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My 6th and last Newman’s Own Family Bites recipe is one of my personal favorites.  It’s Chicken Vegetable Couscous Salad which is loaded with veggies, fresh herbs, lemon zest (and juice), chicken, and Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing.  Here is a little fact of the day: Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing was the first product that Paul Newman and writer A.E. Hotchner launched with back in 1982 on the shelves of a big supermarket in Norwalk.  In two weeks time, 10,000 cases were sold and that was the start to Newman’s Own.  This salad dressing started it all….

The best part about this couscous salad is you can add any vegetables you prefer.  So play around and decide what veggies you think works for your salad. 

It’s been a fun 6 days of sharing the Foodbuzz and Newman’s Own Family Bites recipes with everyone out there.  If you haven’t stopped by Foodbuzz go here and you can see little ole’ me featured.  A big thanks goes out to Foodbuzz and Newman’s Own for giving me this great opportunity!!

Just a side note for all of you following the 10 in 10 Healthy Challenge, another week has past and I have to admit it’s been hard to wake up early to head to the gym but I have kept it up!  A couple times this week I woke up and did weights here at the house.  It was nice to be able to stay home and get a quick workout.  I logged in another 15 miles this week too.  Today I actually got to get outside with the girls in tow for a long run.  It was so nice to have warmer weather to get out and enjoy.  The wind on the other hand was another story.  It was fun to see the wind surfers out as I ran along the beach.  Next week will be interesting since I’ll be traveling.  The good news is the hotel has a really nice gym so I’m hoping to take advantage of it.  Have a good week all of you who are taking part in the 10 in 10 Healthy Challenge!

Chicken Vegetable Couscous Salad

Print Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 cup couscous

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar Salad Dressing

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp minced garlic

Fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 ½ to 2 cups cooked chicken, diced

 ½ cup thawed, frozen peas

½ cup green onion, thinly sliced

½ cup red bell pepper, diced

½ cup English cucumber, diced

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

3 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

3 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

Zest of half a lemon

 

Instructions:

Bring the 1 ½ cups of low-sodium chicken broth to a boil.  After bring to a boil remove from the heat and add the 1 cup of couscous.  Cover and let set 5 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil & vinegar salad dressing, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ tsp salt, and a couple grinds of pepper and blend well.

In a large bowl combine the chicken, peas, green onion, red bell pepper, cucumber, parsley, basil, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest. 

Combine the couscous, vegetable chicken mix, and dressing mixture and stir until well incorporated.  Serve immediately or place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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I have been lucky enough to be asked to participate in the first family challenge put forth by Newman’s Own® and Foodbuzz.  If you’re not familiar with Foodbuzz, it is a great site for food bloggers to connect and share their recipes, restaurant reviews, and so much more.  And if you’re not familiar with Newman’s Own, it was started in 1982 by the beloved and late actor Paul Newman and his good friend and write A.E. Hotchner.  Newman’s Own is now a major brand in supermarkets and health food stores, and has given all its profits to charity along the way.  They established the Hole in the Wall Gang, camps for kids with serious diseases.  Newman’s Own is not only a great company with wonderful products, but gives a great deal back to the community.

Foodbuzz sent me a delicious assortment of selected Newman’s Own products to inspire convenient main dish and salad recipes.  The challenge was to create a total of 9 recipes which consisted of 3 lunch recipes, 3 dinner and 3 salad/snacks.  My goal was to create recipes that were convenient and family-friendly.  I am happy to announce that I was chosen to be the launch blogger for the Family Bites Challenge.  This week I will be posting a recipe a day using some of the following delicious Newman’s Own products:

Alfredo Pasta Sauce

Sockarooni Pasta Sauce

Light Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

Olive Oil & Vinegar Salad Dressing

Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Medium Chunky Salsa

To start off the week, here is one of my husband’s favorites of the recipes I submitted.  It uses the Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing. 

 

Another thing I forgot to mention, all their products are all-natural!  Another great benefit about Newman’s Own product line.  In this recipe, I marinated the chicken in the balsamic vinaigrette and also used the dressing to toss the finished pasta.  The pasta is a great dish which has been eaten in my house as a side dish and as a main dish.  I hope you find it as delicious as my family does!  Enjoy and stay tune to the other Newman’s Own recipes of the week!

