Showing posts with label lunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lunch. Show all posts

Apr 14, 2014

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad with Arugula

I first made this recipe well over a year ago when my in-laws were visiting. It was a big hit but it, of course, got buried deep within my notebook of recipes that I've pulled out of magazines.  I recently pulled that notebook out and went through the many, many collected pages and made a mental note to make this very soon.  I remember that we all really liked it but I forgot how great it is to have around for lunch!

The tender chicken, herbed vinaigrette, crunchy cabbage, sweet apples, and the savory wild rice all come together for a very delicious salad that is a great replacement for your everyday boring lunch fare.  This would be a great addition to an Easter brunch or pretty perfect for a bridal or baby shower.  Or you can just eat it for several days for lunch as we did.

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad with Arugula
Printable Version
adapted from Meet Me at the Garden Gate by the Junior League of Spartanburg, via Southern Living

½ cup uncooked wild rice, cooked to package directions and cooled
2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 apple, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely sliced purple cabbage
4 oz. arugula

Herbed Vinaigrette
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. fresh herbs, minced, any combination (basil, thyme, oregano, tarragon, parsley, etc.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place cooked and cooled rice in a large bowl. Add cooked chicken, green onions, celery and apples.
2. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a glass measuring cup and whisk to combine. Pour about ½ of the vinaigrette over the chicken and rice mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and additional vinaigrette to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. After chilling, serve salad on a bed of sliced cabbage and arugula. Serve with additional vinaigrette if desired.

Sep 30, 2013

Honey-Lemon Pasta Salad

I know that cold pasta salad probably doesn't seem super fall-ish as far as food goes, but I just love the ease of them.  I love that we can have lunch for several days from just a few minutes work.  On top of that, this particular pasta salad hits on all the high notes - sweet, salty, savory, crunchy, has (almost) everything.

After an evening filled with a kiddie birthday party, we still needed to eat dinner and luckily, there was a Fresh Market right next door.  I was looking for something light and as soon as I saw a honey-lemon pasta salad sitting in the display, I knew I had to try it.  I'm not proud to say that I ate way, way too much of it that night.

I pretty quickly found a recipe that looked really similar to the ingredient list and I bookmarked it away for another time.  I finally got around to making it at home and it was honestly just as good as the version in the store!

Honey-Lemon Pasta Salad
Printable Version

12 oz. small pasta shapes
½ bell pepper, finely diced (any color)
1 roasted red pepper (fresh or from a jar), finely diced
1 cup mandarin orange segments, drained, rinsed and chopped
2 tbsp. finely diced red onion
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:
⅓ cup olive oil
zest of ½ lemon
juice from ½ lemon, plus more as needed
2 tbsp. honey, plus more to taste
pinch dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to cool down quickly; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, add bell pepper, roasted red pepper, mandarin oranges, red onion and cilantro. Add pasta.
3. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, honey and thyme together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over pasta and toss everything together to combine well.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, to let flavors meld. If necessary, drain some of the liquid. Top with the sunflower seeds just before serving.

idea from The Fresh Market, recipe slightly adapted from Me and My Pink Mixer

Sep 25, 2013

Roasted Chickpea and Vegetable Salad

I'm pretty sure that everyone struggles with what to make or eat for lunch from time to time, I know that I do.  While a sandwich is easy, it's not always all that filling or satisfying.  Sometimes you just want or need more.  Enter this salad.  It's full of vegetables and chickpeas then topped with an herb filled dressing.  I've made this so many times, with so many variations, and every time it's great.  I make a large batch and we eat it for several days.  It's a great way for me to use whatever vegetables I have around.  Feel free to swap out with whatever you like.  I've added kale to the roasting pan instead of spinach and used a myriad of vegetables.  Play around with it and find your favorite combination!

