Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

While The Man was on a week long trip to Dallas, I only had to run the dishwasher once. A typical week around here sees no less than 6 dish cycles. Needless to say, I cook alot and we eat alot! But with him gone (and numerous friends or family inviting us for dinner) I barely touched the stove. However, I did take advantage of his absence to re-create a salad that uses 2 ingredients that he hates – sweet potatoes and pecans.

Sweet Potatoes and Onions

Thrive is a cool carry-out cafe. They tout their use of locally sourced, organic ingredients and are the only “green certified” restaurant in Savannah. I’m not sure what that means….but trendy claims aside, their food is very good. One of their side dishes is a roasted sweet potato salad. A great mix of savory and sweet that can be served cold or room temp. Makes for a healthy lunch, or an ideal side dish at dinner. Here is my knock off of their salad (which I think is a knock off of a Whole Foods salad….)

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

  • 1 Lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and large diced
  • 1/4 C. red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 C. spinach
  • 1/4 C. raisins
  • 1/4 C. pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, onion, Chinese 5 Spice and pepper. Mix until spices evenly coat. Pour onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Evenly spread vegetables, so they are in a single layer. Roast at 400F for 40 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned.

Transfer roasted sweet potatoes and onions to a bowl. Add spinach, raisins and pecans. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey, oil, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Whisk until incorporated. Pour over sweet potato mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until read to serve.

Can be served cold or room temperature.

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Avocado & Edamame Salad

I’ve been trying to broaden my vegetable side dish repertoire. It’s easy to get stuck in a habit of rotating variations of broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus. So to freshen things up, I found an awesome (and versatile)  avocado dressing to spoon over a medley of crisp chopped veggies. The result is this Avocado & Edamame Salad – full of vitamins, nutrients, protein, and flavor.

Avocado Salad with Grilled Chicken Kabob

A note about the dressing – it makes alot. Much more than you will need for the salad. And even though the source recipe says it can keep fresh in the fridge, I found that it was best the first day. It was still good a few days later, but I wouldn’t keep it for the full 10 days that they suggest. But considering how good this dressing is, it isn’t hard to find uses for it. It makes a great dip (for fresh veggies or tortilla chips), spoon it over grilled meat (like the chicken above), or just get out your spoon :)

Avocado Dressing

Avocado Dressing

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 sprigs cilantro
  • Juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • water (about 1/2 C.)

Combine avocado, garlic, vinegar, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Slowly add water until desired consistency is reached. Best if used immediately. Or cover and keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Recipe modified from Eat, Lift & Be Happy

Avocado & Edamame Salad

  • 1 C. edamame beans, steamed
  • 1/2 C. yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C. mango, diced
  • 1/4 C. red onion, diced
  • 1/2 Pt. cherry tomatoes
  • 2 T. cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 – 1 C. lettuce (bibb or romaine) cut into small bites
  • Avocado dressing

Combine all ingredients except dressing into a bowl. Add dressing 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and mix to coat. Continue adding dressing until all vegetables are evenly coated.

Getting Saucy & Getting Fit

The Man and I recently started a new workout routine. “Workout routine” is kind of an understatement…more like The Man and I have chosen to get our asses handed to us every day for the next 60 days and we love it! And even though we walked into this with no real intentions of changing our diet, we have both been craving more protein and more fresh veggies. So for dinner last night it was Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and a heaping pile of Snow Pea Salad on the side. Full of flavor and color, everyone can get into this healthy meal – even if you aren’t working on your beachbody.

Chicken Satay with Snow Pea Salad

I found this recipe for Snow Pea Salad on Pinterest a few months back. The dressing is simple, and the ingredients are fresh and crisp. If you can’t find fresh snow peas, sugar snap peas would be a good substitute. And I couldn’t find fresh edamame beans (frozen just won’t work for this dish) so I skipped them. And the only yellow peppers I could find were the size of my head….so I went with orange. But that is kind of the beauty of this recipe – you can modify it endlessly. Thin sliced mushrooms, cilantro, diced avocado, baby corn…any and all would make awesome additions!

Chicken Satay Marinade

Anyone can put chicken on a stick and throw it over the hot coals….but to get this chicken extra tender and full of flavor, I suggest marinating it for a couple of hours before cooking time. I was happy to find thin sliced chicken breasts at my store (and on sale!) which I just had to cut into 2-ish inch strips. If you can’t find these, no worries. You can always slice your chicken in half lengthwise – just be sure to use a sharp knife and take your time to get two even halves. Marinate the chicken for about 6 hours before draining and threading onto the wooden skewers.

Grilled Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Since the chicken is thin, it won’t take long to grill. Towards the end of the cooking time, it’s time to get saucy. Brush a thin layer of the peanut sauce on one side, flip them over, and let the sauce cook on for a minute or so. Then do the same with the other side. Alternatively, you could serve the peanut sauce on the side and let people dip to their liking. I did both….because I can’t get enough peanut sauce!

Chicken Satay with Snow Pea Salad2

Did you make too much peanut sauce, and need a good idea on how to use it?? Try a Thai Chicken Pizza!

Satay Marinade

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, 1/2″ thick and 2″ wide
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. seasame oil
  • 1 T. Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 spice
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed 
  • 1/2 C. water

Combine all ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Refrigerate for 6+ hours.

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 C. peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C. chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger (powder or freshly grated)
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce

Heat up oil in a small sauce pan. Saute garlic for about 2 minutes. Add in peanut butter and remaining ingredients. Allow to simmer then remove from heat. You want the sauce to be slightly runny. Set aside until ready to use.

