Category Archives: salads

Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad

cheesy chili chicken salad titlesIt was the 80s – Girls Night Out meant dressing up in punk rock and mini skirts with big hair and blue eyeshadow. For us it also meant going to Ryan’s on Opelika Road for Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad. This was back when chicken fingers were a new thing, so you know it was a long time ago! The salad was huge. It came in a giant bowl ringed with tortilla chips and filled with chunks of chicken fingers, kidney beans, cheese, olives, lettuce and Ryan’s special creamy chili dressing. This recipe is my rendition of that awesome meal-in-a-salad that takes me back to those crazy nights with the girls.

Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad

Dressing:

1/3 cup full fat sour cream (I like Daisy)

1/3 cup mayonnaise (I usually buy Hain’s)

1 chipotle chile, canned (save the rest in a ziptop bag in the freezer for next time)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon sea salt

Salad:

4 cups shredded crisp lettuce such as romaine

3 cups chopped roasted chicken

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups cooked red beans

1 cup shredded cheddar or colby cheese

1/3 cup sliced ripe olives

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup frozen organic corn kernels, thawed

sliced avocado for garnish

non-GMO tortilla chips

Dice the chipotle chili very finely (wear gloves and don’t touch your eyes!) Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.   To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce and remaining ingredients except avocado and chips in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss gently to coat. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately with tortilla chips.  Mini skirts and big hair optional.

Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: main course salad
 
Spicy creamy cool dressing coats this meal-in-a-salad filled with chunks of chicken, beans and cheese.
Ingredients
  • Dressing
  • ⅓ cup full fat sour cream such as Daisy brand
  • ⅓ cup safflower mayonnaise such as Hain's
  • 1 canned chipotle chili in adobo, reserve other chiles for another recipe
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Salad:
  • 4 cups shredded romaine
  • 3 cups chopped roasted chicken
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups cooked red beans
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or colby cheese
  • ⅓ cup sliced ripe olives
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn kernels, thawed
  • sliced avocado for garnish
  • non-GMO tortilla chips for serving
Instructions
  1. Finely mince the one chipotle pepper.
  2. Freeze the remaining peppers for another recipe.
  3. Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  4. To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce and remaining ingredients (except avocado and chips) in a large bowl.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving.
  6. Toss gently to coat.
  7. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

 

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Thai Chicken Burgers with Lime Mayo and Snow Pea Slaw

thai chicken burgers with titleTo say my daughter loves this menu would be an understatement. Whenever she sees me meal planning she begs me to include these burgers. When she noticed me pulling out the recipe to blog she asked hopefully, “Can we have these tonight?” And I agree they are delicious. We’ve served them to company because even though it’s casual fare it’s still enough of a flavor carnival in your mouth you feel special just eating it.

A couple of notes about the ingredients:  Sriracha sauce is a very spicy Thai sauce made from hot chili peppers, vinegar and garlic. It’s easy enough to find in most grocery stores BUT it’s important to read the labels because most of them have chemical preservatives in them – don’t ask me why because there’s nothing in hot chilis, vinegar, garlic and salt that needs extra chemicals! So anyhow, look for a sauce without preservatives. Lee Kum Kee makes one and so does Shark Brand.  The red curry paste is another ingredient that needs label reading. Red curry paste should be just a mixture of flavorful herbs and spices including lemongrass, galangal, Kaffir lime, and chilies. But sometimes you will find msg or chemical preservatives, too. I like Thai Kitchen’s red curry paste, but I’ve read good things about Mae Ploy brand and both of those have good ingredients.

To get this all on the table at the same time here’s the order I do things:  First I mix up the Lime Mayo sauce and refrigerate it, then I mix up the slaw with the dressing and let it marinate. Then I like to get the burgers all mixed up and shaped into patties on a tray. The burgers will absorb all the flavorful ingredients as they sit. Lastly I slice up the sweet potatoes and get them into the oven so they will be done when the burgers are grilled. If you don’t want to heat the kitchen at all you can actually make the sweet potato fries on the grill, too, but you’ll need to get them started before the burgers since they take a little longer. Once the potatoes are going I grill the burgers. Poultry burgers must be fully-cooked, no medium or rare with these guys! I use an instant-read thermometer to check that they are done. A minimum of 165 degrees is recommended.