Roasted Chickpea and Vegetable Salad
Printable Version

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or 2 medium tomatoes chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 poblano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
About 1 ½ cups corn (cut from a cob or frozen that has been defrosted and patted dry)
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 large sweet potato, finely diced (or leftover cooked sweet potato, diced)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbsp. olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 oz. fresh spinach
1 roasted red pepper, chopped (You could also roasted a chopped bell pepper with the other vegetables.)

For the dressing:
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. fresh herbs (any combination - parsley, chives, basil, cilantro…)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil, set aside.
2. Add the tomatoes, poblano or jalapeno, red onion, corn, chickpeas, carrots, sweet potato, and garlic to the baking sheets. Toss with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables into an even layer on both sheets and roast about 25-35 minutes until vegetables begin to char slightly, stirring once or twice and rotating baking pans halfway through.
3. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a glass measuring cup and whisk to combine.
4. Place the spinach and roasted red pepper into the bottom of a large bowl and carefully add the roasted vegetables on top of the spinach. Pour the dressing over the top and stir to combine and wilt the spinach. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold.

adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from How Sweet Eats

Jun 3, 2013

Greek Pasta Salad

I'm such a sucker for pasta salad, especially in the warmer months.  I love that I can make it for lunch one day and then enjoy it for several days after - usually it just gets better and better on those subsequent days, too.
This pasta salad is particularly light and extremely flavorful.  Packed with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, herbs and a light dressing?  Definitely a perfect lunch.  (Also great for a BBQ or with grilled chicken for an easy dinner.)

Greek Pasta Salad
Printable Version

12 oz. dried pasta shapes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, cut lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
¼ cup olive oil
juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Feta cheese, for topping

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to package directions. Drain and rinse well, cool to room temperature. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and add tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, and olives. Toss to combine.
2. In a glass measuring cup whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and zest, basil, parsley, oregano, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine well. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

slightly adapted from Publix Family Style magazine April/May 2013

Apr 3, 2013

Goat Cheese and Asparagus Pasta

I picked up a bunch of asparagus at the grocery store recently with no idea about what I was going to do with it.  I like asparagus but James isn't a huge fan of it so when I was in search of a lunch dish that wasn't a sandwich, I turned to pasta.  Not exactly a light lunch but I knew we were having a light dinner so it balances out, right? ;)

The combination of the creamy and tangy goat cheese with the still crunchy asparagus was perfection.  Adding lemon juice and zest along with tomatoes and parsley made for a really awesome lunch that came together in the time it took to cook the pasta.  Reserving a little pasta water to add to the goat cheese made for an easy sauce, too.

Goat Cheese and Asparagus Pasta
Printable Version

½ lb. pasta shapes
½ lb. asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1½-inch pieces
zest and juice from ½  lemon
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 oz. goat cheese
2 tbsp. parsley, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to package directions. During the final 3 minutes of cooking, add in asparagus. Reserve about ½ cup hot pasta water.
2. Drain pasta and asparagus and run under cool water for about 10 seconds, just enough to stop the cooking.
3. Return pasta to the pot and place back on stove top. Add in zest and lemon juice, tomatoes, goat cheese, and parsley. Stir to combine, adding pasta water as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat gently if necessary before serving.

adapted from Bon Apetit

Oct 29, 2012

Greek Veggie Wraps

Even though I stay-at-home with Jack now instead of teaching, I still find myself scrambling for lunch ideas that aren't a sandwich.  James often takes leftovers to work with him so that is usually not option for me.

I almost always end up eating a sandwich but that gets boring so quickly.  I was browsing through lunch ideas that I'd pinned over time and came across this wrap.  I had major grocery shopping to do so I added them to my menu for the week and picked up what I need to make them happen.

These will definitely change up a boring lunch routine in a hurry as they are packed with bright flavors that made me actually want to eat lunch.  I love anything that is Greek inspired but the options are really and truly endless.  I love that this is a meatless meal but is hearty enough to keep this pregnant lady full for a long time. :)  Definitely a great addition to your lunch repertoire.

