Chicken Salad (the good kind)

Okay, let’s just get this out of the way right now…you can make this with chicken or turkey, it doesn’t matter.  Moving on…I am a chicken salad FANATIC.  I could eat pounds of it in one sitting, for this reason I reserve my chicken salad binges for the homemade stuff.  Store bought or restaurant ordered chicken salad is a huge gamble, and I prefer betting on horses.  Just kidding I don’t do that either.

I don’t know what some people are thinking with their chicken salad recipes, here’s a few versions that I’ve encountered in the past:

Version 1:   1 lb chicken, 63 lbs mayonnaise

Version 2:   1/2 lb chicken, 63 lbs mayonnaise

Version 3:   1 lb chicken, 1 lb mayonnaise, 1 cup of every fruit, vegetable, and nut known to man 

If I had to choose, the last option doesn’t sound horrible but still not ideal.

In this recipe the chicken is the star, just as God intended.  I think I’ve got a pretty good balance of savory, sweet, crunch, and creamy.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 – 1.5 pounds organic chicken breast
  • 1 – 1.5 pound organic chicken thighs
  • 32 oz. organic chicken stock
  • 3 cups red grapes (cut in half)
  • 3 large celery stalks (chopped small)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 – 2 cups mayonnaise (the good stuff)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

You obviously don’t have to buy organic chicken, but I highly recommend it…and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.  My grocery store carries a brand from a local farm that I like AND it’s from Amish country, I don’t know why this is different than regular country but it sounds good.  I use boneless skinless but you don’t have to, bone-in works fine and it’s cheaper.  You can also use all chicken breast meat, I just like the combo of the two.  You can also get up every day at 5:00 AM to workout, I prefer to sleep until the last possible minute.  Lots of choices here.

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I recommend poaching the chicken, it’s easy and the chicken stays nice and moist.  Just get your chicken stock simmering in a large pot and then add the chicken, add water if the stock doesn’t completely cover the chicken.  Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot and set it aside to cool before handling it, that shit will be hot.  Pictured below we have the poaching chicken on the left and the resting bitch face chicken on the right.

This is a great time to prep your other ingredients, slice your grapes, cut your celery, yell at your kids, whatever.

Once the chicken has cooled, dice it up.  There’s no rule on the size of the dice, if you want to put this salad on a sandwich I would suggest dicing it to the same size as the grapes.  If you’re going to ugly eat this out of the serving bowl while standing in front of the refrigerator I would go for a bigger dice.

Combine everything in a large bowl and gently stir until the ingredients are distributed evenly (especially the mayo).  You can always add more mayonnaise but taking it away seems like it would be more of a challenge, you would have to suck it off the grapes or something.  Moral of the story, don’t over mayo it.

I like to let it chill in the fridge for a while and then taste it again, it may need more salt depending on your taste (I usually add more salt).  Serve it up on a bed of lettuce, between some thick grainy bread, in a pita, or eat it out of the bowl like a dog, what do I care.

Cabbage Soup Memories


Every time I eat cabbage soup I think of my Grandma Nelson, I remember her making if for me all the time and I loved it.  I finally asked my mom if she remembered Grandma’s cabbage soup and she sort of laughed before telling me that the reason why my grandma was always making me cabbage soup was because she was always eating cabbage soup.  And the reason why she was always eating cabbage soup was because of Weight Watchers.  My grandma was a big fan of Weight Watchers and the cabbage soup was zero points.  I have no clue about the Weight Watchers point system but I’ll assume that zero is a good thing in the world of dieting.  Anyway, regardless of points the soup was always SO good…and salty.  I don’t think sodium was part of the point equation back then.  I started making my own version a few years ago and my family loves it.  This recipe has lean ground turkey and white beans but the base gets along with just about anything (green beans, zucchini, corn, potatoes…I could go on for ten minutes…carrots, celery, fennel…okay I’m done).  Here’s my recipe but feel free to experiment with what you like.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 head cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 14 oz can white beans
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Sauté the onion with olive oil in a stock pot, add the turkey and cook until browned, add the cabbage, tomatoes, stock, beans, and thyme. Cover and cook on medium low for 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can make this vegan by omitting the turkey and using veggie stock instead of chicken.

Seriously people. You can’t screw this up…I feel like I say that about a lot of my recipes but this one is truly a no-brainer.

So obviously this soup is a winner in terms of calories and overall wholesomeness, but my kids are notorious for demanding a cheese and bread element at every meal (can you blame them?).  Homemade croutons and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese fits like a glove.

This soup gives me all the feels without all the fat, it’s so satisfying and healthy…which is great because I have about a hundred cookies to eat and 17 bottles of wine to drink before the holidays are over.

Cheers!!!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

The Christmas season doesn’t officially begin in my house until the first batch of peanut butter blossoms is being devoured.  Confession:  I am not completely obsessed with peanut butter like some people I know (husband, kids, dog) but I am completely obsessed with making these cookies, and I’ve mastered this recipe.  If there’s a peanut butter blossom cookie making contest that you’re aware of please send me all the details, because I’m in…but only if there’s a giant cash prize, I really don’t have time to be entering cookie baking contests just for the bragging rights.

Moving on…so I mentioned that my husband LOVES peanut butter, I know how much he appreciates it when I make these cookies for him and I just want to make him happy.  It has nothing to do with the fact that he doesn’t have an ounce of fat on his body and I secretly want him to gain a few pounds so that I can feel better about myself.  Seriously, he has the physique of a 21 year old and it’s complete bullshit, he barely exercises while I’m out running miles in the freezing ass cold and I’m just over it.

Moving on again…these are great cookies to make with kids because the recipe is pretty simple and there’s a few “fun” steps along the way (what kid doesn’t want to roll peanut butter dough balls in sugar?).  Here’s your list of ingredients…

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c. natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Hershey’s kisses

IMPORTANT TIP, use natural peanut butter only!  None of that Jiffy shit.

For tools, I use a hand mixer but you can also use a standing mixer or a spoon I guess.

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add vanilla and then beat in the egg.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter.  The batter might look a little crumbly but that’s okay, form it into a giant ball and wrap in plastic.  Put the batter in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, this will make it easier to form the balls.

Roll into 1-2 inch balls and coat in white sugar, this is the part that the kids might enjoy.  Pour some sugar in a bowl, and then drop the balls in the sugar and roll around until the entire surface is coated.

Put the balls on baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  It will look like you made doughnut holes but you didn’t.

Bake in a preheated 375 °F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies have a good crackle on them, don’t even think about taking them out until you see that crackle!!

Remove cookies and place a Hershey’s Kiss in the center of each cookie, pressing down gently (another kid friendly task if your kid understands the word “gently”).  Move cookies from sheet to rack for cooling.

This recipe should make about two dozen cookies, you can also save some of the dough in the fridge for up to 5 days.  I made a dozen and they were gone immediately, I’m going to use dark chocolate kisses for the next dozen and hope that they make my husband fatter.  I’ll report back.