Lime Mayo

3/4 cup safflower mayonnaise (or homemade)

zest and juice of one lime

2 Tablespoons of Sriracha sauce (use less if you don’t like it hot)

Snow Pea Slaw

1 cup julienned snow peas

1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage

1 cup julienned bell peppers, use orange, red, or yellow for the prettiest salad

1 1/2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon raw honey

Thai Chicken Burgers

2 pounds ground chicken (you can also use ground turkey or a mixture of both)

3 scallions, sliced thinly

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons raw honey

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1 Tablespoon red curry paste

6 cloves garlic, pressed

Sweet Potato Fries

1 medium sweet potato per person

coconut oil

sea salt

For the Lime Mayo sauce:  Combine everything in a small bowl and set aside.

For the Slaw: Combine the vegetables, stir in the remaining ingredients and toss well to coat with the dressing. Set aside.

For the burgers: Combine the ground chicken, scallions, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, curry paste and garlic mixing well in a large bowl. Divide the mixture into eight 4oz patties. Grill over medium-high heat about 4-5 minutes per side. Burgers are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the sweet potato fries: Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise into wedges about 3/4″ thick, at least 8 wedges per potato. Toss the slices with melted coconut oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. You can roast them in a cast iron or stoneware baking pan at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, or you can grill the wedges on a medium-high grill for about 12 minutes per side. If they begin to burn on the outside before they are tender in the middle, move them away from the direct heat and allow them to continue cooking.

Thai Chicken Burgers with Lime Mayo and Snow Pea Slaw
 
Author:
Recipe type: menu
Cuisine: Thai-inspired
 
Thai flavors infuse the slaw, dressing and burgers for an explosion of flavor
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup safflower mayo
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 2 Tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1 cup julienne sliced snow peas
  • 1 cup julienne sliced orange, red or yellow bell peppers
  • 1 cup thinly slice red cabbage
  • 1½ Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 2 lbs ground chicken or turkey
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red curry paste
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed
  • sweet potatoes
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt
Instructions
  1. For the sauce: Combine the mayo, zest and juice, and Sriracha sauce in a bowl, set aside.
  2. For the slaw: Combine the snow peas, peppers, and cabbage in a bowl.
  3. Add the vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce and honey and toss well to combine making sure the dressing coats the vegetables.
  4. For the burgers: Combine the chicken with the green onoins, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, curry paste and garlic in a large bowl.
  5. Use your hands to mix the meat and seasonings well.
  6. Shape into eight patties, 4oz each.
  7. Grill over medium-high heat until burgers reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees, about 4-5 minutes per side.
  8. For sweet potatoes: Slice potatoes lengthwise into ½" wedges, about 8 wedges per potato.
  9. Use one medium potato per person.
  10. Coat the slices with melted coconut oil and sea salt.
  11. Roast the potatoes in a 425 degree oven, or grill them over medium-high heat for about 25 minutes.

 

snow peas, red cabbage and peppers make colorful slaw

colorful snow pea slaw

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Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

red white blue potato flag title image

Hot sunshine on the back of my neck. The smell of peaches and cantaloup in the fruit bowl on the table. Fragrant gardenia blossoms in a vase. Watermelon, baked beans, grilled hamburgers and my mom’s homemade potato salad. The sound of the diving board followed by a splash.  All of these mean summer to me. And when it comes to that potato salad no one makes it better than mom!

red white blue potato close up

Whenever we gather for family cookouts we always need potato salad. Make a big bowl full and hope for leftovers for lunch the next day. Bring it to your next summer gathering because it’s easy and tastes even better when you make it ahead of time.

red white blue potato line

I love the look of the multi-colored potatoes in this recipe, but if you can’t find them you can use new potatoes of any color. Red Finn and Red Thumb are two varieties that actually have rosy colored flesh. Purple Peruvian has a striking blue flesh all the way through that intensifies when cooked. Yukon Gold is creamy colored. The standard red-skinned potatoes are also delicious.

red white blue potato salad horizontal

*a note about mayonnaise: the very best mayo to use is a homemade (and fermented) one such as this recipe or this one.  If you aren’t making your own then please read the labels on the store brands and buy one made from safflower, sunflower, coconut or maybe grapeseed oil. Just avoid the ones made with GMO soy, corn and canola.