Greek Veggie WrapsPrintable Version

10-inch wraps or tortillas Hummus - favorite flavor, store bought or homemade
Cooked couscous
Baby spinach leaves
Quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
Julienned carrots
Chopped banana peppers
Quartered Kalamata olives
Crumbled feta cheese
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Only make as many wraps as will be eaten within a few hours.1. Lay a wrap/tortilla out and spread with a thin layer of hummus. Top with couscous, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, banana peppers, olives, and feta. Drizzle with a small amount of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold wrap in preferred style and enjoy.

very slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

May 1, 2012

Panera's Stove Top Mac & Cheese with Peas

I didn't grow up on baked mac & cheese, I grew up on The Blue Box and I loved it.  I really didn't know any differently until college and a friend brought over a baked mac and cheese.  Heavenly, I tell you.

With that being said, I actually still prefer stove top mac and cheese to a baked version.  To me, it just stays creamier and that's what I'm usually looking for.  Don't get me wrong, baked mac & cheese definitely has its place in my world but I'm usually going to gravitate towards a creamy, saucepan version.  It's just what I like.

As soon as I saw this recipe on Smells Like Home, I checked my refrigerator to make sure I had enough cheese and I set out to make it for lunch.  I figured this had to be something that my picky toddler would eat and eat it he did!!  He absolutely chowed down on this and so did I.  It was the perfect blend of cheeses and with the addition of peas, I didn't feel so badly about how much we both ate.  ;)

I had some cheese sauce leftover after I mixed it with the full box of cooked pasta, so I just froze the remaining sauce and then made more pasta another time for an easy meal.  I think the amount of cheese sauce you use just depends on taste and preference.

Panera's Stove Top Mac & Cheese with Peas
Printable Version
16 oz. small pasta shapes
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
4 oz. American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces
8 oz. extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp. – 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard (adjust according to preference)
½ cup frozen peas
1 tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. hot sauce

1. In a large stockpot filled with salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 ½ minutes, whisking constantly.
3. Slowly add in the milk, whisking until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.
4. Remove sauce pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses, one handful at a time, allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Add in the peas then stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce.
5. Return pasta to the pot that it was cooked in and add desired amount of cheese sauce. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through.

slightly adapted from Smells Like Home, originally from Panera

Apr 18, 2012

Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad

It's no secret that I love Pinterest but sometimes it's more evil than good.  By that I mean that I will be seriously trying to stick to a meal plan and then I'll see a recipe that I just have to make right then.  Right then!  (Is that just me?)  Or I'll see a craft that I must try and I have to go to the hobby store ASAP.

Such was the case with this chicken salad.  BUT, I actually had all of the ingredients on hand, including several avocados that really needed to be eaten.  

I knew this would be a winner solely because it included avocado but then you add in black beans, chicken, corn, tomato, cilantro, and lime juice and I nearly fell over with each delicious bite.  The addition of crushed up tortilla chips give it a nice and needed crunchy texture.  This would be good over cous cous or with quinoa, as well.  It would even be great over some crunchy romaine lettuce.  I cannot wait until the rest of my avocados ripen up so that I can make this again and again.

Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad
Printable Version
Serves 2-3

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
⅓ cup corn
⅓ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small tomato, diced
¼ cup cilantro, minced
¼ cup tortillas chips, crushed
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 tbsp. mayonnaise
 juice of ½ lime, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2-4 avocados, sliced in half with pits discarded, diced and skins saved for serving (only dice avocado as needed to preserve freshness and prevent browning)***
Tortilla chips, crushed

1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken, corn, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro together. Add the vinegar, mayonnaise, and lime juice to mixture and stir to coat. Add salt, pepper, and more lime juice to taste. Spoon into halved avocados and top with desired amount of avocado and crushed tortilla chips. Serve immediately.

