Creamy Cranberry Chicken Salad

Looking for a fun and simple summertime lunch idea? This chicken salad is perfect for an afternoon by the pool or to prep ahead for lunch throughout the week. I made this recipe for lunch this week and packed sliced cucumbers to use in replacement of crackers or bread. It only got better as the days progressed!

Typically, the base for most chicken salads or other simple salads such as egg salad is mayonnaise. For this chicken salad, I used a plain, fat free Greek yogurt to not only add a little tanginess, but also bump up the protein content a bit! I was so pleasantly surprised how well this salad kept for 5 days!

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I used about 3/4 lb of chicken for this salad, but the recipe can easily be doubled for a larger crowd or to last a bit longer. I also used a pre-shredded chicken, but you can easily shred a small while chicken or cook 1-2 large chicken breasts, let them cool, and shred yourself.

I hope you give these easy and delicious summer recipe a try!! The weekend is right around the corner πŸ™‚

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  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch of pink salt
  • 1/2 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard

Directions

Chop onion and bell pepper into small, bite-sized pieces.

In a medium sized bowl, make sure chicken is shredded to the texture you like. Add all ingredients and stir until chicken is fully coated. Taste to see if further seasoning is needed. Keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.

 


Vegan Carrot Cake Protein Bites

Happy Sunday everyone!!! Is anyone ever ready for Monday? I think my case of the Monday’s gets worse with each week, especially when there is a holiday around the corner. This week, my family flies in from Ohio and I can’t wait to see them! Even though they were just here in Christmas, it seems like forever since they have been here soaking up the Arizona sun!

With Easter coming up next weekend, I was trying to think of something a little creative and fun to make for the week. Jeff and I are still going strong with our Lent goal of no sweets until Easter Sunday, so while pastries, breads, and cookies, sounded fantastic, I couldn’t bring myself to cheat! While these little protein balls may taste like dessert, they are made without any sweetener or sugar. The sweetness you taste is from one of my favorite ingredients, dates, and maybe a little from the protein powder.

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These are raw and require no cooking, freezing, or chilling before being eaten (although I do think giving them some time in the refrigerator enhances the flavor — they are also better cold!). They are made with all vegan products, including the protein powder. I am happy to say they came out better than expected as this was the first time I actually put a raw vegetable into one of my protein bite recipes!

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These are best kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days. I used a vegan vanilla protein powder from Sprout’s Farmers Market. Sprouts does not pay or endorse my page, I just truly love their products and their store!! I am not sure how other protein powders would compare, and I tend to by vegan brands regardless so if you use something different I don’t know if it will alter the taste. I really hope you give this one a try! If you celebrate Easter, Β I hope you have a wonderful and relaxed week! I’ll be enjoying the time I have with my family, so HHK will take a back seat for a few days, but expect an update on some of our local eats once they leave! Enjoy!

Vegan Carrot Cake Protein Bites

  • Servings: 12-14 bites
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 6 dates
  • 2 Tbsp vegan vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unsalted peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrot

Directions

In a food processor, grind all ingredients except the carrot and raisins. Stop and stir occasionally. Grind until a find meal forms that can be pressed together with your fingers to form a solid. Add the carrots and pulse a few times to incorporate them into the meal.

Remove the blade and stir in raisins.Β Rolled gum ball sized bites with hands and place on a cookie sheet or large plate. Once finished, either cover with foil or place in an air-tight, sealed contained and refrigerate. Will keep for 5-7 days in refrigerator.

 

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Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

How about a recipe? I haven’t posted one in a while and this one is just too good not to share. We all know I love a good “mock cookie pie”. Well, how about just a mock cookie? These cookies are filled with protein and just sweet enough to give you that cookie feeling. I’m a lover of all things chocolate (except chocolate cake… is that weird?) so of course a few dark chocolate morsels are sprinkled in there as well! Bust out your food processor and give these little guys a try!


The base of these cookies is of course, chickpeas! Talk about something that is versatile in use. I love chickpeas for fresh summer salads, fillers for chicken salad, and as a great alternative for flour in decadent desserts. This is an easy way to bump up the protein content of your desserts and replace plain flour that doesn’t have much nutritive value.


Honey gives these cookies a little sweetness, and oats add as a binder so they cookie stays semi-firm. They are very moist, there is no way around it, so make sure you give them enough time to bake and form together!

Peanut Butter Protein CookiesΒ 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (so salt added)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • dark chocolate chunks Β (I used about 1/3 cup)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, blend your chickpeas, honey, peanut butter, vanilla, baking power, cinnamon, and salt. Stop and scrape the sides as needed and blend until completely smooth. Once your batter is free of chunks or any remnants of chickpea skins, fold in your chocolate chunks. Don’ blend these or they will become too fine!

On a greased cookie sheet, place your cookies 1-2 in apart (they don’t really spread out much). My cookies were about the size of a ping pong ball.

