Rosemary and Apricot Chicken Salad

First of all, I love chicken salad. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s tasty. In addition to loving chicken salad, I love Trader Joe’s and that is where I first tried a chicken salad similar to the one I made here. I know there are several knockoffs running around the web so I am not alone in my love of this dish. I do have a teenager who is quite concious of what she eats so this is probably a lighter version, but we really enjoy eating this dish and it works well as either a lunch or a light dinner.

Rosemary and Apricot Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts – boiled in pot with half a large yellow onion and 2 T. minced garlic, cooled and diced into rough 1/4 to 1/2 in cubes
  • 1/3 C. green onions
  • 1/3 C. sliced almonds (definitely buy pre-sliced here)
  • 1/3 C. finely diced dried apricots
  • 2-3 T. mayo – up to 1/3 C. if you aren’t necessarily going for lowfat
  • 1 t. granulated garlic
  • 1 t. granulated onion
  • 1 t. finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 t. red chili flakes
  • sea salt to taste

Cook chicken as described above and once it has been allowed to cool to room temperature, chop into cubes.

Cubed chicken breasts

Chop green onions and dried apricot, add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. It is best to allow the chicken salad to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This will allow the rosemary to moisten a bit and the flavors to blend together.

Chopped apricots and green onions

 

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Morrocan Inspired Chicken Soup

This soup is another quick fix for those of you who are either on the go or just don’t like to lots of time in the kitchen. About a week ago I made my Rosemary and Thyme Chicken and had some butternut squash left over that I wanted to use so I came up with this (winter squashes will last quite some time when refrigerated).

 

Ingredients

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 a butternut suqash, this will be about 1 – 1.5 C. - 1 inch cubes
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts – cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • salt to tasts
  • 1/4 t. red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 – 2.5 C. chicken stock – the more you a the more brothy your soup will be. I preferred to add less to mine simply because I don’t want as much broth.
  • 1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into roughly 1 inch slices
  • 1 medium (valencia) orange, zest and juiced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro – finely chopped (optional)

In a stock pot add half the olive oil, the cubed butternut squash and the minced onions and toss around on medium-medium high heat for about 3-5 minutes. Add the remaining olive oil, chicken and seasonings, cook for about 5 minutes and add the onions. When the onions just start to become clear around the edges add the remaining ingredients (except cilantro) and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. A minute or two before serving the cilantro can be added, I wasn’t able to add any here because I didn’t realized I had none before I came home.

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Glitter and Blue mani/pedi

Sunday is beauty day for my daughter and me. We usually try to do facials and mani/pedis together. It’s a good way for us to both hang out together and get ready for the week. She is in high school so it is of utmost importance to stay put together. Sometimes I like to be playful with my nails, I thank my 15 year old for that. Blue can be a hard color to pull off without having a flower child vibe. In my opinion, its all in the shade you choose and the light blue here could easily go that route which was another reason I went with fun.

Glittler and Blue mani/pedi

Today I chose to go with a blue mani/pedi. I went with a light blue on my mani and accented with a pop of bright and a glitter nail on each hand. From left to right the colors are Ulta “Blue Streak”, China Glaze “First & Last”, Forever 21 “Silver” and China Glaze “Electric Beat”. I also had a few nail stickers left so I added one to my right pinky.

Completed mani

For my pedi I usually always go with a solid color for all 10 toes. I went with a bright here, Ulta “Blue Streak” which I also used to accent the mani. My favorite polishes are China Glaze, OPI and Essie. Ocassionally when a color really strikes me, it will find its way home with me even if it isn’t one of my top three brands. I usually regret that decision either because the brush doesn’t allow for quick even application, the consistency causes streaking or it just chips in a day. I don’t know if its the color or maybe the pigment that makes this one a nice consistency, but in this case I don’t regret the purchase and I have with Ulta brand in the past.

Completed pedi

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Rosemary and Thyme Chicken w/ Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash

This is a quick one pan dish that can be prepared in a little over an hour for those of you that are on the go. Tomorrow is Tuesday night and my daughter and I have a standing date for $5.00 movies.  I prepared this ahead so we can heat it up and be ready to go on time for the show, but still be able to have a nice dinner.

