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The best chicken salad ever

The best chicken salad I ever had was from a little bistro up the street from where I used to work. Sadly, it went out of business in just a few short years, but I still believe they could have kept their doors open with their chicken salad alone had more people discovered their incredible combination. I’m not sure of their exact recipe, but like all delicious, good-for-you food, all of the main ingredients were right there, whole and easily identifiable. The red grapes were a welcome addition to the crunchy cashews, and flavorful fresh dill. The mayo mix was light, and just present enough to stick all of the ingredients together. I swapped the classic chicken salad croissant for a slice of toasted brioche out of preference, but you serve on any bread you would like, or just spread it on a few hearty crackers. Also try, Healthy avocado…

Healthy avocado egg salad

This avocado and egg salad is one of my favorite homemade lunches because it’s healthy, tastes great and uses Greek yogurt instead of mayo! Tuna salads and egg salads are often passed off as healthy, but they’re so loaded with fatty mayo that you might as well have opted for a cheeseburger! This salad has only healthy fats from fresh avocado. Plus, it doesn’t have that gooey, wet consistency that mayo gives. Ew. I can hear the stickiness now. This salad is everything you want from a lunch — It’s easy to make ahead, it’s packed with protein, and it’s full of flavor thanks to the zingy Dijon mustard and smokey turkey bacon. Substitute the bread and arugula for a large lettuce leaf to cut carbs, if that’s your thing.  Either way, it’s the guilt-free lunch you need for healthy resolutions in the New Year! Healthy Avocado Egg Salad Ingredients…

Spicy cauliflower, arugula salad

I love when a restaurant dish inspires me to make something similar at home. It’s not that making it at home stops me from going back to the restaurant — the exact opposite, actually! I find that it keeps the menu item top of mind, so I actually can’t wait to return! This dish was a restaurant-inspired salad. Roasted cauliflower and raisins might not seem like they’d be the best of friends, but the combo is really quite nice, especially when the cauliflower is roasted with the spicy heat of Calabrian chili peppers. Add some arugula, Parmesan cheese, and lemon, and you have a unique flavor explosion that is creative, healthy, fresh and crisp. Spicy Cauliflower, Arugula Salad Ingredients Serves 4 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets 2-3 spicy chili peppers, finely chopped + 3 tbsp of hot pepper oil (more if you love heat) 4-5 large handfuls of arugula 2 lemons,…

Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

Show me the person that isn’t looking for more delicious, healthy lunch ideas — we all are! Rarely are we dreaming of digging into a lunch we threw together at home in a hurry. So forget the sad salads you usually pack, and whip up a batch of this lemon almond chicken salad for tomorrow. With this recipe in your arsenal, you might actually stick to eating the healthy lunch you brought from home — and you’ll definitely look forward to it. The crunchy almonds are so satisfying, and the lemon pepper seasoning makes this recipe oh-so-craveable. Eat it with crackers, or wrap it up in a lettuce leaf for a low-carb option. It’s great all on its own, too! We snack on it by the spoonful at my house. There are tons of other ways to customize this recipe. Omit the tiny bit of mayo if you’re going for…

Lightly creamy chicken and rice soup

I like to keep a pot of homemade soup on hand at all times. It kills the question “what’s for lunch?” almost immediately. Plus, it never hurts to have something delicious on hand to help you avoid the drive-thru line during the busy holiday season. Feel free to adjust the amount of broth. I like a lot, but you might like less. It’s definitely a personal choice with soup, so see what works for you! Here is a quick and easy chicken and rice soup. It’s not too creamy, yet it has just enough to add some flavor. lightly Creamy chicken and rice soup Ingredients 2 tbsp olive oil 1 large carrot, chopped 1 large celery rib, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 tsp minced garlic 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, rinsed 2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice 1 tsp dried basil 1/2 tsp pepper 32-36 ounces chicken broth (or…