***To preserve avocado, leave pit in half or portion that is not being used, rub flesh of avocado with lime wedge, and press plastic wrap firmly to the surface. Store in the refrigerator, wrapped and cut side down.

adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

Mar 12, 2012

Spanish Rice {Secret Recipe Club}

I always have so much fun when I find out which blog I was assigned each month through Secret Recipe Club.  I always eagerly anticipate that email.  As usual, I wasn't disappointed as I was assigned For the Health.  Faith has an amazing story and I spent hours over the course of a couple of weeks reading so many of her posts.

Like I always do, I bookmarked a bunch of recipes that had to go back and dwindle them down so that I could choose which one to blog for today's reveal.  I finally settled on this Spanish rice for several reasons.  The number one being that I knew that Jack would eat it.  He loves black beans so I knew that this would be a winner for him and it was.  I also chose it because I've made other versions of this recipe in the past and they have definitely been less than stellar.  But this one is definitely a keeper.  Everything just comes together so perfectly and with so much flavor.  I ended up eating this as my main course the night that I made it.  I then stuffed it inside of tortillas with a little cheese for James to take to work on his late nights!

Spanish Rice
Printable Version

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ medium onion, minced
½ bell pepper, any color, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 (15 or 16 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (4 oz.) can green chilies
¼ cup frozen corn
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained but liquid reserved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

1. Bring 2 cups of stock to a boil and stir in the uncooked rice, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes (or until rice is cooked).
2. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add in onion and pepper and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
3. Stir in black beans, green chilies, corn, and drained tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and add in chili powder and cumin. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. 4. Once rice is cooked, add to bean mixture and stir to combine. Add additional reserved tomato liquid if needed. Season to taste.

adapted from For the Health

Mar 2, 2012

Greek Quesadillas

I really love the versatility of quesadillas, the options are truly endless.  But I have to admit, I was skeptical about this Greek version.  It just didn't appeal to me at first and I'm not sure why.  I love Greek flavors and I love quesadillas so it seems like a no-brainer but it definitely was not.

I finally came around after seeing these beauties pop up all over the place.  They are just the perfect mix of flavors and a great way to use what you have on hand.  I didn't give actual measurements in my recipe below just for that reason.  These are definitely a "to taste" meal.  I would be cautious with the amount of black olives and/or sun-dried tomatoes that you use, they can be overpowering.

When I make quesadillas for all of us, I usually use my griddle because I can make more than one at a time, a skillet works perfectly though, too.  There aren't any real tricks to making quesadillas except to keep the heat around medium.  If the pan is too hot, they will burn and/or stick and you'll end up with a mess.  You might be tempted to turn them early but the crisper the tortilla is, the easier it is to turn.  Use the largest, flattest spatula you have to turn them, or even use two depending on how large your tortillas are.

Greek Quesadillas 
Printable Version
Large (10-inch) tortillas
Olive oil
Fresh spinach leaves, chopped
Red onion, thinly sliced
Sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Kalamata olives, sliced
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Crumbled feta cheese
Oregano (dried or fresh)

1. Very lightly brush one side of tortilla with olive oil and carefully flip over so the oiled side is facing down on cooking surface. Heat large skillet or griddle over medium heat.
2. Sprinkle the chopped spinach leaves over the bottom of one tortilla, leaving a small rim around the edge. Layer with red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, cheeses, and oregano. Top with second tortilla and brush with small amount of olive oil.
 3. Cook, turning once, until each side is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Slice into triangles and serve warm.

adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from A Couple Cooks

Sep 14, 2011


Panzanella is one of those salads/foods that I was skeptical about.  I mean, it has flavors that I love together and it's no secret that I'm a huge bread fan but I was worried about soggy bread because that is just a no-no in my book.  I knew I wanted to make this bread so when the Italian sandwich bread finally became stale, I set out to make this salad.  This was definitely a "duh, why haven't you tried this sooner" moment.  :)  The flavors are all so bold and delicious together that it barely made it out of the bowl that I was combining in it and into a regular bowl before I scarfed down the entire salad.  Fresh tomatoes, red onion, basil, a simple vinaigrette, and bread all make for a filling and very appetizing lunch (or light dinner).  I'm pretty sad that it's the end of tomato season because  now I'll have to wait awhile to have this again!!