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
 
Grammy (my mom) makes the best potato salad. Simple to make and great for cookouts and potluck.
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs new potatoes or fingerling potatoes, multi-colored
  • 3 eggs, preferably from pasture-raised hens
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 green onions, or half of a sweet onion
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • ½ - ¾ cup mayonnaise, plus more as needed
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Scrub the potatoes, cutting large potatoes in half, and place them in a pot and cover with filtered water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are just tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.
  3. In a separate smaller pan, cover the eggs with cool water and bring to a boil, cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the cooked potatoes into a colander and allow them to cool until able to be handled.
  5. Drain the boiled eggs and peel the shells off.
  6. Finely chop the celery and green onions (or sweet onion) and place into a large bowl.
  7. When the potatoes and eggs are cool enough to touch, chop the potatoes into bite-size chunks and place them in the bowl.
  8. Sprinkle sea salt over the chopped potatoes.
  9. Chop the eggs and put them in the bowl with the potatoes and vegetables sprinkling again with the sea salt.
  10. Crumble the dried dill over the top of the potatoes and eggs.
  11. Gently toss to mix the potatoes with the rest of the vegetables, but do NOT add the mustard or mayonnaise yet.
  12. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve.
  13. Just before serving time stir in the mayonnaise, mustard and additional salt plus freshly ground pepper, tasting to adjust for enough salt.
  14. Some people like creamy potato salad, others like it more dry, so add mayonnaise to your taste.

  red white blue potato salad square

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Moroccan Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

Casablanca, Marrakesh, sultans and belly dancers, spice markets, and people wearing fezzes before fezzes were cool – Morocco brings an exotic flavor to all sorts of things including this great little salad.  Savory and spicy, cool and tangy, very fragrant with lots of crunchy textures this salad is like a little travelogue for your mouth.

Make this Moroccan Quinoa and Chickpea Salad ahead of time and let the flavors mix and mingle. Take it to a Memorial Day picnic or pack it in your lunchbox. It’s very portable, you could even take it in your carry-on bag when you fly saving you from having to eat those little packets of processed bits they hand out during in flight service. Quinoa and chickpeas give this salad quite a protein punch while the almonds and olive oil add good fats making for a satiating dish. If you soak and cook your own garbanzo beans from dried you’ll make this dish even more nutritious and, because quinoa is not a grain but really a seed, it qualifies as a grain-free and gluten-free recipe!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Moroccan Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad or side dish
Cuisine: Moroccan
Serves: 4
 
Fresh mint, zesty lime, and a warm mixture of anti-oxidant rich spices in a protein-filled make ahead salad.
Ingredients
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground tumeric
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1¾ cup filtered water
  • 1 carrot, cut into julienne matchsticks
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries (organic if you can find them, read the added ingredients and watch out for bad oils)
  • ¼ cup slivered toasted almonds
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or use one can drained
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil (adding a pinch of salt and some butter if desired) and stir in the rinsed quinoa.
  2. Cover and reduce the heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and allow the quinoa to cool.
  4. While quinoa is cooking, mix together the lime juice and zest, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and all of the spices in a large bowl.
  5. Add the carrots, cranberries, toasted almonds, mint and chickpeas to the bowl.
  6. When the quinoa is cooled add it to the bowl.
  7. Toss everything together coating well with the spices and dressing.
  8. Cover the bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Moroccan quinoa and chickpea salad 2

Moroccan quinoa and chickpea salad

Gluten-free Tabbouleh

I love tabbouleh.  I had to look up how to spell it; apparently it can be tabouli, tabouleh, and a few more variations.  Makes sense since the salad itself has several variations. Traditionally it is made from bulgur wheat, parsley, onion, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil.  But bulgur wheat (which is made by taking grains of wheat, steaming or partially boiling them and then drying and cracking them up ) has gluten in it. Bad for me as gluten gives me a tummy ache so I avoid it whenever I can.  But what’s a girl to do when she still craves the lemony fresh green taste of a good tabbouleh?

