Balsamic Chicken and Fruit Spinach Salad

It should be mandatory for all salads to include at least one fruit topping. I happen to love fruit so the more, the better in my case. So with that being said, I present to you the holy grail of fruit in a salad:

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Paired with chicken, slivered almonds and feta cheese. 

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Balsamic Chicken and Fruit Spinach Salad
Serves 2
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups baby spinach
  2. ½ cup fresh blueberries
  3. ½ cup fresh strawberries
  4. ½ cup mandarine oranges
  5. 3 tablespoons feta cheese
  6. 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
  7. 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
Dressing
  1. ¼ cup olive oil
  2. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  3. ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  4. ½ teaspoon honey
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Add all salad ingredients into one large bowl. Drizzle dressing over-top and divide between two large bowls.
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Summer Berry Watermelon Salad

It wouldn’t be summertime without a fruit salad.

berrysalad2

berrysalad3

Summer Berry Watermelon Salad
Serves 4
A delicious fruit salad to enjoy during a hot summer day.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups watermelon, chopped into cube shapes
  2. 1 pint blueberries
  3. 1 pint raspberries
  4. 1 pint strawberries, quartered
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Serve slightly chilled.
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Chicken Caesar Salad (Homemade Dressing Included)

While we’re on this chicken and salad combo mix, I figured I may as well go ahead and add Chicken Caesar to the lineup. You can get as fancy as you want with salads, (or any meal for that matter) but you almost always go back to the basics when the plate is clean. See what I did there?

caesarpastasalad

When we go out to eat, 8/10 times I order the Chicken Caesar Salad no matter where we are. There are some places that I have had the salad quite a few times and I already know how good it is. There are other places where I am just going to assume the salad will be good enough because it’s a safe choice on the menu. Can you really mess up a caesar salad? Absolutely. Serve it with anchovies for someone who is deathly afraid of the look of anchovies. Sure, a lot of the times the dressing is made with it. I don’t need the proof right in front of my face though. 

I can totally avoid the anchovies at home because caesar dressing I’ve been using on my salads is actually really simple to make. It just consists of 6 ingredients: mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese, worcestershire sauce and black pepper.

Nothing fishy going on here. 

caesarsalad

And remember, if you want to add a little extra to your salad; pasta is always a good choice. (Thanks for the introduction to it, Skinnymom) – Just be cautious with those croutons! While croutons in a salad are ohsodelicious, they’re also bread and you know what they say about bread: “All aboard the carb train.” 

Enjoy!

Chicken Caesar Salad
Serves 4
A simple recipe for chicken caesar salad with homemade caesar dressing.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
For the Salad
  1. 8 cups romaine lettuce, divided
  2. 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  3. 1 tomato, deseeded and diced
  4. 20 fat-free caesar croutons
  5. 2 tablespoons reduced-fat parmesan cheese
For the Dressing
  1. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 teaspoon reduced-fat parmesan cheese
  4. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  5. ¼ tablespoon minced garlic
  6. ¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Using a fork, remove pieces from rotisserie chicken, shredding and then placing in a large bowl. Add romaine lettuce, diced tomato. Toss well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour over salad evenly. Toss well.
  3. Add croutons (5 per plate) and sprinkle ½ tablespoon parmesan cheese on top.
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Greek Chicken Salad

When I decided on prepping Greek Chicken Salad, I did it knowing that I could enjoy it in a variety of ways. There are times when I become less enthusiastic about a meal that I’ve got repeated throughout the week; especially if it’s one that I don’t look forward to in the first place. That’s also when I decided to make my own meal-plans instead of following others. I love food too much to not look forward to a meal!

greekchickensalad

I remember the first time I had chicken salad. My mom had brought home a container of it from Sam’s Club. I knew that I loved tuna salad, but after tasting that particular chicken salad, I found that I loved chicken salad more. 

Chicken Salad doesn’t have to be a basic recipe with the same ingredients every time. It tastes great on a plate of spinach, overtop a fresh loaf of bread, on-top of a cucumber, with a handful of crackers, or even just by itself. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy or prepare chicken salad.

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Generally each recipe I’ve came across has included grapes as far as fruit goes, but I think my favorite combination has been grapes and apples. Both flavors compliment each other well and you’re adding another texture which is always a good thing. There’s no such thing as too much fruit and that goes for chicken salad as well.

You’re always welcomed to add additional ingredients. This particular recipe calls for greek seasoning, but if you do not have all of the spices needed to prepare that; you can always just use ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. 

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Doesn’t it look fantastic? I have to admit – I purposely prepared this shortly before lunch time so that after I was doing prepping the ingredients and taking photos, I could enjoy that open face chicken salad sandwich pictured above. And it was delicious. Enjoy!

