Vietnamese Chicken Salad

vietchickensalad

I love being known for food and cooking around my friends and coworkers. I am the go-to for recommendations for good eats for family and friends (which necessarily isn’t a perk). What I love most is that I receive a lot of great food gifts, goodies and kitchen accessories. Most recently, my coworkers have been giving me herbs from their garden. Works out perfectly for me since I live in a box with indirect sunlight and the only plant that has survived is a cute little cactus plant. I’ll take anything I can get. My coworker got me a bag full of mint, one of my favorite herbs! I wanted to make something fresh AND refreshing. Vietnamese salad came to mind and since I had leftover grilled chicken breasts and vegetables, I had the perfect combination for a hearty summer Vietnamese salad. I used mint soley, but you can add whichever herbs you want: coriander, thai basil, etc.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 english cucumber, thinly sliced (however you like)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced (red onion works great too)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • peanuts, roughly chopped

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 inch ginger, finely grated (garlic works great if you don’t have ginger)
  • 1 fresh bird’s eye chili, deseeded and finely minced (optional, if you like spicy, sriracha or dried red pepper flakes works great if you don’t have fresh chilis)

Combine all the ingredients for the salad besides the peanuts. To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients with a few tbsp of water to dilute the concentrated dressing, to taste; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Drizzle over the salad and garnish with peanuts.

This dish is a great vegetarian/vegan dish, just exclude the protein 🙂

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Scallop Quinoa Risotto

scalloprisotto

Um, yes… I have no valid excuses for not updating besides being lazy. I mean, a girl needs a vacation every now and then, right? (so what if it was a really long vacation, I needed it)

So, I made this dish for my boyfriend and I one weeknight for dinner and now I cannot stop thinking about it. My boyfriend raved about this dish and he doesn’t raved about much (besides soup dumplings). So for me, that was a huge indicator that I made something special.

This is a take on a very traditional italian dish. I basically substituted risotto rice with quinoa. Replacing the arborio rice with quinoa was genius idea because quinoa has so many more health benefits and protein.

**I used the same large wide saucepan for each step. I don’t like (I mean I LOATHE) washing dishes. I just wiped it with a wet paper towel when I started in the risotto step.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp of olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp of butter, divided
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced (use whichever you like, I used baby bellas bc that’s all my local supermarket carried)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4-cups of fat-free chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lb of sea scallops
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
  • handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped

In a pot, bring the broth to a gently simmer while cooking the risotto. This will maintain the cooking temperature of the risotto as you make it and also speed up the process.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and butter in a large wide saucepan on medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of garlic and then mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.

Using the same pan on high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and remainder of butter. (Remember to have on HIGH heat to ensure a great sear on the scallops). Sprinkle salt and pepper to the sea scallops, add to the pan and pan sear, 2 minutes each side. Set aside.

In a saucepan, add remaining olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; stir for a few minutes until translucent (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add quinoa for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and toasted. Pour wine and stir until liquid has been absorbed.

Pour the heated broth to the quinoa, one small ladle at a time. Stir constantly until the liquid has been absorbed, then ladle in more broth. Continue adding broth and and stirring until quinoa is cooked (no longer crunchy), about 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste, parmesan cheese and and mushrooms, gently stir. Top with succulent scallops and garnish with chopped parsley!

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Red Sangria Popsicles

fruit

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As the weather is getting warmer and the sun is setting later, I have been making sangria more often as a way to unwind after work. Sangria is also a fun get together kind of drink. Its easy to drink and even non-red wine drinkers enjoy it. While drinking sangria is fun, having them as popsicles is even more fun. Especially on a hot summer day. I didn’t do anything special, I just used the leftover sangria and poured them into popsicle molds.

Red Sangria

  • 1 bottle of fruity red wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 shot of Brandy (I didn’t use any bc I didn’t have any at hand, so optional if you have)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • strawberry slices
  • orange slices
  • lime slices
  • mint leaves (optional for a zesty kick)

To make sangria drink: Combine wine, orange juice, lime juice, brandy and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add strawberry slices, orange slices and lime slices; stir the mixture and refrigerate for at least an hour. If you plan on drinking the sangria, add 1 cup of lemon-lime soda, stir with some ice and serve.

To make the sangria popsicles: Follow directions for sangria drink, but exclude 1 cup of lemon-lime soda. Pour sangria mixture into the molds, add fruit into the molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

red sangria

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Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

avocado egg salad

avocado egg salad sandwich

I love egg salad sandwiches. One of my simple yet favorite things to eat from time to time. Not sure how popular egg salad is since someone recently told me that it was old people food. Nonetheless, I adore them and I love this recipe because avocado makes everything better too (plus bacon)! I rarely eat white bread, but I really like white bread for egg salad. You can forgo the bread and make lettuce egg salad sandwiches!

Yields: 2 servings

  • 4 hard boiled eggs, removed yolk from the whites and dice the whites
  • 1 avocado, halved and dice the 1 half
  • 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • sliced bread (or lettuce if you’re on low carb diet)
  • lettuce
  • 4 turkey bacon slices, cooked

In a bowl, mash 2 whole egg yolks and half of the avocado together. Then incorporate the diced egg whites, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper and fold everything together.

Place 2 slices of bread on a work surface. Evenly divide egg salad among bread slices. Add lettuce greens, bacon and avocado slices, if desired. Top with remaining 2 slices of bread and serve.

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Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad

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Quinoa with Grilled Asparagus, red peppers and brussel sprouts.

grilled vegetable quinoa salad

So I’ve been hearing from some friends that I have been slacking on this site. I’m sorry, I’m running out of excuses besides I have little free time AND I literally watched all of Game of Thrones from beginning to present within a span of a couple days. I couldn’t stop, its so suspensful and intriguing. Here is what I made for dinner today. This is a great simple, summer meal, perfect for dinner and then lunch the next day. You will feel satisfied, but not bloated! And since everyone is a on a quinoa craze, I figured I make a new quinoa post. If my avacado was ripe, I would have added avacado too. Enjoy!

I grilled my vegetables because I love grilling and I like charred and smokey flavor, but you could easily roast your chicken and vegetables as well.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 chicken breast
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, thick ends cut off
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks for grilling
  • handful of brussel sprouts cut in half
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley, roughly chopped
  • shaved parmesan cheese or feta (optional)

Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer, cover the pot and continue cooking for 10-15 mins. Fluff quinoa with fork.

On a baking sheet, toss all the vegetables in olive oil and salt and pepper. I placed the brussel sprouts in a grill basket. Do the same for the chicken breasts. Grill all the vegetables few minutes on each side, or until charred marks formed. Grill chicken breasts 4 mins each side.

Make a vinaigrette of 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, salt and pepper and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder. Whisk all ingredients until well incorporated.

Cut asparagus on a bias into 1 inch pieces. Dice the bell peppers and chicken breasts. Combine vegetables, chicken and parsley with the quinoa and dress with the vinaigrette. Add parmesan or feta cheese if desired.

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