Rosemary and Thyme Chicken w/ Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  • 4 chicken breasts – it is fine to use other cuts of chicken but cook time will vary
  • 3 small sweet potatoes – about 3 C diced. Note: contrary to what many believe, sweet potatoes actually have white flesh and not orange or reddish. These will be found in your produce section right next to the red and orange potatoes, which are actually yams. The names are used interchangeably but when a recipe calls for one or the other, make sure you are getting the correct potato.
  • 1 – 1.5 C. butternut squash – 1 inch cubes
  • 1.5 T. minced garlic
  • 1 t. dried rosemary
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 3-4 T. butter – I always use real butter unless otherwise noted
  • salt to taste
  • 1 t. red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 C. dark brown sugar
  • 1 small yellow onion – thinly sliced

Layer chicken and then potatoes and butternut squash in oven safe pan. Top with butter, garlic, seasonings and then dark brown sugar. Cover and cook for half an hour.

Onions will be added at 30 minutes of cook time so that they will retain some consistency and not become mushy. Remove dish from oven, uncover and add onions. Replace cover and cook for about another half hour. 

 

 

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Blackened Swai w/ Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Heres a twist on fish and chips that won’t disappoint, but is a healthy alternative to its classic fried cousin. If swai is new to you it is similar in texture to catfish, but has a much milder flavor. This is literally the only fish my daughter will eat so I can assure you, it doesn’t have an overly strong fishy flavor.

Blackened Swai w/ Baked Sweet Potatoe Fries

Ingredients – Blackened Swai

  • 4 Swai fillets – previously frozen works perfectly well
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • blackening seasoning please see recipe (here)

Be sure fish is completely thawed and rinsed off. Place fish on double layer of paper towels and press a layer of paper towels to top of fish to remove excess moisture. Turn burner to med/med high heat and spray even coat of extra virgin olive oil over surface of non stick skillet. Spoon about 1 T. of blackening seasoning onto tops of each swai fillet and using fingers smooth over surface. Place fillets in skillet and repeat seasoning on other side. Spray the tops with an even coat of olive oil, cover skillet with lid and let cook 3-5 minutes. Turn the fish and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side.

Remove fish from pan and serve.

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Scrambled Eggs w/ Turkey Sausage and Spinach

This quick and easy breakfast is perfect alone or with a side of fresh fruit. You will be satisfied, but not over full.

Scrambled Eggs w/ Turkey Sausage and Spinach

 Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion – finely sliced
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 C. turkey diced turkey sausage – I used half turkey keilbasa and half turkey brats that I had left over, but any meat can be substituted just make sure it is fully cooked before you add the onion and garlic as you want the onion to be slightly al dente when the dish is fully cooked
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 C. coarsely chopped (fresh) spinach
  • 5 Eggs – well beaten, you may add up to 2 T. of milk. In this version I didn’t have any so I went forward without
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 t. red chili flakes (optional) 

In a non-stick pan add first four ingredients and cook just until onions begin to become translucent.

 Add your coarsely chopped spinach and cook just until wilted.

At this point add your well beaten eggs, then salt and pepper to taste. If you choose to add red chili flakes you will add them at this step as well. Scramble eggs as normal. Remove from pan and place in serving dish when eggs are cooked to desired consistency or they will continue to cook and/or scorch if left unattended.

 

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Apricot Glazed Salmon

Pan seared with a hint of sweet and spicy, this light yet satisfying main dish is surprisingly quick and simple to prepare.

Apricot Glazed Salmon served with grilled veggies and herbed sweet potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon steaks – about 1 inch thick and about 3″ x 3 ” in size
  • Olive oil – I use a Misto sprayer, but you may use up to 2 t. if you don’t have a Misto
  • salt and pepper to taste (I always use sea salt and cracked pepper unless otherwise specified)

Apricot Glaze

  • 1/4 C. apricot preserves
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 t. red pepper flakes

Rinse your salmon steaks off with cool running water and let drain while you prepare the glaze.

Add all ingredients for the glaze in a small mixing bowl and whisk together thoroughly.

Heat a non-stick pan to medium high heat and spray a thin a coat of olive oil over the surface of the pan. Place your salmon directly in the pan, salt and pepper to taste, cover and let cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn over with a plastic spatula as it will now be flaky.

Add the glaze at this point, turn the heat down to med and allow the salmon to cook another 3-4 minutes. At this point the salmon is fully cooked, but the glaze needs to be allowed to thicken up. Turn the heat down to low, cover and allow to sit for about 3 minutes.

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