Vibrant Chicken Salad

Vibrant Chicken Salad (serves 4)

There are any number of chicken salad recipes as chicken goes well with so many vegetables. My recipe looks colorful and has various different textures – crunchy red pepper, al dente broccoli, ripe avocado, red onion. If I am going to serve a dressing on the side I would use a lemon dressing as the avocado has already been mixed with lemon juice to preserve its color. I find the salad can stand alone without a dressing. I poached the chicken breasts in vegetable broth. Poached chicken is nice and moist and the broth gives the rather bland chicken some extra flavor. This recipe is super healthy as there is no oil used in the cooking process. Make sure the broccoli is al dente – nothing worse than soggy broccoli at any time, but especially not in a salad.

 

2 x chicken breasts

Vegetable broth

1/2 red pepper – chopped into small chunks

4 – 6 oz broccoli florets

1 x ripe avocado – chopped into small chunks

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Handful of red onion – finely chopped

 

Place the chicken breasts in a pan and cover with vegetable broth.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. Then chop into smallish bite-size pieces.

Cook the broccoli florets until just tender – literally a few minutes.

Chop the red pepper.

Chop the avocado, place in a bow, pour over the lemon juice and mix well.

Place all ingredients on a serving platter and mix together.

Chop red onion and scatter over salad.

 

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Roast Cauliflower with a Meditterrean Salsa

Roast Cauliflower with a Meditterrean Salsa (serves 4)

This recipe is Italian in character and full of goodness and multi-layered flavors. In making it, I found that it was really two recipes. You can stop half way with just the cauliflower and tomato sauce and serve it hot (delicious with firm white fish) or you can continue on to the end and top the cauliflower with the salsa and serve cold as an appetizer or side dish to cold meats.

1 large cauliflower – cut into florets (to be roasted) and set aside 1/2 cup of chopped mini florets (for the salsa)

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil – seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup pitted black olives – rinsed and finely chopped

3 sun dried tomatoes – finely chopped

1/2 teasp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 large garlic cloves – finely sliced

8 0z ripe grape or cherry tomatoes – cut in half

Place the cauliflower florets on a metal baking tray and pour over 2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper and then toss the florets so they are all coated with olive oil.

Place in oven (400 degrees) and roast for 25 minutes (I looked at 15 minutes and the cauliflower, whilst tender, was not browned).

Place chopped mini florets, chopped olives and chopped sun dried tomatoes along with lemon juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet and when sizzling add garlic slices and let cook for a few minutes.

Then add the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are weeping and the skin is wrinkled.

Puree in food processor then pour over cauliflower and mix well.

Place cauliflower on a platter and spread the salsa over the cauliflower.

Chicken Tonnato (serves 4)

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Chicken Tonnato (serves 4)

‘Tonnato’ means tuna sauce and it goes really well with chicken. In Italy Vitello (veal) Tonnato is a classic summer dish though it is rarely seen on menus here in the US. Guests find the flavor a wonderful surprise. I serve it on a bed of crunchy lettuce with cucumber around the edge and capers sprinkled over the top of the tonnato sauce.

2 chicken breasts (approx. 1 pound)

1 x 5 oz can tuna – drained

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 anchovies

Juice of half a lemon

2 tbsp. capers plus some more for scattering over dish before serving

Lettuce – preferably crunchy kind, thinly sliced

English cucumber – thinly sliced

 

Poach chicken breasts seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in aluminum foil and pour over 1 tbsp. olive oil and the juice of half a lemon and cook in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Place tuna, mayonnaise, chicken broth, anchovies, lemon juice and capers in food processor and process until smooth – add more broth if necessary. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Place lettuce in bottom of a serving dish, top with chicken slices, drizzle sauce over and sprinkle with capers.

Arrange cucumber slices around the edge of the serving dish.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Zest and Red Pepper Flakes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Zest and Red Pepper Flakes (serves 4)

I love Brussels sprouts in all guises (except when I had to pick them from the garden as a child in the freezing cold). Sprouts go well with other ingredients – beetroot, pancetta. We always have them as a side dish for Thanksgiving. Since there is a lot of talk about cutting down on the amount of meat people eat and also the quantity, I like to cook more interesting vegetable dishes and instead of the saying ‘meat and veg’, I like to emphasize ‘veg with meat’. Quite often, when eating out, I ask for two portions of vegetables and ditch the carbs (sometimes there is no choice but to do that anyway). These sprouts go well with chicken, turkey and pork.

1 pound Brussels sprouts – trimmed and cut in half lengthwise if large

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes – more or less, depending on how you spicy you like your food

Zest of 1 lemon – finely grated

Put oil, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes on a metal baking tray.

Toss sprouts in this mixture.

Grate lemon zest  over sprouts and toss again.

Roast in oven for 30 – 40 minutes until sprouts are tender and browned.

Garlic Mushrooms

Garlic  Mushrooms (serves 4)

This recipe is ridiculously simple and so delicious. It can be served hot or cold and can be eaten as a sidedish or on its own an appetizer. Also suitable for vegetarians so it’s a win win on all fronts! It has more flavor if you use a variety of mushrooms and not just button mushrooms. In some supermarkets they come pre-packed as a variety  and also pre-sliced.

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 pound of mushrooms – washed and sliced or you can leave small button mushrooms whole

6 cloves garlic – minced

Heat the oil in a skillet and when sizzling add garlic and cook until it starts turning brown. Turn heat down slightly so garlic doesn’t burn, then add the mushrooms and cook till they are nicely browned, turning them over frequently.

Potato, parsnip and apple mash (4)

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It may look bland but it is anything but – this is a lovely mixture of flavors,the sweet of the apple and the tang of the parsnips and all combined with the texture of mashed potatoes. Great with pork or sausages. Make sure potato, parsnips and apple are cut into smallish chunks of equal sizes.

1 large potato -peeled and cut into chunks as described above

3 parsnips – peeled and cut  into chunks as described above

1 large Granny Smith apple –  peeled and cut into chunks as described above

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the potatoes, parsnips and apple into a pan.

Add boiling water from the kettle

Boil for around 10 minutes, then drain the pan.

Mash with a potato  masher or a  hand held electric whisk.

Pork Tenderloin with Prunes and an Orange Lingonberry Sauce

Pork  Tenderloin with Prunes and an Orange Lingonberry Sauce (serves 4)

Pork is one of those meats which goes well with fruit and sweet flavors. This is one of my all-time favorite dishes and is a new take on pork with prunes. Pork tenderloin is the best cut of pork in my opinion. It is tender and quick and easy to cook especially when cut into slices or bite-sized chunks (I have eaten enough dried, tough pork chops in my life). Lingonberries are a staple Swedish fruit and accompany game as a sauce. They are quite tart but sweeter than cranberries. I find Lingonberry jam quite easily in the supermarket. If you can’t find it you could try cranberry sauce or maybe redcurrant jelly. This dish should be served with mashed potatoes or something similar to mop up the juices. I made a potato, parsnip and apple mash which was a great accompaniment.

1 pound pork tenderloin – cut into bite size pieces

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large onion – diced

4 oz prunes (Paul Newman brand) – cut in half

Juice of 1 orange

1 cup chicken stock

2 tbsp. lingonberry jam (Felix brand – on label it says Wild Natural Lingonberries)

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper in a skillet. When sizzling add pork and brown on all sides, then remove from skillet and place on a piece of paper towel on a plate.

Add onion to skillet and cook until softened.

Put the pork back into the skillet, then add the prunes, orange juice, stock and lingonberry jam.

Stir well, bring to boil and them simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.