Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Ranch

Cobb Salad

It’s only been almost 2 years since I posted. All I can say is that food and babies don’t mix for me. My last post corresponds perfectly with when I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 and then the sick set in. The second time around was worse than the first for me- I had some degree of aversion to food most of my pregnancy. And it turns out having 2 kids is slightly more chaotic (and sleepless) than one, so it has taken a long time for me to find the time/energy/etc. to get back here. But it doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. The minute I give birth my appetite comes back and then it quadruples with the nonstop nursing. So lots of cooking and eating going on this past year. I have more than fifty drafts of recipes I want to share (many I’ve made repeatedly and have become quick-healthy-kid-approved favorites)!

My goal is to post a recipe once a week. Bonus if I can pull out my real camera and take a photo to go with it. My phone might have to do occasionally. I can count on one hand the number of time I’ve used my DSLR in the last year-ish: Gwen’s birth, Christmas morning, and Gwen’s first birthday. (She turned 1 on March 1st so no excuses now that I technically no longer have a baby!) Besides adding another girl to our family, last year we moved from Colorado to the Seattle area. And I absolutely love it here! The winters are milder, the summers are glorious, the Pacific Northwest is stunning, and I can’t get enough of this city. Dustin started working with a new pediatric dental practice (a job that may become permanent- we are yet to see), we took our first trip to Europe (babymoon!), and took our first international trip as a family (Costa Rica!).

Now that we’re somewhat caught up, let’s talk about this recipe. My post-pregnancy self craves salads and protein (and I’ve lost much of my sweet tooth which is slightly sad, but mostly great for my health). So we eat a lot of greens and meat. This salad packs in a lot of protein with grilled spiced chicken breast, bacon, and hard-boiled eggs. And I even snuck some Greek yogurt into the dressing. I included the changes I made next to the original recipe. I chose to grill the chicken because my indoor grill pan is my best friend, but come summer I’ll definitely be repeating it on the outdoor grill. My girls devoured theirs and my husband didn’t complain that he was eating salad for dinner so that’s saying something!

Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Ranch

INGREDIENTS

Grilled Chicken:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I just added a pinch)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 18 oz.)

Honey Mustard Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used half mayo and half low fat plain Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (I only used 1/2 tsp. and think it could be reduced further)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained and patted dry (I used Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn)
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped (I used romaine lettuce)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large avocado, cubed
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I only used six)
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Cook the chicken and the corn:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with oil. (I grilled my chicken on an indoor grill pan headed to medium-high.)

2. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon oil, paprika, salt, cumin, thyme, black pepper, and cayenne. Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and bake until cooked through but still juicy, 15 to 20 minutes (or grill). Transfer the chicken to a plate and when cool enough to handle, cut into small bite-size pieces.

3. Meanwhile, arrange the corn on the same baking sheet. Crank up the heat to broil and broil the corn until just slightly charred, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. (I roasted my corn in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.)

Make the dressing:

4. In a small bowl, stir together the mayo, buttermilk, mustard, honey, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the salad:

5. Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter or in a big salad bowl. Top with the tomatoes, avocado, bacon, roasted corn, eggs, and chicken. If you’re like me, line them up in the most OCD way possible and get really annoyed when the lines aren’t perfectly straight. Drizzle the dressing to taste over the salad, and toss if you want to ruin all those pretty lines. Serve immediately. Any leftover dressing keeps in the fridge for a week or so.

Serves approx. 4.

(Adapted from Cravings)

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By in Salad, Uncategorized, Vinaigrette/Dressing ·

Spinach, Pear, and Pomegranate Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

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I’ve made this salad many many times this fall/winter. I brought it to our Thanksgiving feast and it graced our Christmas table- if that’s any indication of how much I love it! So it’s about time I shared it with you. Pears and pomegranates are my favorite winter fruits and this salad combines them with spinach, toasted walnuts, feta (or blue cheese if that’s your thing) and an amazing honey-cider vinaigrette. Light and delicious.

Spinach, Pear, and Pomegranate Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup walnut pieces
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. baby spinach (or a mixture of spring mix and spinach)
2 ripe pears, such as Bartlett, cored and sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup crumbled feta (or blue cheese)
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour onto a plate to cool. Set aside. (This can also be done on the stove-top in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant.)

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, honey, mustard, salt and pepper to make a dressing.