 

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach and Tomato Pasta Salad

Print Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 (20-ounce) package cheese tortellini

1 pound  skinned and boned chicken breasts

1 ½  cup  Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing, divided

1 teaspoons  Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 ½ cups fresh cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2  cup yellow bell pepper, diced

Instructions:

1. Place chicken in a zip-lock bag and pour 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette in bag with chicken.  Marinate for at least 2 hour, but best if marinated overnight.  Take chicken out of zip-lock bag and discard marinade. 

2. In a grill pan, grill chicken breasts, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side until cooked through.  Place yellow bell pepper slices in grill pan and grill about 2 minutes on each side.  Once cooled, dice chicken up in small bites.

3. Whisk together remaining ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing and mustard in a small bowl.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Let cool 10 minutes.

5. Toss together pasta, chicken, balsamic mixture, spinach, and remaining 3 ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve immediately, or, if desired, cover and chill 1 hour before serving

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On the weekends I try to think of ideas for my lunch for the week.  Sometimes this can be difficult and sometimes not at all.  I have to admit I’m that person that is ok with the same thing for lunch several days in a row.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or not?  Anyways, I pack my lunch every day.  Which is great for many reasons, it saves money, and it’s healthier than the alternative of going out to eat.  Which is great for my goals for the 10 in 10 healthy challenge!  So on my weekend runs to Whole Foods I try to plan accordingly.  That means planning for my lunch, the girl’s meals, and of course dinner for the hubby and me.  If I don’t have ideas by the time I get there I usually pick up a rotisserie chicken.  It’s amazing all the things you can do with them!  This wrap came about by accident, but it has since been my favorite lunch time meal.  The homemade pesto is great because it has great flavor and has the added nutrient benefits of the spinach.  The whole wheat wrap/tortilla adds your whole grains and the chicken your protein.   If you want, you can use the many varieties of wraps that are on the market these days too.  It’s amazing how many are out there!  The chicken mixture if easy to mix together and can be stored in the refrigerator until your ready to make your wrap.  So here is one of my lunch time favorites.  What’s yours?

Chicken Tomato Pesto Wrap

Print Recipe

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

¾ cup shredded mozzarella

Homemade Pesto (recipe follows)

1 cup fresh baby spinach

4 Whole Wheat Tortillas

Homemade Spinach Sundried Tomato Pesto

2 cups tightly packed baby spinach

1 cup tightly packed fresh basil

1 garlic clove, minced

4 to 5 sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil)

1 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

To Make Pesto:

Place spinach, basil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, and olive oil in food processor.  Pulse until mixture is well combine and resembles a paste texture.

 

To Make Wrap:

In a large bowl mix chicken, tomatoes, cheese, and pesto together until well combined.

Lay one tortilla out and lay some of the baby spinach evenly down the center of the tortilla.  Scoop some of the chicken pesto mixture and place evenly on top of the spinach. Fold the left and right edges of the tortilla over about an inch, towards the center of the tortilla, then starting with the edge of the tortilla closest to you, roll up the tortilla. Cut the wrap in half with a sharp knife, in the center.  Enjoy!!

 

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Healthy Chicken Pastry Bites

These Chicken Pastry Bites are actually packed with quite a delicious filling and the best part is that my girls don’t know that carrots, apple, chicken and onion make up the interior.  All they know is they are yummy.  The reason why I’m saying “yummy” is because that’s Laine’s new word, when she likes what she is eating she says “yummy mommy”.  Not only are these great for kids little hands but they are great for appetizers or even a snack as your husband watches football.  Take it from me, my husband has eaten several of these while watch football on the weekends. So enjoy and hopefully you find these “yummy”.

Healthy Chicken Pastry Bites

  • 2 ¼ cups Chicken Breast, minced (I used rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 tart apple, grated
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp white wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves
  • ½ Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • ½ Tbsp Honey Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Puff Pastry, Thawed ( I used DuFour Pastry Kitchens puff pastry – at Whole Foods)
  • 1 egg white

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place chicken breast in the food processor to mince.  If you would like you can also use the food processor to grate the carrots, apple and onion.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the chicken, carrot, apple, onion. Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic and flour until well combined.