Printable Version

about ½ loaf stale crusty bread, 2 to 3 days old
 ¼ cup red wine vinegar
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tomatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes
½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

 1. Cut bread into 2-inch slices and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk 2/3 cup of the olive oil, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the bread cubes, tomatoes, basil, and feta to the vinaigrette and and toss to combine.
2. Allow to marinade for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Heavily adapted from  Giada de Laurentiis, Everyday Italian

Jul 20, 2011

Lemon, Tuna, and Chickpea Salad

Tuna fish falls into that same category as banana bread for me - I have a love/hate relationship with it. Sometimes, I want a tuna fish sandwich so badly that I will do just about anything to have one, other times, it makes me green in the face.  Obviously, when I made this salad, I was on the love side of the relationship.  :)  This salad was seriously surprising.  I thought that it would be good, an easy lunch to throw together, but really, I was blown away with the flavors.  The lemon and chickpeas with the tuna make for a filling and mouth-watering meal.  I ended up making this twice in one week.  We'll see how long this tuna fascination sticks around.

Lemon, Tuna, and Chickpea Salad

1 (15 oz.) can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can albacore tuna, drained
2 green onions, sliced
½ cup mild banana pepper rings, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
mixed spring greens

1.  Combine chickpeas, tuna, green onions, banana peppers, 1 tbsp. olive oil, lemon, and parsley in a medium bowl.  Stir to mix.  Season with salt and pepper.
2. Spoon tuna mixture on top of spring greens and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Season again with salt and pepper if necessary.

adapted from Branny Boils Over, Erin's Food Files, Fake Free Food

Apr 18, 2011

Tortellini Salad

This dish holds special significance for me because one of the first times that I went to my in-law's house (before they were my in-laws) by myself, my mother-in-law had this for me to eat.  I can't remember why I went over there without James, it was probably only for a few minutes that I was there without him, but for some reason, this dish always reminds me of that day and that was the first time that I remember feeling really, really comfortable with the people who would later become my family!

I have blogged this before but I felt like it deserved to be somewhat rescued from the archives.  Beyond having such a great balance of flavors, this salad has such great textures.  The chewy tortellini, the soft spinach, the creamy all just works so well together.  This is always my go-to dish when I need to make lunch for a bunch of people.  It holds up really well and is good for a day or two after it's made so you can make it ahead of time or enjoy it for leftovers.  Either way, it's definitely a memorable salad.

Tortellini Salad
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 pkg. Kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 (16 oz.) bag tortellini (frozen or fresh)
1 6 1/2 oz. jar marinated artichokes, reserve marinade
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 c. black olives, sliced
1/2 c. feta, crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. green onion
1 (5 oz) bag fresh spinach leaves, torn or chopped
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced
1 tsp. dried basil 
1/4 tsp. dried dill

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat and add Kielbasa.  Brown 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
2.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook tortellini to package instructions.  Drain well.
3.  Once Kielbasa is well browned, place in a large bowl.  Return skillet to stove top and reduce heat to medium.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, tablespoon reserved artichoke marinade and 1 tsp. white whine vinegar.
4.  In the bowl with the Kielbasa, combine tortellini, sausage, olives, feta, artichokes, green onions, tomatoes, spinach, and garlic mixture.  Toss to combine well.  Add basil and dill, season with salt and pepper.  If needed, add more olive oil and white wine vinegar.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Mar 21, 2011

Lighter Chicken Salad {revisited}

I posted this recipe for chicken salad almost exactly two years ago.  It still remains one of my favorite recipes for chicken salad so I thought I better pull it from the archives, take a new pictures, and post any adaptations I've made over time.  This has continued to be my go-to recipe because it turns out great every time.  I still love that it doesn't use an exorbitant amount of mayonnaise and it gives me an opportunity to use buttermilk that I always seem to have leftover.  Really, chicken salad is such an easy dish to throw together.  Once you cook the chicken, everything gets mixed together and you're done!  I say this is a recipe but really, it's just a list of ingredients. :)  What's not to love?

