Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

If you’re anything like me, at the beginning of a new year all you want to do is try to stop eating.  By this point you have gorged yourself at a whole slew of holiday gatherings beginning way back in November and now you need to reign that shit in!

I love chicken salad, and the way I make it, it’s really not that bad for you.  I generally mix low-fat mayo with nonfat greek yogurt and always useless boneless skinless chicken breast that I cook with no additional fat (no butter, no oil).  In my holiday laziness a couple weeks ago I was watching Food Network and saw this version of chicken salad that I’d never had before.  I was intrigued.  Even though the person making it was  -gasp!, Trisha Yearwood – seriously.  I never thought I’d be taking cooking tips from a country singer.  At any rate, assuming you like each individual component of this salad, I think you’ll really like it – great combination of savory and sweet, crunchy and soft, and to be quite honest, I think it’s the prettiest chicken salad I’ve ever made – so colorful!  To compensate for the fact that I went all mayo this time (still low-fat), I’ll be eating it over a bed of arugula, rather than between two slices of bread.  You do what you gotta do though….


I’m afraid I don’t really measure anything when I make chicken salad.  I’ll indicate amounts where I remember what I used, but otherwise, it really is a matter of personal taste.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached in chicken broth and seasonings
5 stalks celery, small dice
scallions, finely chopped – maybe 5-8?
Seedless red grapes, halved – I probably used about 1-2 cups
½ cup slivered almonds – recipe doesn’t call for it, but I dry-toasted these first
Fresh dill, chopped – about 2 tbsp
2 tbsp poppy seeds
Mayo – maybe about a cup?
Salt & Pepper to taste

Chop cooked chicken to the size dice you prefer, add all other ingredients, mix well with mayo, season with salt & pepper.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fig & Honey Scones

Ahhh, a new year.  You know what that means….a new scone recipe, obviously.  It’s been quite a while since I made a new flavor so you had to know I was due.  I went on my first big shopping trip tonight since before the holidays, and before heading out to restock the cupboards, I did some inventory of what I needed to get rid of.  Figs!  I had totally forgotten about the couple bags of dried figs I had from when I made challah a few months back.  Well the beauty of dried fruit is that it lasts for-freaking-ever (if you store it properly), but it was definitely time to use them up.

You see where I’m going with this.  I got this recipe from the same blog where I found the challah – she too likes figs it seems.  This is a super simple recipe, though let me warn you – it is stiiiiccckky!  I thought I’d make my scones cute and truly single-portion sized by using a round biscuit cutter rather than just shaping and cutting the dough.  Well, the dough wasn’t stiff enough to stay in the biscuit cutter cut-outs, so I had to roll/pat them into shape.  I kind of ended up with what looks like large cookies, except they are still that amazing flaky scone consistency.  Regardless of their looks, they taste SO GOOD.  I really don’t think you can go wrong with figs and honey.  Give them a try.

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup diced figs (fresh or dried)

NOTES: Since I can’t ever leave a recipe as is – I added ½ tsp vanilla extract to the wet ingredients.  Pretty much every sweet baked good needs vanilla.  Also, I substituted fat-free half and half for the heavy cream because that is what I had.  It worked fine and it can’t hurt to eliminate that extra fat.  Finally, I only used about 1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar.  Figs are pretty sweet, they don’t need much sugar.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and canola oil together. Add the honey and mix until combined. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula to combine. Add the cream and mix together (the dough will be a little wet). Cover the diced figs with the sugar and gently fold into the dough.
4. On a well-floured surface, and dusting the top of the dough with more flour, pat the dough out into a 7-inch circle. Cut into 8 triangles. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, but they are best the same day they are made.
Recipe adapted from