Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken salad my way

I am fortunate to live only about ten minutes away from my place of employment and because of the fact Daniel works second shift I usually always run home for lunch so that I can spend a little bit of time with him. While I do have an hour for lunch I don't want to spend a lot of time preparing our lunch...I mean come on, have to get some Price is Right watching in there somewhere; so I like making quick fix items or items that I can prepare the night before. I first had chicken salad made this way a few years back, another one of those recipes that came from my Step-Mom Rhonda, even though I think she got it from one of her nieces. Since then I have added my own little touches to it and I must say, it is quite delicious and very easy to serve up when you are rushing around. This chicken salad is best made the night before, but isn't half bad when you eat it right away...I have done both!

2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded*
1/3 cup of mayo
2-3 stalks of celery
1/2 cup of red grapes
1 tbsp. brown mustard

* You can substitute the boiled chicken breasts for two cans of the Tyson shredded white meat chicken you find in a can. I have made this both ways and can't really taste a difference.

1.) Cut your grapes into half or into quarters, depending on your preference. I cut my into quarters.
2.) Take your stalks of celery and cut in half down the center. Then take the two large pieces and dice into small pieces.
3.) In a bowl add your shredded chicken, mayo, brown mustard, diced celery, and quartered grapes. Mix together.

Normally when I make this or tuna salad I toast me up two slices of white bread, slap on a piece of swiss cheese, add a small handful of fresh spinach, and then add my chicken salad mix. Of course this all goes on between the two slices of bread. I call these my quick fix sandwich melts and I could honestly live off of them. I normally serve with a piece of fresh fruit (usually more grapes) and a handful of pretzels or potato chips. Substitute the mayo for low fat mayo and use wheat bread in lieu of white bread and you have yourself a pretty healthy lunch...or dinner:).

Fruit of the week- Boysenberry

A boysenberry is a type of glossy, large, juicy berry related to the North American blackberry. In addition to being eaten fresh during the brief growing season, boysenberries are also incorporated into jams, preserves, and syrups. Their flavor is somewhat reminiscent of a raspberry, with a more tart undertone, especially when the berries are not fully ripened. They are available from grocery stores and farmers' markets, but since boysenberries are not very stable off the vine, it is important to eat them within two or three days of purchase.

The inventor of the boysenberry is believed to be Rudolph Boysen, who experimented with various berry crosses in Napa, California in the 1920s. In 1923, his cross of a blackberry, loganberry, and raspberry successfully grew and bore fruit. The boysenberry was acquired by Walter Knott, a Southern California berry farmer, who started selling the fruit commercially in 1935. Boysenberries and boysenberry preserves helped to make Knott's business famous around the state.

The distinctly tart flavor of a fresh boysenberry makes them very popular in areas where they can be obtained. When selecting boysenberries to take home, look for evenly sized and colored specimens with no areas of mushiness. Keep the berries under refrigeration in a watertight container far from apples and bananas, which emit ethylene gas, and use them within three days. If the berries are not going to be used in time, you may want to consider using them to make jam. Boysenberries can be scattered fresh on pancakes and waffles, used as a pie filling, or added as a decorative accent to cheesecakes and tarts. They can also, of course, simply be eaten plain, or as part of a fruit salad.

Information provided by:

Health Benefits-
~High in Vitamin C and fiber both of which have been shown to help reduce the risks of certain cancers.
~Contain high levels of anthocyanins (120-160 mg/ 100g) that work as antioxidants to help fight free radical damage in the body and give Boysenberries their deep, dark color.

Information provided by:

Recipe for the fruit of the week, provided by

Cinnamon-Wheat Pancakes with Hot Boysenberry Compote

2 cups frozen boysenberries
1/3 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

For Compote:
1.) Combine boysenberries and apple juice in a small saucepan; simmer for 5 minutes.
2.) In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch and add to berry mixture, gently stirring until it boils.
3.)Remove compote from heat and let it cool slightly until it thickens.
For Pancakes:
1.) Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk in a small bowl; set aside.
2.) In a larger bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and sugar.
3.) Add buttermilk mixture, egg whites and vanilla, and blend.
4.) Spray griddle with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
5.) Ladle pancake mixture onto griddle and cook until pancakes are light brown on both sides.
6.) Serve with boysenberry compote.