Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

by formerchef on February 23, 2016

Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

It’s February. Have you given up on your New Year’s resolutions already? If your answer was, “I gave up on on January 3rd”, you are not alone. I’ve stopped making resolutions all together because they were always the same; eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, stop eating brownies (see how well that worked?). I can do it for a while, and then I fall off the wagon and it all goes to hell in a pastry-laden, couch-potato-fueled, hand basket. Sound familiar?

I wish I had the answer, but I’ll say up front, I don’t. All I can say is, keep trying. Fall off the wagon, and then get back on and keep going. Last year, as I moved one year closer to another milestone birthday, I realized I had to do something about my health and my weight. I’d gained enough on my trip to Italy over the summer that I was no longer comfortable in my work clothes and and as I get older it gets harder and harder to lose even a couple of pounds. Supposedly, the average American gains a pound a year after age 25, and let’s just say I’m right on target to be “average” and I’m not happy about it. So what’s a girl to do?

I’ve found that what works best for me is a balanced diet of whole foods (no fast food, little processed food, and not a lot of sugar) with an emphasis on low carb meals (which in Italy was my undoing). I recognize this isn’t for everyone, but it seems that I’m most successful at losing and/or maintaining my weight when I eat like that. The problem is, after a month or so (or truthfully, Every.Single.Day) I start to crave bread, pasta, and potatoes. My biggest weaknesses are French fries and anything chocolate. Again, I have no answer, except to eat those things in moderation and when it comes to bread, in the whole grain form as much as possible, which lowers the overall net carb intake.

So here I am,  back on the wagon, galloping toward a trip to Paris next month. When I travel, I typically allow myself to eat whatever I want while I am there. Baguettes and pain au chocolat for breakfast? Why, of course! Calories don’t count when you are out of the country, right? So I need to be prepared.

Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

This salad is one I made for myself regularly last year when I successfully lost about 7 lbs in 2 months. It’s packed with protein and satisfying because it has a ton of savory flavor. It’s also deliciously low carb, and fairly low fat if you leave out the mayo and only use nonfat yogurt. I’ve eaten it on top of a lettuce salad as shown in the photos, wrapped in big lettuce leaves like a burrito, and just by itself for a quick snack. It also makes an awesome sandwich on whole grain bread.

Feel free to switch out the type of olive; I use regular California black olives because they are mild and just a bit salty, but you could use green olives or a stronger dry cured black olive if you want (start with less and taste). Also, olives are pretty much carb-free. If you want to make the recipe more low fat, replace the mayonnaise with low fat mayo or all yogurt. If you want to make it more low carb, go with all mayonnaise.

I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below and let me know. What are some of your favorite low carb meals? Do you watch what you eat when you travel? Are you trying to eat healthier now, and if so, how?

Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 10 ounces

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces boneless and skinless chicken breast, roasted and chopped
  • 1.5 ounces black olives, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, small diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1.5 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Chop the chicken into small, bite sized pieces. Place in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Dice the celery and chop the green onions and olives. Place in the bowl with the chicken.
  3. Add the mustard, mayonnaise and yogurt to the bowl and mix well.
  4. Serve on top of mixed greens, wrapped in lettuce, or on a sandwich.

Notes

Please taste before adding any additional salt. The olives are salty and are usually enough.

If you want to make the recipe more low fat, replace the mayonnaise with low fat mayo or all yogurt. If you want to make it more low carb, go with all mayonnaise.

http://www.formerchef.com/2016/02/23/chicken-salad-with-olives-and-dijon-yogurt-dressing/

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Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

Chicken Salad with Olives and Dijon Yogurt Dressing

{ 5 comments }

Bits of Everything Soup; Beans, Rice and Sausage

by formerchef on January 31, 2016

Bean Rice Sausage Soup003

Beans Rice and Sausage Soup

When is a recipe not a recipe? When you know how to make something so well you intuitively know the ratios of ingredients and you don’t have to measure. Soup is one of those things for me. Early on in my professional cooking career I spent a solid year making the “soup of the day” for the restaurant where I was working. I don’t think I repeated the soup once. I figure I made over 200 soups that year.

Today in Southern California it’s an El Nino day which means we are getting a ton of wind and dumping rain. We’ve got a fire going in the fireplace and it’s the perfect day for soup. But what kind to make? Answer, the kind you have. This was a day to use up bits and pieces of what I had in the refrigerator and pantry; vegetables, proteins and starches. Today that meant, the standard mirepoix (the basis for many soups and stews is a mirepoix; a mix of diced onions, carrots and celery which is why I always try to have these on hand), plus some ready to be used mushrooms, chicken sausage, about a cup of dried 15 bean soup mix and half a cup of rice in jars that had been sitting on my counter for months. Fortunately, I had some home made chicken stock I’d made last weekend and hadn’t yet bothered to freeze.

This soup is a base, make it your own by changing up the beans, rice, vegetables and proteins and stocks. The “recipe” below is loose and not very specific for that reason. Add herbs if you want. Use diced chicken. Use pasta instead of rice and beans. Once you know how to make soup, you can feed yourself in an unlimited number of ways with an ever-changing list of ingredients.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Cooking the soup

Cooking the soup

Bits of Everything Soup; Beans, Rice and Sausage

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 2-3 carrots, diced small
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced small
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed or minced
  • 6 oz mushrooms, halved and then sliced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 chicken sausages, sliced on the diagonal
  • about .5 cup rice
  • about 1 cup beans
  • about 10 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, season to taste

Instructions

  1. Dice all the vegetables as described above.
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed soup pot (about 12 qts) and add the olive oil.
  3. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and the garlic and cook until the mushrooms get soft and begin to color (I had already saurteed mushrooms in the photo)
  4. Add the sausage and saute for a minute or two with the vegetables.
  5. Add in the beans and the rice. Stir.
  6. Cover with the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the beans and rice are tender. You may need to add more stock or water in order to keep it covered. It should take a couple of hours.
  7. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
http://www.formerchef.com/2016/01/31/bits-of-everything-soup-beans-rice-and-sausage/

The photos for this post were taken with my cell phone, so if they are not fabulous, oh well. But I think they get the point across and since I gave myself permission to be imperfect last year (oddly enough in another soup post), I’m trying.

{ 8 comments }

The SoCal Sour, a Bourbon Cocktail

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Pears Poached in Red Wine with Orange Cardamom Sabayon

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It doesn’t feel like autumn yet here in Southern California, but pears are in the markets and pumpkin spice is everywhere (gah!). In a previous post I wrote about cooking with wine and liquor and this elegant dessert doubles your fun with wine; the pears are poached in it and the sweet custard sauce is made […]

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