Pickle Soup is quirky, fun, and a really big dill

Pickles have been somewhat of a sensation lately. The beloved briny cucumbers show up in everything now days from icy slushies to creamy dips and fried chips. So I say, why not soup? There are several different recipes out there circulation around the web, but I think this variation is the best. The bold color flecks of veggies look delicious in the bright yellow broth. It’s tangy and salty, yet mild enough to enjoy a whole bowl — and then another, and another… It’s addicting and delicious and you just might make a believer out of folks less fanatical about pickles than yourself. I definitely recommend dill kosher pickles, because is there any other pickle? The snap makes every bite the best bite. I like to finely chop all of the ingredients to make it easy to eat and pour. Plus, I think it looks most delicious. Serve it hot…

Indian-inspired Vegetarian Chickpea Soup

Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein. A 1-ounce serving provides about 3 grams of protein, plus they are full of fiber, so making them a part of your meal can keep you full longer. These little legumes have become more popular in recent years thanks to an increased interest in Middle Eastern and Indian foods, but the nutty, grainy texture makes them easy to add to almost any type of cooking. Try them in this creamy (but cream-free) Indian-inspired soup. If you like a little heat, have a bit of your favorite hot sauce ready to drizzle on top. Otherwise, it’s mostly mild, but very flavorful! Chickpea Soup Serves 5-6 Ingredients 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk 14.4 ounce can whole tomatoes 1/4 cup apple juice handful cilantro leaves (about 1/4 cup) 2 tbsp garam masala 1 tsp ground ginger 1 1/2 cups vegetable…

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese perfect for fall

Here’s an earthy mac and cheese that takes a risk and wins! Pumpkin and cheese are actually make a great flavor combination. If you’re skeptical, substitute for another squash such as butternut squash. This quick dish is yummy and totally fun for fall. Imagine the surprise when you tell everyone it has a touch of pumpkin! The flavor isn’t overwhelming. It’s just subtle enough that you can taste the unique fall take on this class comfort food. Pumpkin puree has a moist, velvety texture, and it will keep the cheese gooey a little longer, I find. I like to grate my own cheese because it melts faster too, but whether you buy bagged or block, make sure it’s extra sharp cheddar — there’ just more flavor that way. Note: Be sure to use pumpkin puree and nothing labeled “pumpkin pie mix.” The latter has lots of spices mixed. Pumpkin Mac and…

Easy 20-minute Bone Broth Chicken Noodle Soup

Think back to your childhood. If there was one guarantee when you got sick, it was that Grandma would be making you a big batch of chicken noodle soup. But does chicken noodle soup have any actual impact on impending sniffles? According to UPMC, when you’re sick, your immune system can receive support to help fight infections from standard cold and over-the-counter medicines. However, in some cases, the nutrients you get from a big bowl of chicken noodle soup can give additional aid to that support system. Studies have shows that the anti-inflammatory effects from the ingredients in chicken noodle soup can help ease cold symptoms, while the warm broth can clear nasal congestion. So while it may not be a miracle cure-all, chicken noodle soup makes a great meal when you’re feeling under the weather because it’s packed with nutrients. They are easy to digest, soothing to the throat…

Pumpkin spice ranch-style salad dressing

I agree pumpkin spice has gone a little over the top at the grocery store (see below), but I can’t say the same when it comes to homemade pumpkin spice inspired foods. I can’t get enough of all of the homemade fall baked goods. Whether it’s pumpkin pancakes, smoothies, or other sweets, I’m pretty sure I haven’t turned one down yet. Here’s another take on pumpkin you’ve never thought of — salad dressing. Try this creamy pumpkin dressing as a dip for veggies or on top of a crispy green salad with cranberries and walnuts. Pumpkin spice salad dressing Ingredients 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling) 6 ounces of plain yogurt 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup extra light olive oil 3 tbsp maple syrup 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 small sweet onion, peeled, chopped 4-5 fresh sage leaves 1/2 tsp pepper, or more  (optional) 1/2 tsp salt,…