Greek Chicken Salad
Serves 4
Chicken Salad can be a colorful recipe, with added ingredients and dressing adjusted.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rotisserie chicken
  2. 1½ cups red grapes, halved
  3. medium apple, diced
  4. 1½ cups celery, diced
  5. ½ cup slivered almonds
  6. ½ cup mayonnaise
Greek Seasoning
  1. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  2. 2 teaspoons dried basil
  3. 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  4. 1 teaspoons dried thyme
  5. 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  6. 4 teaspoons onion powder
  7. 2 teaspoons onion flakes
  8. 2 teaspoons dried dill
  9. 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  10. 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  11. 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  12. 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  13. 1 teaspoons nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Using a medium size bowl, add mayonnaise and greek seasoning. Mix well.
  2. Combine chicken, grapes, apple, celery and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise sauce and fold, covering all ingredients entirely. Chill for 10 minutes before serving.
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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

When you finish putting together a week’s worth of lunch in the form of a salad and it doesn’t take much effort at all yet it tastes like it should? The feeling of satisfaction AND victory. Not only did I just save myself time each day by prepping this meal ahead in bulk amount, but I get to look forward to having more time to actually enjoy it. 

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Most Mediterranean salads have olives in them. Feel free to add those to the list of ingredients if you happen to like olives. I don’t, so I opted to leave them out. 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Serves 6
A quick and easy take on a Mediterranean salad with an added bonus: pasta noodles.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 12-ounces farfalle pasta, cooked according to directions
  2. 1 cucumber, diced
  3. 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  4. 4-ounces crumbled low fat feta cheese
  5. half of a medium size red onion, thinly sliced
Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette
  1. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  3. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  4. 1 teaspoon honey
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  6. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  7. ¼ teaspoon salt
  8. ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package over med-high heat in a medium size saucepan. Drain in a strainer under cold water for 30-45 minutes to cool off pasta. Drain again.
  2. Add cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and feta cheese to a medium size mixing bowl. Add Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette and combine well. Next add pasta and combine again. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
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BLT Pasta Salad

bltpastasalad

I restarted the BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program by Kayla Itsines a couple weeks ago and have been trying to watch what I eat so it doesn’t cancel out all my effort that I put into the daily workouts. I always seem to feel more satisfied with my meal-plan when it consists of lots of greens and vegetables. This week I have two similar salads scheduled, this BLT Pasta Salad and a BLT Caesar Pasta Salad. Yes, someone likes bacon in their salads. I will eat the BLT Pasta Salad Monday thru Wednesday and the BLT Caesar Pasta Salad Thursday and Friday. This weekend is much too eventful with the kids getting out of school, graduations and birthday parties so I will be trying to behave to the best of my advantage during such. Keyword, “trying.”

Now before you think “this recipe calls for ranch dressing AND barbecue sauce, it can’t be that healthy”; hear me out. This is 6 servings. I cut my servings in half since I’m only having this from Monday thru Wednesday. While you can choose to find a more healthier alternative to the ranch dressing (ie lite ranch, fat-free ranch, yogurt ranch) just know that you’re going to be mixing the portion of it with 6 cups of tossed romaine lettuce. Feel better? 

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There’s something about mixing ranch with barbecue sauce. When I didn’t watch what I ate, I used to ask for a side of ranch and a side of barbecue to dip my french fries and chicken nuggets in. It still sounds good. But not having to run for an hour and a half to work it off doesn’t, so I think I will just stick to having that ranch and barbeque in this salad. 

BLT Pasta Salad
Serves 6
Your favorite go-to-sandwich just became a salad with pasta.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  2. 2½ cups uncooked bow-tie pasta
  3. 2 medium size tomatoes, diced
  4. 4 turkey bacon strips, fully cooked and crumbled into small pieces
  5. ½ cup ranch dressing
  6. 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
Instructions
  1. In a medium size saucepan over med-high heat, cook pasta according to package directions. When finished cooking, drain in a strainer over cold water to cool down completely.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, tomatoes, bacon and romaine lettuce.
  3. Using a small bowl, add ranch dressing and barbecue sauce. Stir to combine first, before pouring overtop pasta salad mix. Toss gently and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. This can be stored for 3 days in an air-tight container. Just don't add the romaine lettuce until right before serving.
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Pesto Pasta Salad

pestopastasalad
The thing I love about pesto is the variety of ways you can use it. It’s common for us to use it during the summer for a healthier version of grilled cheese for adults. I say adults because I cannot imagine either kid liking pesto and so I am saving myself the trouble of even wasting such a delicate and tasty sauce.

This Pesto Pasta Salad is a branch off of a Balsamic Mozzarella Tomato, or bruschetta salad. You’re welcome to use any sort of pesto sauce that you like, but I recommend making your own. 

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Pesto is pretty easy sauce to make. I prefer to make my pesto over purchasing it because I like to know everything that goes into it. A classic pesto recipe only requires a few things and just takes you a few minutes to make. Add each of the following ingredients (except cheese) into a blender until everything combined resembles a paste. Remove from blender and add cheese.

Pesto Sauce:
4 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried off with a papertowel
½ cup olive oil
¼ pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Note: If you’re making 1 day ahead, transfer sauce to a small bowl and refrigerate. 

