my body of the food I’ve been craving lately, why not give in to the craving for a salad? This Sweet BBQ Chicken Salad satisfied my craving for salad without being too salad-y or too bad for me (like most salads are these days).

Bright green leaf lettuce, fruit, red peppers, and rotisserie chicken are tossed together for a bright dish.  A dressing made of bottled barbecue sauce, fresh orange juice, tangy mustard and red wine vinegar is drizzled to taste, making this the lightest and freshest barbecue chicken salad I’ve ever had.  My grocery store isn’t carrying peaches or nectarines just yet so I used a crisp Macintosh apple instead (use any fruit you like).  A little dusting of reduced-fat cheddar cheese tops the whole salad but you could leave it off (or load it on) if you like. The barbecue isn’t too sweet, despite the title of the recipe, and a little goes a long way. The combination of the sauce, chicken and fresh fruit and vegetables provides everything I like in a salad so I was happy this made a lot.  I ate it for days.

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In large bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, orange juice, mustard, vinegar, salt, and black pepper.

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To same bowl, add lettuce, chicken, nectarines, and red pepper, tossing to coat and divide among 4 serving plates. Or, layer ingredients onto plates and drizzle with barbecue sauce mixture.

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Sprinkle with cheddar.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Apple for nectarine

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Good Housekeeping magazine

Mardi Gras Slaw

It’s Mardi Gras! Unfortunately, I’m not in New Orleans and instead grumpy about the latest snowfall, which I hope and pray is the last time I mention snow until next winter. I mean, it’s MARCH after all.  Anyway, I’ve never been to Mardi Gras but I have been to New Orleans so I can only imagine what kind of shenanigans are going on on this Fat Tuesday.  I figured this recipe for Mardi Gras Slaw was the most appropriate thing I could make.

Both green and red cabbage are mixed with a mayonnaise-based sauce kicked up with cayenne pepper and mustard seeds.  Shredded carrot and scallions added more layers of flavor making this a light and fresh side dish.  My first bite of this really reminded me of the kinds of summertime slaws I had at cookouts when I was growing up in Illinois and I tell you, it made me smile.  I’ve grown to appreciate cabbage much more in my adulthood so this colorful slaw was a really great find.  Something about it just screams summer to me which I really need at this point considering it was only 5 degrees outside when I woke up this morning.

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Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard seeds, salt and cayenne pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

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Add remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.

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For best results, let slaw chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Light mayonnaise

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Creamy Potato Salad

Well it’s 4th of July week and that means lots of barbecues, cookouts, parties, events, and summertime food!  The fact that the 4th is on Thursday this week kind of stinks unless you are one of those lucky folks who gets/takes Friday off (which I’m sad to say isn’t me). So this week I’ll be bringing you some great July 4th-friendly recipes, like this Creamy Potato Salad to get you in the mood for our delicious day off in celebration of our country’s independence.

Fingerling potatoes are boiled until nice and tender along with one egg which becomes perfectly hard-boiled.  A creamy mixture of sour cream (I used Greek yogurt instead), yellow mustard and light mayonaisse gives this salad a light consistency.  Fresh celery and red onion add bits of crunch and flavor to this salad which makes a great complement to your holiday burgers or dogs. If you’re looking for a simple, basic yet lighter potato salad without all the calories, give this a try. It’s even better the next day.

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The ingredients:

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Place a saucepan filled two-thirds with water over high heat; add egg, and cover. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Add potatoes to pan; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

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Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; add potatoes.

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Peel and coarsely chop egg; add to potatoes.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Sesame-Lime Chicken Salad

Something must be going wrong in the universe because I’ve been craving salad.  As in green leafy vegetables with other vegetables with a light dressing.  When, why and how did this happen?  I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror anymore.  I’m specifically craving the Thai Chopped Chicken Salad from Panera Bread.  I could eat it morning, noon and night.  And there for a little while, I pretty much was.  I got a little embarrassed at my local Panera after my third night in a row there and hoped and prayed that different staff was working and didn’t recognize my loser self.  So I decided instead of spending money on this salad that I can’t get enough of, I might as well try to make my own.  This Sesame-Lime Chicken Salad comes pretty close.