Cooking time is a little rough with these, depending on how great your oven is or the type of cookie tray. Check after about 12-15 minutes. Cookies should be slightly golden brown on the bottom and able to be lifted off the sheet without completely breaking in half. If they still feel overly soft, bake for about 3-5 minutes for a total of about 18-20 minutes. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before eating! They will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week and a half! Personally, I think they taste best cold (tastes like raw cookie dough when cold!). Enjoy πŸ™‚

 


Not So Traditional Chicken Salad

This chicken salad isn’t your traditional “chicken salad.” It is a cross between chicken salad and a salad with chicken, but it is definitely delicious and flavorful! It was the perfect post-run lunch for me yesterday afternoon, so I just had to share this little creation! It is super easy and very quick to make. I had some leftover chicken already shredded from my Friday night quick dinner (whole roasted chicken from Whole Foods), which made prep a lot faster. Shredded chicken is always great to have on hand for easy dinner or lunch prep, for topping salads, or for simple snacking.

I made this chicken salad for 1, but you could always double or triple the recipe. I also used OPA Greek Yogurt Feta and Dill dressing in replace of traditional chicken salad condiments (mayo and mustard). This dressing is absolutely delicious and creamy but is made with a Greek yogurt base. Super easy, super satisfying, and very flavorful! I hope you try this fabulous little afternoon pick-me-up!

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 cups shredded chicken
  • 1/2 small apple of choice, diced
  • 1/4 of a red pepper, diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8-10 raw almonds
  • 1/2 small avocado, diced
  • ~2 Tbsp OPA Greek Yogurt Feta and Dill dressing

Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately of refrigerate and serve w/in 24 hours. Enjoy!

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Black Bean Chicken Soup w/ Cilantro

I know, I literally haven’t posted in FOREVER. I’m so sorry! Here are my excuses:

  1. The holidays.
  2. WEDDINGS!
  3. I started grad school.

That is pretty much it. All of my spare times seems to revolve around exercise and/or studying now a days, BUT this recipe needs to be shared! This has been my savior the past couple of weekends because it is so easy, so delicious, and very filling. It is packed with protein, so one bowl and I am typically set for the evening. Add a side of veggies and you have a well balanced meal for lunch or for dinner (I have some packed today for lunch at work!).

I am a big black bean person (as you all know!). I really find them to be a necessary staple in my diet. They are easy, versatile, filling, and so yummy! My husband absolutely loves this recipe, so for the past 3 weeks it has been my Sunday “sit on the stove while I study” meal. It also lasts me a few days so I am able to use it for lunches or leftover dinner the next day or 2!


I will say, don’t skip the cilantro. It adds a fresh element to this soup and really brightens something that can be very heavy. It is perfect to feed a small crowed and really utilizes a lot off foods that we typically have in our pantry or refrigerator. I hope you try this delicious, yummy Black Bean Chicken Soup!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper
  • 1, 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, no added-salt or low-sodium
  • 2, 15 oz cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs chicken breast (about 2 large breasts should work)
  • Fresh cilantro to taste (about 2 Tbsp for the actual soup, and some left over for garnish)
  • Canola or olive oil spray
  • Seasonings: cumin (~1-1 1/2 Tbsp), chili powder (~1 Tbsp), black pepper (~1/2 Tbsp), garlic powder (~1/2 Tbsp), paprika (~1 Tbsp), sea salt (~1/2 tsp)
  • Other optional garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado

Black Bean Chicken Soup: serves 4-6

In a large soup pot, saute your onions and red pepper in a little cooking spray until your onions start to become translucent (about 5-8 minutes). Season with a pinch of your seasonings (black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika) just to start the seasoning process.

Add your rinsed black beans, chicken stock and diced tomatoes with your remaining seasonings (I don’t really measure, I more season to taste. Estimations of measurements found in ingredients!). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for at least 1 hour uncovered. At your 1 hour mark, if liquid has reduced significantly, you may add a lid and turn to low for another half hour to an hour. Once your soup has cooked and reduced down by at least 1/3, turn off the heat and let cool.

In the mean time, cook your chicken breasts in the oven for 30 minutes. If using extra thick breasts, put heat on 375 degrees. If the breasts are a little thinner or you are using multiple tenderloins instead, your heat can be on 350 degrees. Season breasts with a little black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Once cooked, let sit until fully cooled before shredding (you can even do this the day before to speed up your process!).

Once your soup has cooled, put about 2/3 into a blender or food processor. Blend the soup until it is fairly smooth with a few little chunks. Add your blended mixture back into the pot with the remaining soup and bring back to a simmer. Add in your shredded chicken into the pot and allow it to simmer for ~20-30 minutes. Finish your soup with a little cilantro mixed in at the very end.

Serve with whatever garnishes you may desire and a little extra fresh cilantro! Enjoy!