Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Copycat Sonoma Chicken Salad

My adult-self is in love with chicken salad! I remember being very turned off by this dish when I was younger, but now I LOVE it! The only issue is that this dish can easily become very unhealthy. I recently had this chicken salad at Whole Foods Market and I absolutely loved it, and the recipe is even posted on their site! I have recreated the recipe to suit my fancy, it's a bit healthier but every bit as yummy. Enjoy!

Sonoma Chicken Salad
2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (about 3-4 C.)
(I have also used thighs or drumsticks, whatever I have on hand)
2 C. seedless grapes, cut in half
3/4 C. crushed pecans

1 C. lite mayo or mayo with olive oil
4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
6 tsp. honey
2 tsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2-1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder (optional)

1. First, combine chicken with grapes and nuts in a medium mixing bowl.
2. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over chicken mixture and toss well. Cover and refrigerate 2-24 hours before serving.
*Serves 4-6*

**To make this healthier I serve this over spring salad mix and will often add some cherry tomatoes. I LOVE bread, especially croissants, but my belly and hips definitely do not so I serve this as a true salad.**

p.s. To make this process even easier I typically cook my chicken in the crock pot, on low for 4-6 hours, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cooking the chicken this way also makes it more tender.

Cooked chicken, crushed pecans, grapes sliced in half.

Dressing ingredients.

Yummy poppy seed dressing!

Kiddos' Favorite Snack Balls!

My boys are definitely boys, they are wild, they fight over everything, they smell like wet dogs when they've been playing outside, and they LOVE their mom. It amazes me, on a daily basis, how sweet my little monsters can be. Boys truly do love their mothers and my boys really love helping me in the kitchen. We love these snack balls because they are so simple and are so much fun to make. Plus, they are ready to eat within minutes, which makes everything better! Another great thing about this recipe is that it's easy to adjust it to your liking. I hope you love this recipe!

Kiddos' Favorite Snack Balls
3/4 C. peanut butter (or almond butter)
1 C. old fashioned oats
2/3 C. coconut flakes (toasted if you'd like)
1/2 C. ground flax (or flour)
1/2 C. chocolate chips (raisins, craisins)
1/2 C. honey
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla Reliv powder (or other nutritious shake powder)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until evenly mixed. Use a spoon to scoop out mix, then roll into balls (this is perfect for little hands!) and place on a plate (not touching).
2. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before placing in an airtight container or bag. Store in refrigerator.

*Makes about 20 balls when using a large dinner spoon, 30-40 when using a small spoon.*

p.s. As I said earlier, you can really adjust this recipe with whatever ingredients you'd like. Some ideas I have for you are:

-crushed nuts
-sunflower seeds
-dried fruit, chopped
-half brown sugar & half honey or maple syrup

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quinoa Salad Bowl

Who doesn't love a delicious, healthy, dinner that's ready in less than 30 minutes?! Things get a little crazy in my house - my husband works a lot and I spend my days with my two very wild munchkins. By 5 p.m. I am exhausted and desperately want to get food on the table before my kids (and I) completely lose it. So, needless to say, I love simple dinners that I can make quickly while also providing great nutrition for my family. Quinoa is fantastic because it's full of nutrients, easy to cook, delicious, and very versatile. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as my family and I do!

Flavorful Quinoa with Corn
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 C. quinoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 C. sweet corn kernels (frozen)
3 C. vegetable or chicken broth

1. Heat the oil in a small pot on medium heat. Add remaining ingredients, except broth, and cook for about 3 minutes (stirring often) until fragrant and quinoa is making a popping noise.
2. Turn heat to high and add broth. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer until cooked - about 20 minutes.

*While sauteing quinoa, begin cooking beans.*

Sarah's Go-To Black Beans
1 15oz. can black beans
1/2 -3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 - 1 tsp. black pepper

1. In small pot, on medium-high heat, add black beans (plus a can-full of water), and seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low heat until quinoa is finished (or 20-30 minutes).

*****Assemble Your Salad Bowl*****
Layer torn baby spinach or spring salad mix, quinoa, beans, cheese, and tomatoes in a bowl then serve! This recipe will serve 4-6 people.

p.s. I also like to add sliced avocado, salsa and even some crushed tortilla chips (Nacho Libre style) to my salad bowl, it's delicious!

*You can also add cooked chicken, taco meat, and even fish for a little extra something :) *