Lighter Chicken Salad
adapted from Everyday Food

3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp. red onion, minced
2 tbsp. parsley, minced
1/2 cup sliced grapes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring well to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Jan 19, 2011

Broccoli Slaw Salad

This is a dish that I first had only recently at a baby shower. I wasn't sure what to expect with raw ramen noodles but it was delicious! The noodles gave it an interesting texture with a little crunch.

I am a sucker for soy sauce, so I am always looking for ways to use it. I am also a sucker for easy lunch recipes. Being at home everyday with Jack, I want a little variety in my lunch routine. This was the perfect way to spice things up. It comes together in a snap, no cooking necessary. It keeps well for a couple of days, although the noodles might get a little soft but they still retain their crunch pretty well, so that's a bonus, as well. :)

When I picked up the bag of broccoli slaw, I noticed that there were several sizes. Adjust the recipe according to the amount that you have.

Broccoli Slaw Salad

1 package broccoli slaw mix
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 package ramen noodles, uncooked and broken up (packet discarded)
2 green onions, thinly sliced, green and white parts

For the dressing:
1/3-1/2 cup flavorless oil (vegetable, canola...)
1/4-1/3 cup sugar (start with less and gradually add to taste)
1/4-1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1. Mix slaw, almonds, ramen, and green onions in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together oil, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Pour over slaw mixture a little at a time, mixing and tasting as you go. Store extra dressing in the refrigerator and add to salad as necessary.

Jan 3, 2011

Goat Cheese Medallions

After a couple of weeks of indulgent meals and snacks around the holidays, we needed to eat a few light meals and get back into our normal, somewhat healthier, eating habits. Enter a salad for lunch! I love salad and I love adding whatever we have in the fridge to a salad. With a log of goat cheese in the fridge that was to be used for another meal, I knew that it would make the perfect addition to a salad.

Knowing I wouldn't need the whole log for the other meal, I decided to try my hand at goat cheese medallions. Goat cheese is delicious and creamy on its own, but when lightly breaded, warmed through, and crispy - it's heavenly! These came together in the time it took to make the salad and made for a much more interesting lunch.

Goat Cheese Medallions

1 tsp. olive oil
partial log of goat cheese
1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil a small, non-stick skillet over medium to medium high heat.
2. While pan is heating, gently slice goat cheese medallions from the log, 1/4 inch thick. (Slice as many or few as you need.)
3. In a shallow dish, beat egg white. In a separate shallow dish, add Panko bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
4. Carefully dredge goat cheese slices in egg white then place into bread crumbs. Gently tap on bread crumbs so that they stick. Set aside and continue with remaining slices.
5. Ease breaded goat cheese into hot pan and allow to cook on first side for 3-4 minutes, until browned and crispy. Carefully flip over and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, until second side is browned and crispy.
6. Remove from pan and enjoy!

Sep 10, 2009

Pesto Chicken Salad

When I saw this recipe pop up in my Google Reader from Proceed With Caution, I knew I had to make it for lunch one week! It had all flavors that I love, pesto, olives...yum! My mouth is watering thinking about it! Definitely try this one soon. I ate it for several lunches one week with crackers or on a sandwich thin.

The original recipe calls for traditional pesto. I had sun-dried tomato and basil pesto in the freezer, so I used that. The recipe below reflects my changes.

