Monday, March 26, 2012

Skinny Chicken Salad

A couple of weekends ago, one of my girlfriends, Lauren, invited me to join her and some of her co-workers for high tea. I had never been and thought it would be perfect for a girly afternoon. We dressed up and met at The Tea List in Davis, California. You can check out the cute little place, here. For about $18 a person you get to pick out your own tea from this HUGE list of teas (they even had decaf for me, which was great!) and then they bring you these two huge tiered trays full of tea sandwiches, fruit, scones with jam and cream, and pastries. Between us five girls, we could not finish all of that stuff, but boy was it good. The decaf peach apricot tea was amazing and went perfectly with the chicken salad tea sandwiches I seemed to fancy. I don't know what it was, but those little things were really good. Maybe it was the grapes in the sandwich. I am not sure, but I knew I had to recreate it at some point.

That point came sooner than I thought. Last week I had a huge craving for chicken salad. I am not sure why, but I went with it. I had chicken breasts in the freezer so off to the store I went to get what I thought would make a yummy, flavorful and low-fat version. I picked up fresh chives, plain yogurt (lactose free of course), a lemon, some grapes and dijon mustard. I knew I had apple cider vinegar at home (I was recently on a kick of taking a shot of that everyday for health purposes. Ya, it was pretty nasty.). Now it stays on the shelf for dressings and marinades. Before I go any further, let me tell you about the grapes I picked out. These are not just any ordinary grapes. These are muscat grapes! I could not believe Whole Foods was selling wine grapes. They are sweet, juicy and just perfect to complement the tangy dressing I would be making to coat the chicken. Of course, you can use red or green grapes here. No need to get fancy. I wanted to just because they had them. I do that a lot at the store. Here is what those beautiful grapes looked like. So pretty.

I got home and took a frozen chicken breast out of the freezer. If I was thinking ahead, I would have taken it out a day or so ahead to defrost, but oh well. I had made some crock pot veggie stock the week before (don't worry, I'll show you that soon. SO EASY and a great way to use up old veggies), so I brought that to a boil and poached the chicken in it for about 30 minutes or so until it was done. While the chicken was simmering away, I decided to whip up a sauce for my chicken. Now, chicken salad is usually loaded with mayo and other super fattening things. Don't get me wrong, it tastes down right delicious, but if you are trying to watch your waistline, it's not the best thing. So, I wanted to see if I could whip a sauce up on the fly that was just as creamy and just as delicious. I think I got pretty close! To the plain yogurt I added apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, a dash or two of worcestershire sauce, fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix together, pour over cubed and cooked chicken and toss with halved grapes, chopped chives and toasted slivered almonds. It was tangy, it was fresh and it had just a hint of oniony flavor from the chives. I love chives. I was really happy with the way this came out and even happier that 3/4 cup of this creamy chicken salad was only 245 calories. Can you believe it? I served mine on a toasted everything bagel thin (my awesome co-worker, Michelle, calls these flagels - get it? Flat bagel!) and a few leaves of butter lettuce. It's more of a "fork and knife" kind of sandwich. Trust me, if you try to eat it the normal way, you will end up with chicken in your lap or on the floor. That would be sad. No one likes to eat chicken salad off the floor. People might look at you weird.

I forgot to include the worcestershire (it was a last minute flavor decision).

chicken poaching in veggie stock

halved grapes and chopped chives

creamy yogurt to fool you into thinking it's mayo. greek yogurt would work here too!

I changed my mind from my original plan to use champange vinegar.

toasted almonds

chopped chicken

all tossed together

assembled and ready to eat. yum!

Skinny Chicken Salad (makes about two 3/4 cup servings)

1 large chicken breast (or two small ones)
Water or stock to poach chicken in (enough to cover the chicken)
1/2 cup of halved grapes
1-2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 6oz container of plain yogurt (try to find one that is 100 calories or less for the container)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (more if you like it tangy)
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
Few dashes of worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot filled with water or stock and the chicken breast(s) to a simmer. Cover and simmer until fully cooked, about 20 minutes. While chicken is cooking, in small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. Give the sauce a quick taste and add more of previous ingredients, if desired. In a separate and larger bowl, place the halved grapes and chopped chives. After the chicken is done poaching, remove from liquid and cover with foil for about 10 minutes. Chop chicken into bite size pieces and set aside. In a small pan, over medium heat, toast the almonds for about 5 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Your nose will know when these are toasted. Just don't burn them. Add the chopped chicken and almonds to the grapes and chives. Pour over about half of the sauce and coat the ingredients.  Serve and enjoy.

The leftover sauce with this can be saved for a couple of days and used to make another batch of chicken salad. Or if you want to make a big batch of salad for the week, you can use it all at once. Just double all the other ingredients. Another way to enjoy this great salad is on top of butter lettuce as chicken salad lettuce wraps. Sounds fun right? My favorite way to enjoy this salad is on a bagel thin with lettuce. The whole sandwich comes in at just about 365 calories. Can't ask for a better meal packed with protein that will keep you and your tummy feeling full and totally satisfied.

No comments:

Post a Comment