Romaine lettuce, chicken, carrots and red pepper are mixed together with a light sesame-lime dressing.  Crispy Chinese noodles top the salad for crunch and toasted sesame seeds and cilantro are added for another layer of flavor.  Instead of a jalapeño pepper, I used a good old red pepper which I cut up and roasted in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.  To add a little bit of heat and make it a little bit more like Panera’s salad, I threw some dashes of peanut sauce over the top too (my favorite is House of Tsang’s Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce).  Luckily this recipe makes one gigantic bowl of salad so I can eat it often without worrying that someone out there might be judging me.

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The ingredients:

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In a large bowl, whisk together the canola oil, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, chili, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add the lettuce, carrots, and chicken and toss to combine.

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Serve the salad sprinkled with the sesame seeds, noodles, and cilantro.

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Additions:

  • Peanut sauce

Omissions:  none

Substitutions:

  • Red pepper

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Real Simple magazine

Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps

I’m fortunate to work in a building that has a large “cafe” available to employees with a variety of lunch options such as a deli, two salad bars, a sushi bar, brick oven pizza and warm foods that change each day like fish tacos, chicken kabobs or grilled steak and potatoes.  Yet, for some reason, each time I go up there on days when I didn’t bring lunch, I end up walking around the whole place, eyeballing each item to find that nothing looks good and I ultimately end up getting the same thing every time:  egg salad on a spinach wrap.  I know this before I even ride the elevator up 15 floors to the cafe but I always hope each time that something else will strike my fancy.  And it never happens.  The wraps are huge and I’m full after just a half of one but I always end up eating the whole thing.  Oh, and instead of getting baby carrots and celery which are an optional free side, I typically succumb to the question “Do you want chips?”  The word yes comes out of my mouth before I even know what I’m saying and I rationalize it by figuring that I’m already eating so badly with the mayonnaise-laden egg salad that what’s the point of fooling myself with carrots.  I’m a hot mess.  So to keep myself away from the deli counter, I’m bringing in my own Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps for lunch this week.

Nonfat plain Greek yogurt replaces most of the mayonnaise in this recipe, keeping it lighter in calories without sacrificing too much flavor. Keeping a little light mayonnaise in keeps the Greek yogurt from making the egg salad too tangy.  I also added celery for crunch, roasted red pepper for an additional flavor boost and cayenne pepper for a little kick.  Putting the salad in lettuce really keeps the calories down and, depending on the kind of lettuce you use, provides and additional crunch factor, making this a satisfying lunchtime bite.  In additions, if you are watching your Weight Watchers points, one serving has 5 points so you can be on a diet and have egg salad too!  See ya’, deli counter…I won’t be back for a while!

Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps (makes 6 servings)

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup jarred roasted red peppers in water, chopped or 1 red pepper, roasted (see note below)
  • 1/2 cup celery or one stalk, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 6 lettuce leaves, preferably butter lettuce
  • salt to taste

Place eggs in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.  Peel eggs and chop, placing them in a large bowl.  Add yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard; combine.  Add chopped celery and roasted red pepper; combine.  Stir in cayenne pepper and salt.  Rinse and dry lettuce leaves.  Serve 1 cup of salad in lettuce leaves.

Note: To make your own roasted red peppers, cut fresh red peppers in half, remove seeds and ribs, flatten, and broil, skin side up, for 10-15 minutes, until blackened, on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Place blackened peppers in a zip-top plastic bag, seal and let stand 15 minutes. Remove from bag, peel and discard skin; chop.

If you like this, also check out Enlightened Egg Salad Pitas.

The ingredients:

Place eggs in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.

Peel eggs and chop, placing them in a large bowl.  Add yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard; combine.  Add chopped celery and roasted red pepper; combine.  Stir in cayenne pepper and salt.

Rinse and dry lettuce leaves.  Serve 1 cup of salad in lettuce leaves.

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