Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt, Almonds, and Cranberries

Can we continue with the discussion of things I would have hated as a child?

Chicken salad definitely would have made that list.  I had a serious aversion to anything mayonnaise or mayonnaise-related.  There were two exceptions I made: 1) my mother’s macaroni salad and 2) potato salad.  I guess my taste for carbohydrates trumped my distaste for mayonnaise.

To this day, mayonnaise continues to be one of my least favorite things in life.  (Although throw in some garlic and call it ‘aioli’ and I’m all for it.  I don’t know how that works.  I blame Paseo.)

I recently attended a monthly meeting for my local dietetic association where there was food catered by Ben E. Keith.  (The speaker was outstanding, but naturally, I’m talking about the food.)  There was an assortment of food, including the ever-dreaded chicken salad.

chicken salad

“Wait a second… A chicken salad that actually looks appetizing?” I thought as I looked at the gigantic bowl of it.  I saw big chunks of chicken, cranberries, and sliced almonds.  I saw a chicken salad not completely swimming in mayonnaise.  I decided to give it a try.  Much to my surprise, it tasted great.  Completely unlike any chicken salad I had ever tasted.  Although to be honest, I question whether or not I had actually tried ANY chicken salad before that point.

I came home with some leftovers which were demolished far too soon and left me scouring recipes to recreate it myself.

What I came up with uses fat free Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, making it lower in fat and higher in protein.  Win.

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Chicken Salad with Greek yogurt, almonds, and cranberries

For the dressing:
1 6-oz container non-fat plain Greek yogurt (my favorite is Fage!)
3-4 TB white wine vinegar
1 rib celery, chopped
2 TB onion, minced
1/2 t maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

2 chicken breasts, poached and chopped into bite-sized chunks
2-3 TB dried cranberries
2-3 TB sliced almonds

Directions

Combine dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Add in chicken, cranberries, and almonds and stir to combine.  If you wish, top with sliced green onions!

I like this on its own, but you can serve it up as a sandwich, with crackers, or whatever suits your fancy.

Here’s to non-creepy chicken salad!

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Statement Sunday

behind you

A while back, my pastor said something similar: “Don’t let past disappointments keep you from present or future appointments.

May we always learn and grow from past experiences, as opposed to being held back by them.

Have a happy Sunday!

Black Bean Brownies

Confession (/humblebrag):

I once made a pumpkin pie out of tofu and served it up to my family at Thanksgiving.  They happily gobbled it down and were none the wiser.  “They’re totally eating tofu and they totally don’t know it,” I thought as I suppressed the maniacal laughter welling up inside of me.  (Sometimes there are a lot of ‘totallys’ in my vocabulary.)

This is a true story and to this day, my family still doesn’t know.  If any of you are reading this, sorry (not sorry).

Anyways, I’m back at it.  I’m putting beans in brownies and you’ll be none the wiser.

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I used this recipe, which happens to be gluten-free and can be made vegan.  The only change I made was to add some chopped walnuts because I don’t think a brownie is a proper brownie without walnuts.

They were dense, fudgey, and chocolate-y enough to mask any hint of bean.  If you’ve ever had a chocolate brownie Clif Z Bar, that’s what these reminded me of.

There are not many better feelings in the world than sneaking something healthy into unaware loved ones.  It’s true.

Spinach in smoothies, tofu in pie, beans in brownies…

Do you have any secretly healthy recipes you love?  Tell me about them!

I think butternut squash mac and cheese will be my next endeavor.

Bite of the World: Kimchi

Today marks the start of a new segment on this blog: Bite of the World.  One of my biggest passions in life is the exploration of cultures through their cuisine.  It’s such an easy way to bring international adventure into your life when your budget might not afford you trips around the world.  In this series, I’ll put the spotlight on various dishes from around the globe.

It may or may not be obvious that I dig Korean cuisine, so I thought this would be a great place to begin.

As a child, I was basically the opposite of adventurous.  Mushrooms gave me the creeps.  I would never think of touching an avocado.  My wimpy spice tolerance was maxed out at black pepper.

Undeniably stinky, spicy, and rather unattractive, kimchi is the embodiment of everything I would have hated as a youth.

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So what exactly is it?

Kimchi is a fermented side dish which is often found at every meal in the Korean culture.  Types of vegetables used in the preparation of kimchi vary, but you can commonly find it made with Napa cabbage.  Vegetables are combined with seasonings, spices, and/or other ingredients, and are then left to ferment.

Because of this fermentation, kimchi is full of probiotics (good gut bacteria) which you might know from things like yogurt and kefir.  In addition, vegetables used for kimchi are typically low-calorie with a good amount of fiber, a total pro for satiety and aiding in weight loss.  It can also be full of various vitamins, like A and C.

Kimchi can be found by the jar in Asian markets and I’ve even seen it in my local Trader Joe’s (and in case you’re interested, here are some kimchi recipes).

If you’re not brave enough to try it on its own, no worries.  Take a tip from the super hip fusion cuisine food trucks like Chi’Lantro, Coreanos, and Oh My Gogi and ease yourself into the world of kimchi by giving it an Mexican twist.  All the cool kids are doing it.