Lay puff pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface and slightly press out.  You won’t need press out that much if you are using the DuFour Pastry dough.  Then cut the pastry dough into four equal rectangles (down the center and across).  Then divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and spoon evenly down the center of the pastry rectangle.

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Fold one edge of the pastry over the filling, stretching it slightly as you go and tuck it under the chicken mixture slightly.  Fold the other pastry edge over the top to form a seam and press down gently to seal.  Turn the roll over so seam is face down.  Repeat with the remaining rolls. 

Once you have completed the 4 rolls cut into 4 to 5 little bites.  You should have around 20 to 25 bites when completed.  Make a small slit on the top of each bite to prevent them from bursting.  Arrange the bites onto your prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

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Uncover the bites and brush the tops with egg white then bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.  Serve with your favorite sauce.

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I like chicken salad and I especially like my mom’s, but it is loaded with mayonnaise….which I don’t like!  I’ve tried several recipes in the past and finally came up with my own healthy version.  I find it super yummy!  What’s even better it’s got veggies in it, and no mayonnaise!  I’ve made this chicken salad the past two weeks and I still can’t get enough of it.  I make it on the weekend so I can have it for the week to make sandwiches or even by itself with a couple pita chips.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water, or maybe it’s because it’s lunch time and I’m hungry.  I like to think it’s just that good and I can’t get enough of it.  Too bad I finished up the last of the batch last night!  I guess I’ll have to make some more soon.  Here’s the recipe and I hope you find it as delicious as my house does.

Chicken Salad with Peas and Herb Mustard Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup tightly packed fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup tightly packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup green onion
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • ½ Tbsp Honey Mustard
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • ¾ cups finely chopped celery
  • ¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3  cup shredded low-fat mozzarella

For the Herb Mustard Vinaigrette:

Combine first 11 ingredients (through garlic), in a food processor; process until smooth. Set aside.

For Chicken Salad:

Combine herb mixture with chicken, celery, peas, and cheese in a large bowl, tossing well.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Enjoy!

Store in an air tight container and place in the refrigerator.

KID CONVERTIBLE NOTE:  To make this chicken salad appealing to kids, wrap it up in whole wheat wrap instead of placing in between bread.  Or put out a bowl with some pita chips so they can dip into the salad like they would salsa.  If your child has a nut allergy, simple strike the almonds from the ingredients list.  You can always do half the salad with almonds and half without too.

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In most classic pesto recipes they call for pine nuts, cheese and oil lots of oil.  Not this one!  I reduced the oil and cheese, but still kept the flavor.  I’ve used the combination of spinach and basil with a little cheese and oil for a healthy alternative to your traditional pesto.  The pesto alone accounts for a full serving of vegetables.  Then you add in the tomatoes and yellow bell pepper and you are loading you and your child with “hidden” vegetables.  This is an easy recipe and great for a side or as a main dish. 

 

Spinach Pesto Chicken Pasta

  • ½ lb whole wheat pasta of choice
  • 2 cups tightly-packed baby spinach (about 3 oz)
  • 1 cup tightly-packed fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup unsalted toasted almond slivers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken), cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced small
  • 1 ½ cups cooked white beans ( or 1 15 oz can low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

 Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking further.  Set aside.

Put spinach, basil, garlic, cheese in a food processor and pulse to form a chunky paste.  With food processor running (on but not pulsing), add olive oil through the food chute in a slow drizzle until thick, smooth pesto forms.  Combine pesto with cooked pasta in a large bowl.

Put almonds in processor and pulse about 10 times, until finely chopped.  Stir almonds into pasta.

Add cubed chicken, tomatoes, yellow pepper and beans to the pasta.  Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!!

 

KID CONVERTIBLE NOTE:  To make this pasta appealing to kids, select pasta that’s cut into letters or fun shapes and isn’t too difficult to eat.  If your child has a nut allergy, simple strike the almonds from the ingredients list.  You can always do half the pasta with almonds and half without too.  And one more note, if you child isn’t a pesto lover you can always substitute the pesto for homemade pureed tomato sauce.  Stay tune and I’ll post my easy tomato sauce recipe that can be ready in 5 minutes.

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