3. Add the spinach, pears, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and red onion (if using) to the bowl and toss gently to mix and coat well. Divide the salad among 4 plates or bowls and top each with about 1 Tbsp. feta/blue cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

(Adapted from Williams Sonoma)

By in Salad, Vinaigrette/Dressing ·

Charred Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

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For memorial day we grilled these steak kabobs (the recipe can be used for chicken, turkey, steak, pork… all yum) and had that sugar cookie crust fruit pizza I already shared for dessert. On the side I served a Smoked Gouda pasta salad that mimics the addictive one you can find at Whole Foods (I’ll be posting it next) and this charred corn salad. Both were a bit hit. Thankfully there was so much food to go around we had a bit leftover and I hoarded them to devour the next day. And both tasted just as good- maybe better- with age.

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I charred my ears of corn on my trusty Griddler, but I bet an outdoor grill would provide even more flavor. The charred kernels are cut off the cob and tossed with red onion, cherry tomatoes, and an amazing basil vinaigrette. Think lots and lots of fresh basil with some garlic, olive oil, and cider vinegar. Let it sit a few hours to marinate if you can resist. And enjoy it all summer.

Charred Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

6 ears fresh corn on the cob, shucked
1-2 Tbsp. canola oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (10-16 oz.) container small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, diced

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill over high heat.

2. Brush or rub each cob with some canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the corn on the hot grill and char each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. You want the corn to get great char marks! Once the corn has charred, set aside until cool enough to handle. Once the corn has cooled, stand each ear up, stalk end down, in a wide, shallow bowl and, using your knife, slice the corn kernels off the cob.

3. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a food processor, add the basil and garlic and pulse until the basil starts to break down. Add the vinegar. Continue pulsing while adding the oil in a steady stream and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (I added 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.)

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes and red onion. Drizzle the basil vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 8.

(Adapted from Kelsey Nixon, Cooking Channel)

By in Salad, Sides, Vegetables, Vinaigrette/Dressing ·

Israeli Couscous with Apples, Almonds, and Herbs

apple couscous

A few things I can’t get enough of right now: cantaloupe (even though I’m the worst at picking out a good one), spinach (scrambled in eggs, blended in smoothies), and farro (surely more recipes coming soon). Also butterscotch (As ice cream, on ice cream, in cookies, everywhere, please. I added butterscotch chips to these bars and they were even more amazing!). And Israeli couscous. It’s the little pasta you see pictured above (also called pearl couscous). I even found a whole wheat version at Whole Foods so now I can eat it even more regularly and not feel a bit guilty about it.

This recipe combines Israeli couscous with crisp fall apples, toasted almonds, sweet cranberries, and a handful of fresh herbs. All of which gets tossed in a maple cider vinaigrette. And devoured. I actually halved the recipe to serve 4. But don’t hesitate to make it all because it still tastes great- maybe even better- the next day. Leftovers you’ll crave!

Israeli Couscous with Apples, Cranberries, Almonds, and Herbs

INGREDIENTS

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups Israeli couscous, barley, or orzo (whole wheat preferred), cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives, snipped
2 medium apples, diced (I used Fuji)
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry skillet

for the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare couscous (or barley or orzo) according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

2. To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk to combine the vinegar and maple syrup. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly to emulsify. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. In a large bowl, combine the herbs, apples, cranberries, and almonds. Add the cooled couscous (or barley or orzo). Pour the vinaigrette over top and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 8+ (as a side dish).

(Adapted from Food Network)

By in Fruit, Salad, Sides, Vinaigrette/Dressing ·

Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple, and Quinoa Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette

If you can’t tell by their frequent appearance, we eat a lot of sweet potatoes around here. Baked, mashed, roasted, even microwaved (in a pinch). We like them every way. It was Clara’s first food and she’s been happy to devour them ever since. This time we tried them in a salad, paired with crisp apples and toasted quinoa. While I like quinoa, I liked it even more as an addition rather than the focus of the dish- the tiny round quinoa flecks clinging to the other components.

This recipe is really versatile. Instead of sweet potatoes you could roast squash. Replace the apple with a pear. Use whatever leafy greens you prefer. Skip the cranberries or try cherries, currents, or raisins in their place. Get creative. Oh, and this dressing is pretty terrific so you might want to drizzle it over every salad you make.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple, and Quinoa Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup quinoa, toasted* and cooked according to package directions
6 oz. spring mix
1-2 fuji apples, diced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
handful sweetened dried cranberries (optional)

Maple Cider Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. real maple syrup
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*toasting the quinoa brings out its nutty flavor, so I highly recommend it!

DIRECTIONS

1. To roast the sweet potatoes, preheat oven to 400 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Toss the potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil to coat and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven, turning occasionally, for 25-35 minutes, until golden and tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

3. To prepare the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk to combine the vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4. To assemble the salad, combine spring mix, cooled potatoes and quinoa, apples, onion, and cranberries. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, toss, and serve.

Serves 4.

(Adapted from Food and Wine)

By in Fruit, Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Vinaigrette/Dressing ·