Grilled Chicken Satay

  • Marinated chicken, drained
  • Wooden skewers (one per chicken piece)
  • Peanut sauce

Run a wooden skewer through each piece of chicken. On a medium heat grill, cook chicken until cooked through (about 4 minutes per side). Brush peanut sauce on each side, cooking for another minute per side. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Curried Chicken Salad

I’ve always shied away saladized dishes – chicken salad, potato salad, coleslaw, egg salad…pretty much anything that is slathered in mayonnaise. I just don’t like the thought of yummy fresh ingredients swimming in mayo. But then I realized I could cut the mayo in salad dishes with sour cream or Greek yogurt…and now I’ve opened my horizons to all things saladized (except egg salad….that’s still on my no-thank-you list).

Curry Chicken Salad

I made chicken stock on Sunday, and decided to use the leftover meat to try out Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad recipe. Curried Chicken Salad is such a retro dish, but it definitely deserves a comeback (if skinny jeans and neon can make it in the 21st century, then this dish certainly has a place in modern culture!) If you don’t happen to be making chicken stock today (come on, why not?) feel free to use bone-in split chicken breasts, as in Garten’s original recipe. You could even use a store-bought rotisserie chicken if you don’t have the time (or inclination) to cook a chicken today.

Curry Sauce

Before starting on this 5-star dish, I looked through the comments and reviews it received. That’s the great thing about finding recipes on the internet – you can get tips and suggestions from people who have actually tried it out. Whether it’s adding/substituting ingredients, modifying measurements, or handy information about the dish (like the fact that you will have WAY too much sauce!), reading the comments before making a new dish is always worth your time.

chicken salad fixins

Considering the number of people who gave Garten’s recipe rave reviews, I didn’t want to make many modifications. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right? But I know my taste buds, and there are a few things I changed to suit my own tastes. The first thing I addressed was the mayonnaise situation – one and a half cups!? Gross….I cut the yick factor by replacing 1/2 a cup with low-fat plain Greek yogurt. Some reviewers of the recipe actually replaced all of the mayo with yogurt – which I may try next time. I chose to add a little red onion and Italian flat leaf parsley. I had them both on hand, and I like the extra crunch and color. But I stuck with the raisins (some suggested craisins or grapes) and cashews – and I think you could go heavy on both.

Curry Chicken Wrap

When it came to eating this fabulous curry concoction, I went with a wrap. A soft flour tortilla, fresh mixed greens, a generous squeeze or Sriracha, and a few extra cashews, and your taste buds will scream Thank you!! This would also make a great sandwich, a dip with pita chips, or just eat it with a spoon….

Curried Chicken Salad

  • 3 C. cooked chicken
  • 1 C. cashews
  • 1/2 C. celery, diced
  • 1/4 C. raisins
  • 1/4 C. red onion, diced
  • 1/4 C. green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C. parsley, chopped
  • 1 C. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 C. mango chutney
  • 1/3 C. white wine
  • 3 T. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large bowl combine chicken, cashews, celery, raisins, red onion, green onion and parsley. For the sauce, whisk together mayo, yogurt, mango chutney curry powder, salt and pepper. Pour just enough sauce over chicken mixture to moisten. You will have extra sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Southwest Chicken Salad

southwest chicken salad

I have some things in my fridge that are nearing their eat-or-trash date – chicken breasts, leftover cornbread, cilantro, and a bag of mixed greens….I have a can of black beans and some salsa…I’m thinking about a Southwest style chicken salad!

If you ever get the opportunity to go to The Yard House – you MUST try their BBQ chicken entree salad (and a yard of LeftHand Milk Stout….). BBQ chicken, fresh avocado, thinly sliced and fried onions, roasted pasilla peppers –  the mound of toppings almost completely hides the lettuce. But there IS lettuce, so technically it IS a salad – even though it’s more like a borrito sans tortilla shell. Inspired by the Yard House and the items in my fridge – here is my take on a Southwest Chicken Salad.

Citrus & Cilantro vinaigrette

  • cilantro, handful
  • 2 T. citrus  zest
  • 1/4 C. citrus juice (lime and Meyer lemon)
  • 2 T. of  sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C. olive oil
  • 1 T. Agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt, pepper, cumin

In a blender, combine cilantro, lime, garlic, agave and sour cream. Add olive oil slowly until desired consistency. Season to taste. Set aside

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 Cup red onion diced
  • Salt, pepper, cumin
  • 1 – 2 T. Citrus & Cilantro vinaigrette

Saute onion and pepper until softened. Combine beans, corn, onion and pepper mixture. Season to taste, stir in vinaigrette.

Chicken Breast

  • thin sliced chicken breast
  • cajun seasoning

Season chicken and grill until cooked through. Rest for 10 minutes then slice into this strips

Onion Frizzles

  • red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons corn starch
  • salt and pepper
  • canola oil

Mix flour and corn starch. Toss onions in flour mixture, shake off excess. Fry in canola oil until brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cornbread croutons

  • leftover cornbread, cubed
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder

In a bowl combine olive oil and seasonings. Toss cubes in oil. Spread onto sheet pan and bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

Assembly

Toss mixed greens and croutons in a few tablespoons of dressing. Once evenly coated, distribute onto serving plates. Arrange toppings in a circle, with an opening in the middle. Add one scoop each of salsa and black bean salsa. Slice avocado (1/2 per serving) and fan out. Fan out chicken. Drizzle chicken and avocado with spoonful of dressing. Put onion frizzles in the center. Sprinkle with pepper jack cheese and cilantro.