Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Almond Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

Almond Poppy Seed Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Cook's notes: With the advent of warm weather and summer right around the corner what's not to love about a cold chicken salad sandwich. You get crunchy goodness from the almonds, a creamy light dressing, and sweetened with dried cherries.  The filling can be served on a croissant, a healthier route with a lettuce wrap or whole grain bread. Either way its a winner for dining al fresco.  A time saver is using a rotisserie chicken.
Recipe adapted from cookingclassy.com and serves 4.
  • 1 lbs,  boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked, chilled and diced into small cubes or use a rotisserie 
  • 1-1/3 cups red grapes, halved
  • 3/4 cup small diced celery
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 TB. parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions (green portion only)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 2/3 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 TB. honey
  • 1 TB. red wine vinegar
  • 1 TB. poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
For the dressing:
Mix all dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined.
For the salad:

  • Add all chicken salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl or a salad bowl. Add dressing and toss to evenly coat. Store in refrigerator. Serve within 2 hours for best results (it's still good for another day but the almonds soften a little and the grapes juices run into the dressing). Add romaine lettuce to sandwich with chicken salad filling.
  • *To cook the chicken, I lined a rimmed baking sheet with foil. I pounded chicken to an even thickness and brushed both sides of the chicken lightly with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, sprinkle with Herbes de Provence. Roast in a preheated 350 degree oven until center registered 165 (this will take about 30 minutes depending on thickness of chicken breasts). Then let chill in the fridge.
A time saver is using a rotisserie chicken.

Common Kitchen Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 
You thaw and marinate food on the counter at room temperature.
Government food safety guide calls this a very risky thing to do. Instead thaw meat in refrigerator and same with marinating.
You don't prep before you cook.
Home cooks tend to do everything at once and the results can be chaotic. Prep everything first and assembly for recipes goes so much faster.  
You  don't think about time and sequence before you start cooking
Start each recipe by reading all the steps through and start each recipe in a proper sequence.  The issue of timing is critical. 
You don't use a cutting board
A lot of people use their counter tops to chop, mince and slice. It's bad for your knives and potentially can cause cross examination. Glass cutting boards are also a bad idea for your knives.  No need also to avoid wood cutting boards. Just keep your boards clean and oiled with mineral oil and they are safe.   
You don't preheat your oven adequately
It's crucial for many baked goods for oven to be fully heated to 350 degrees. 
You don't label and date the food you put in the freezer.
Did you know that one thing in your kitchen that won't spoil no matter where you store it is honey?
You don't use parchment paper.
It's best for cakes and cookies and makes clean-up a breeze.
You don't let your meat rest after cooking.
Tent your cooked meat with foil and let rest 5-10 minutes.

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