Homemade Chicken Salad.

If I ate less chicken salad, I’d probably be wealthier.  If I walk anywhere near a deli counter, or a sandwich shop, or a brunch menu with chicken salad on the menu, it’s game time.  Part of the reason I love going home so much (other than of course seeing my parents, hi M+D) is because my dad always has a container of chicken salad chilling in the fridge.  I. Love. Chicken. Salad.

It’s a bit surprising, then, that I’ve never actually made it myself.  I was in New York a few weeks ago, eating a chicken salad sandwich on a fresh, delicious sesame seed bagel with my sister-in-law, and she mentioned that sometimes she made chicken salad for herself.

This was an earth-shattering revelation.

For some reason, I have always assumed that magical chicken salad makers just lived at the deli/grocery store/farmer’s market, just waiting for their opportunity to hop me up on too much mayo.

But no.  I could make this delicious, addicting, amazingness myself.  So I did.

IMG_3979

Homemade Chicken Salad

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • for the poaching liquid:
    • fresh herbs (I used some thyme)
    • 1/2 onion
    • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
    • salt
    • water
  • 2-3 stalks celery, washed and chopped
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • about 1/2 cup mayo
  • about 1/2 plain Greek yogurt
  • about 2 cups red grapes, sliced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • optional: handful toasted nuts
  1. Add chicken and all poaching liquid ingredients to a pan and bring to a full boil.  Turn down the heat and poach gently for about 10-12 minutes (the chicken should be white all the way through).
  2. While the chicken cooks, prep your veggies and grapes and place in a large-ish bowl.
  3. Remove chicken from the poaching liquid when done; discard liquid + contents.  Let chicken cool a bit, and then cut into little cubes.  Add to the veggies.
  4. Add mayo, yogurt, lemon, salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly and taste – add whatever’s missing.
  5. Put your delicious, amazing salad between two pieces of toasted bread, a slice of red onion, and a large Romaine leaf.  Fall in love.

The Verdict:

HOW WAS THIS THE FIRST TIME I MADE THIS!?!?!?!

Advertisements

Smoky Chicken Breast with Roasted Vegetables

Last week we spent four glorious days in Burlington, Vermont with our family.  In addition to hiking, eating, and puzzle-ing, this included one of the most epic LNDPs in which I’ve ever participated.  Lesson learned – the power of an LNDP is heightened through 1) a straight T. Swift soundtrack and 2) your mom/mom-in-law.

I also think the universe is trying to tell me something about New England.  The Husband and I got caught on “flypocalypse” on our way home – meaning we spent an extra two days in Vermont (there are worse places to be stuck).  And…this weekend I head BACK to Vermont for my BFF’s wedding.  I’ll just let that marinate.

Given our quick three days at home, not a whole lot of fancy cooking going on in our kitchen this week.  I bought some fresh herbs, veggies, and fruit – but other than that, we’re making do with what we have on hand.  Like this chicken, inspired by Bon Appetit.

IMG_3933

Smoky Chicken Breast with Roasted Vegetables

  • olive oil (about 1/2 cup)
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 handful smoked paprika
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 (small) handful cumin
  • 1 (small) handful crushed red pepper
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes
  • **2-3 portabello mushrooms, sliced (see below)
  • arugula
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Mix olive oil through salt/pepper in a small bowl, whisk together.  Pour about half of the oil mixture into the yogurt, mix thoroughly, and set aside.
  2. Rub the oil mixture into the chicken on both sides and then place on a baking sheet.  Toss the remaining oil with the tomatoes, chickpeas, and mushrooms and spread alongside the chicken.  Season again with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast everything for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.  Serve on top of arugula with yogurt and parsley.

The Verdict:

I got creative here with the addition of the mushrooms, but truth be told, this would probably be better without them – the roasting makes them release a lot of liquid, which then means the chickpeas don’t roast quite as well.  However, for a one pot meal, this is healthy, tasty, and easy.  The yogurt, says the Husband, is key.

Grilled Curried Chicken Breast and Peach Salad

When the Husband and I were forced to move from our last apartment, we decided to make a big leap and move a whole one and a half blocks down, on the same street.  We are nothing if not adventurous.

Surprisingly, even this small change of scenery meant we noticed things we had never registered before.  For example, the Indian/Pakistani takeout place in the basement next door.  It even had an amazing name, involving the word “sacrificial.”  Um, OK.  Because the first thing either one of us suggests when we get home from a trip is Indian food, we’re in.

Sadly, Sacrificial didn’t live up to our (mental) hype.  So when we don’t want to walk the whole five blocks to our normal Indian place (hey, DC is HOT in the summer!), we have to make our own.  Fortunately, this dish is so easy no one feels like they’ve sacrificed anything.  Recipe adapted from Real Simple.

IMG_3815

Grilled Curried Chicken Breast and Peach Salad

  • about 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2-3 peaches, sliced
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • arugula
  • avocado
  1. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, curry powder, hot sauce and garlic.  Set a little bit aside, for use as your sauce later.  Stick the rest of the mixture in a ziplock bag, put your chicken breasts in there, and make sure they’re coated thoroughly.  Go off on your merry/to work ways, and let marinate for about 8 hours.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium & coat with a little cooking spray.  Toss the sliced peaches with a little salt, pepper and olive oil; grill those about 3-4 minutes.  For the last minute or two, add your scallions.  Set aside and keep warm (I wrapped mine in aluminum).
  3. Remove the chicken from its marinade and add to to the grill, cooking about 4-5 minutes per side, or until done.
  4. Assemble your salad: arugula, avocado, chicken, peaches, & scallions.  Top with a little bit of reserved sauce.