Quinoa to the rescue!  Quinoa (keen-wa) is a pseudo-cereal meaning it’s not really a grain since it doesn’t come from a grass-type plant. Instead it is more closely related to beets or spinach, so it doesn’t contain gluten.  I buy quinoa from the bulk bins at my local health food store which saves a couple dollars per pound over the grocery store packages, but either way you will probably still need to rinse it before you cook it. Quinoa has a naturally bitter coating, so I just put the quinoa in a wire mesh strainer and rinse it for a few minutes in cold water before draining it and then cooking it. Sometimes you can find pre-rinsed quinoa so you can skip that step. Either way, quinoa is cooked like rice. 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water plus a little salt and butter, bring to a simmer, stir, cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Cool, fluff and serve.

This tabbouleh recipe makes enough for a side dish for a family of four. It can easily be doubled or tripled to make more for a crowd. It keeps for a couple of days in the refrigerator so you can make extra and take the leftovers for lunch.quinoa tabbouleh 2

Gluten-free Tabbouleh
 
Author:
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
 
Quinoa is substituted for the gluten-containing bulgur wheat found in traditional versions. The bright green lemony minty flavor of tabbouleh is retained.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked as directed below
  • 4-6 large sprigs of fresh mint
  • ⅓ cup chopped sweet onion such as Vidalia
  • 1 bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice plus some of the zest as desired
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Rinse quinoa in mesh strainer until the water runs clear, drain.
  2. Bring 1 cup of water and quinoa to boil in small pot along with pinch of sea salt and 1 tsp butter or oil if desired.
  3. Stir quinoa, cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. While quinoa is cooking, remove the mint leaves and parsley leaves from the stems discarding stems, and chop them.
  5. Halve or quarter the tomatoes.
  6. Toss parsley, mint, chopped sweet onion, and tomatoes together in a bowl.
  7. Mix together the olive oil, fresh lemon juice and zest, sea salt and pepper and drizzle over the vegetable mixture.
  8. Toss well to coat the dressing over everything, then taste and adjust for salt and pepper if needed.

quinoa tabbouleh 1Some links may be monetized. This blog is for informational purposes only.

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Lime and Fresh Mint

The weather here in Central Florida has been spectacular this week – blue skies, fluffy white clouds, temps in the mid-70s to low 80s, cool breezes in the palm trees – it’s like living in a vacation postcard :)   The mint in my yard is growing like crazy, I picked enough peppermint to dry and use for peppermint tea, and I’m using the English mint in a great salad recipe that I can’t wait to share with you today!  Grapefruit season stretches on at least through the end of this month and it’s getting to that time of year where people are tired of it and are leaving bags of it in the back hall at church or on people’s front porches.  My avocado tree is already blooming, getting ready for next year, but I did find a big bag of five avocadoes for $4 at Sam’s Club.

English mint

English mint

I love all the different tastes and textures in this dish with juicy tart grapefruit, creamy rich avocado, and the mojito magic of the lime and mint all come together to create a salad that makes its own dressing.   I’ve used spring mix, and I’ve used different kinds of head lettuces, but I also think arugula might be good with its peppery bite.  Sturdy Romaine holds up well if you want leftovers.  Peel and supreme the grapefruit right over the bowl you will use for the salad so you catch all the juices.  Never supreme a grapefruit? It’s easy, but you need a sharp knife! Just peel the fruit including the white pith, then use the sharp knife to slice out the individual sections and tossing the membrane (but not before squeezing out any remaining juice into the bowl!)

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Lime and Fresh Mint
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad
 
Bright flavors and contrasting textures in a salad that makes its own dressing.
Ingredients
  • 2 large pink grapefruit
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from one lime (and a little zest if desired)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 or 2 Hass type avocadoes
  • 1 head of lettuce or bag of spring mix, washed and spun dry
  • big handful of fresh mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Peel and supreme the grapefruit catching the juices in the bowl.
  2. Peel, pit and chop the avocado.
  3. Chop or slice the lettuce into fork-size pieces.
  4. Finely slice the mint leaves.
  5. Combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss well to coat the lettuce and distribute the ingredients.

fresh farmer's market finds

fresh farmer’s market finds

 

 

 

 

 

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