Pesto Chicken Salad
from Proceed With Caution via Jenn Cuisine

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1/4 cup of kalamata olives, quartered
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2-1 cup sun-dried tomato & basil pesto
1 lemon
salt & pepper
greens to serve chicken salad on, if desired

1. Combine chicken, celery, scallions, and olives in a large bowl.
2. Add in pesto and juice of 1 lemon.
3. Serve however desired and enjoy!!

Jul 8, 2009

Cobb Salad Sandwich

My Mother-in-Law gave me a ton of magazines when we were visiting last time. I took some to the beach but I saved the cooking magazines for the ride home. This is one of the recipes that I pulled out of Taste of Home.

It's super simple and really good. They were a nice change of pace from the ordinary sandwich. The recipe calls for croissants, but we shopped at Trader Joe's that week and there were no croissants, so I used sourdough rolls. Still very good, but a croissant is delicious and would make this sandwich even better.

This will definitely be going into our lunch rotation.

Cobb Salad Sandwiches
from Taste of Home

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
4 croissants, split (Or bread of your choice!)
4 lettuce leaves
1 medium tomato, sliced
4 cooked bacon strips, halved
4 slices deli ham
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, horseradish and basil; spread over cut side of croissant bottoms.
2. Layer with lettuce, tomato, bacon, ham and eggs; replace tops.

Yield: 4 servings.

May 14, 2009

Cabbage Chicken Salad

This recipe is from my Mother-In-Law, Jan. She gave it to James when he moved out on his own. I have slowly been making my way through all of the wonderful dishes that she shared with him.

I decided to make this for lunch one week. I read through the recipe and was so confused...uncooked Ramen noodles?! Could this be right?! So I Googled and Googled...sure enough, this recipe was all over the place...with slight variations, of course. But all of them called for uncooked Ramen. Interesting. So I forged ahead. I debated about adding the packets from the Ramen first I couldn't bring myself to do it but then I decided that if I'm going to cook with Ramen noodles, I might as well go all the way!! (I did only add 1 packet, though, instead of both.)

This made a really, really great lunch for an entire week! James even said that it looked and tasted just like his mom's! To me, that is a huge compliment...Jan is a REALLY good cook. Yay!

So while there are several versions of this recipe out there, here is Jan's!

Cabbage Chicken Salad
from Jan's Kitchen

1 package cole slaw mix
8 green onions, chopped (I probably only used 4 or so...what I had in the fridge.)
3 cups chicken breasts, cooked and cooled and shredded
4 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 packages chicken Ramen noodles

2 tbsp. sugar
salt and pepper to tasted
packets from noodles (I used 1 packet)
1 cup olive oil (I started with 1/2 c. and added as needed.
6 tsp. vinegar (I used plain old white vinegar.)

1. Toast almonds and sesame seeds in a 350 oven until golden brown.
2. Toss chicken, almonds and sesame seeds, cole slaw, and green onion.
3. Crumble Ramen noodles over the salad.
4. Add dressing.

Mar 22, 2009

Smashed Chickpea Salad

Yay for another delicious lunch option!! I love hummus, so this was right up my alley. It wasn't the easiest lunch to eat at my desk, but it sure tasted great!!

I stuffed a pita with the smashed chickpea salad, tabbouleh, feta and a roasted red pepper slice. It was delicious!! Definitely head over to Smitten Kitchen and read her suggestions...this post does no justice to her salad. I promise.


Smashed Chickpea Salad
from Smitten Kitchen and her inspiration from ‘wichcraft

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons pitted, halved and very thinly sliced black olives
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Zest and juice from half a lemon
Couple good pinches of salt
A few grinds of black pepper
A few glugs of olive oil (to taste)

1. Mix everything but the olive oil in a small to midsize bowl.
2. Very lightly smash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork or a potato masher. You’re not looking for a hummus-like puree but something closer to a coarse chop with a few smaller bits to hold it together.
3. Add the glugs of olive oil, mix it lightly and enjoy.