IMG_3816

The Verdict:

I like to make a grilled peach, chicken and goat cheese salad that’s become a staple around here on those summer nights that we realize that we’ve eaten mostly ice cream, chocolate covered pretzels, and/or cheeseburgers.  This is a nice little update that delivers those same healthy-reset vibes, so you can get back to eating ice cream, chocolate covered pretzels, and/or cheeseburgers.

Spicy Sesame Turkey Meatballs & Smashed Chickpeas with Tzatziki

I’ve been waiting all week to post these bad boys.

This past weekend, Husband and I hosted my parents.  Normally, this is a good excuse to shuttle off to that restaurant we’ve been dying to try but can’t quite justify the expense…but since my parents were coming off a 3-day Civil War/college reunion tour, they wanted some home-cooked food. Enter sandman Deb Perelman.

Tip: next time your parents are coming off a 3-day Civil War tour (I’ll let you all ponder that in your heads.  Parental units hopping on and off a bus, checking out battlefields, dressed in orange and/or tiger stripes, chanting about Old Nassau.  My dad , the civil war buff, bopping about in his Abe Lincoln t-shirt.  My mom, the bewildered German, wondering when the part is when she gets to see her kids.  Makes me giggle.) make them this.

IMG_3391

Spicy Sesame Turkey Meatballs & Smashed Chickpeas with Tzatziki (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

for your meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey (use a mixture of lean and fatty meat, so it does not dry out)
  • about 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • small handful cumin
  • small handful coriander
  • large pinch of salt & pepper
  • about a tablespoon of crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (better if toasted quickly)

for your chickpeas

  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • small handful sumac
  • a big bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • a bit of lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch salt, pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper
  • olive oil
  • optional: olives (blech) or anchovy paste (yum), to add brininess

for your tzatziki sauce

  • about two cups plain Greek yogurt
  • about 1/2 cucumber, finely diced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon, plus a little grated zest
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • optional: fresh dill, 1 clove minced garlic (there’s lots of garlic in the rest of this recipe, so I omitted it, or I should say, Husband omitted it, since he’s in charge of tzatsiki in our house!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Comine all of your meatball ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix thoroughly, using your hands, but do not overwork the meat.  Shape the meat into little golf balls.
  3. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large saute pan and brown the meatballs.  Do not overcrowd the pan.
  4. On a large pan covered with aluminum foil (to make your cleanup easier!), bake the meatballs for about 10 – 13 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, get your smashed chickpea salad going.  Combine all of the chickpea ingredients in one bowl, minus olive oil.  Mash (a potato masher works well!) together – leave it a big chunky.  Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste.
  6. Finally, mix all of your tzatziki ingredients together in another bowl.  Season to taste.
  7. Serve everything together, all at once, and let the praise wash over you like a college fight song.

IMG_3385

The Verdict:

I know it LOOKS like a lot, but if you have the ingredients, this is easy-peasy and oh-so-good.  Mom, Dad & Husband all raved about this little combination, which we also served with salad and pita bread…tiding us all over until the next Civil War battlefield tour.

Fiesta Friday: Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Crispy Chickpeas

First off, a very, very happy first-ever block party to Angie and the crew over at The Novice Gardener! I am not a regular over there, more like a creepy neighbor, looking over the fence.  So this time, I’m actually bringing something.  And it’s delicious and totally not creepy.

We ate this recipe, inspired by the Smitten Kitchen, for dinner, but made with smaller eggplants, this is a delectable, decadent appetizer.  (As the Husband said, right after he finished his eggplant off, and right before he heated up some leftover pizza, “this might be too much veggie to be dinner.”)

all lined up.
all lined up.

Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Crispy Chickpeas

for the eggplant & chickpeas

  • 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry (really, you just need one can, but if you’re like me, you’ll eat so many of these as they’re coming out of the oven that if you want enough to actually eat with your eggplant, you should make two cans)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • generous handful each of smoked paprika and garlic powder
  • 1 or 2 large eggplants, or 3 small, Italian-style eggplants

for the sauce

  • 3 heaping tablespoons tahini
  • about 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt (I supplemented with a bit of light sour cream)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon, plus a bit of freshly grated zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper, a touch of crushed reds, if you please
  • 3-4 tablespoons parsley, divided
these are the healthiest things you'll ever become addicted to.
these are the healthiest things you’ll ever become addicted to.
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, spread out the chickpeas, drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil all over.  Toss chickpeas evenly with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes; make sure to give them a toss at least once or twice so they don’t burn.  Dust with another quick pinch of salt as they come out of the oven.
  2. On another baking sheet, spread out another layer of aluminum foil, and spray with a bit of olive oil.  Cut the eggplants in half and spray both the tops and the bottoms with a bit of olive oil.  Arrange cut side up and season generously with salt and pepper.  Roast for 15 minutes and then flip.
  3. As the chickpeas and eggplant cook, make the sauce.  Whisk together the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt, a few grinds of pepper, a tablespoon of parsley and a touch of crushed reds.
  4. Serve the eggplant, cut side up, topped with sauce, the crispy chickpeas, and a bit more parsley.
appetizer or dinner, it doesn't matter.  just eat it.
appetizer or dinner, it doesn’t matter. just eat it.

The Verdict

This. Was. Awesome.  As appetizers go, this IS a dish for which you will need a knife and a fork, but hey, that’s a small price to pay.  This does not reheat well, as the eggplant gets a bit mushy…so invite all your friends!  And thanks, Angie, for inviting us!