 

Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves 4
Penne noodles with a homemade pesto sauce, diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
23 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
23 min
Ingredients
  1. 8-ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  2. fresh mozzarella cheese
  3. 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  4. 1 cup pesto sauce, homemade recipe above
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook according to package. Drain and let cool water run over pasta until chill.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, mozzarella and tomatoes. Add pesto sauce and stir well. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a well-concealed container to chill.
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Turkey Caesar Sandwich

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Chicken Caesar Salad, or just a side caesar salad, has always been one of my go-to choices when I’m eating out or needing a quick throw together lunch for the week. But salads get tiring after so many and sandwiches are nice but let’s be honest; half of the time they’re not the healthiest choice you can make. Ugh, carbs. 

So while trying to fix the solution, I scanned through the bread section at our local Market District and found this fantastic loaf of bread; Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain. I’m still trying to limit my bread intake, but if I’m craving a sandwich now I know I can enjoy one that’s not to the roof in calories. 

OK. So since salad is getting a break, now it’s time to give chicken a break. I’m sure it’s probably the one source of protein/meat that you eat most per week. Luckily, turkey is just as good (especially for a sandwich) simply because of the similarity and it can be bought with low sodium. You can keep the caesar dressing though. It’s extremely easy to make, uses a few ingredients you may already have on hand and tastes GREAT with turkey. 

Now you have a sandwich that’s as close to a caesar salad as you’re gonna get. And it may infact be healthier. Cheers to that!

Turkey Caesar Sandwich
Serves 1
Give Chicken Caesar Salad a break. At least for one meal.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices whole grain low-calorie bread
  2. 2 leaves of romaine lettuce
  3. 3 ounces low-sodium turkey, thinly sliced
  4. 1 slice of tomato
  5. 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  6. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  7. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  8. dash of Worcestershire sauce
  9. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl, mixing well. Lightly sprinkle black pepper. Spread onto slices of bread.
  2. Add romaine lettuce leaves, turkey and tomato.
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Ranch Chicken Salad

ranchchickensalad

Mondays are never easy, but rainy Mondays are even less. I had prepared this lunch dish last night in-between waiting for our pork tenderloins and twice baked potatoes to cook and it looked and smelled so delicious that I was looking forward to photographing it in some great natural light. I should have known better. I regularly look at the weather forecast and I knew rain was headed our way all day today. It’s OK. Considering that I am going to be eating this as my lunch for the next several days and we have sunshine the remainder of the week; I will have plenty of opportunity to take a better photograph and edit this post with it. And you after Monday readers will never know! 

I’m trying to ease more dairy free recipes into our menu. This is officially my first, purposely at least, and can also be seen as Whole 30 and Paleo friendly as well. Everyone cheer! 

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I’m not sure if you already know this or not, but the secret to preparing a quick and tasteful chicken salad is rotisserie chicken. It doesn’t make a difference if you buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery or if you slow-cooker some chicken breasts for 4 hours with broth; chicken salads taste best with shredded, juicy chicken. You can also add and mix things as you go, accordingly to what flavors you like. I like my chicken salad quite often, so I am always trying to think of new ways to differ it up. 

So why not add some ranch? There are so many great things you can do with a dry packet of ranch seasoning. I use it for a handful of recipes as it adds a nice little tangy taste that can or cannot be similiar to the ranch you use for salad dressing depending on just how much you use. If you’re leaning more towards creating your own ranch seasoning rather than buying one from the grocery, a great dairy-free recipe can be found here.

Ranch Chicken Salad
A new and tangy twist on your typical chicken salad recipe. Just as easy to make, even more delicious.
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups of rotisserie, or finely shredded chicken breast
  2. ½ cup mayonnaise
  3. 1 tablespoon dry ranch seasoning
  4. 1 cup celery, diced
  5. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  6. ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
Instructions
  1. Combine shredded chicken, mayonnaise and ranch seasoning in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add celery, bell pepper and onion to chicken mixture. Combine well.
Notes
  1. Serves best after being chilled for a half hour in refrigerator.
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Healthy Egg Salad

eggsalad
When I was younger, I used to associate eggs with breakfast. Now that I’m older and have been working out for the past year+ on a pretty consistent basis, I associate eggs with the word “protein.”

With the daily recommended protein amount being 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men, eggs (6 grams each) are a fantastic source when starting the day off, or even eaten as a hard-boiled treat in-between-meals snack. But sometimes we get tired of the same ole eggs for breakfast routine and want to switch it up for something else. You can still get your daily egg or two in with this simple and healthy egg salad. Add it over-top of a rice cake or have it as a sandwich.

 

Healthy Egg Salad
Serves 4
A delicious serving of egg salad; perfect for lunch or snack as a sandwich, ontop of a rice cracker or simply by itself.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 hardboiled eggs, shells peeled and chopped into small pieces
  2. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  3. 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  4. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  6. 1/3 cup celery, diced
  7. 1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
Instructions
  1. 1. Using a medium size bowl, mix eggs, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Gently fold, but enough that you’re combining all ingredients well.
  2. 2. Add celery and green onions, again mixing well.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
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