Hey everyone! It’s been a little while since my first blog, but don’t worry, I have lots of good things I’ve been working on for posts here lately, so hopefully they will become a little more regular! This past Monday, I made probably the best Skinny Chicken Salad I’ve ever made. I was inspired to do so as Darren and I are looking for other dishes to take to work for lunch outside the usual sandwich. This chicken salad is very filling and a great source of protein to get you through a long day. Of course, most recipes I make are found on Pinterest and adapted to my (or Darren’s) tastes. That is the case with this chicken salad.
First things first, I tried a new approach for cooking the chicken. Typically, I would boil the chicken first until it reached 160 degrees and then shred or chop it. However, I started researching on a few chef websites through the great resource, Google, and discovered that rather than boiling chicken, it is much better to “poach” it. At first, I thought boiling and poaching were essentially the same, however, poaching helps to preserve the moisture in the chicken rather than pulling the juices out as boiling does.
So, to start out, the recipe called for 1 lb of chicken breast, but since I had 2 lbs on hand, I decided, upon Darren’s request, to just cook all of it 🙂 I placed the chicken breasts in a medium sized pot so that they spread out evenly but were still touching the sides taking up most of the room in the bottom of the pot. I then barely covered the chicken with about 2 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth. It is best to start out with a smaller amount and then just add more broth or even water until the chicken is slightly covered by the liquid. I then seasoned the broth with lemon-pepper seasoning and topped with bay leaves. I also think you could add some oregano, basil, or really any spice that you prefer the taste of. Turn the stove to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, I reduced the heat to simmer and covered for 15-20 minutes while making sure the chicken had safely reached 160 degrees. After it has simmered and reached appropriate temperature, turn the heat off and allow chicken to sit in broth for another 10-15 minutes.
After taking the chicken out of the pot, I then shredded the chicken, which is what I prefer with my chicken salad. I will say, the chicken had a LOT more flavor and moisture as compared to chicken that I have boiled in the past. It was definitely worth the extra time and effort. Once the chicken is shredded (or chopped), the rest of the recipe is super easy. I mixed in 1 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt (Chobani is my favorite), 2 tbsp light Mayo, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 cup diced sweet red onion, about 1 1/2 cups of halved green grapes, 1 diced pink lady apple, 2/3 cup of dried cranberries, 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, and fresh ground peppercorn (I added a good bit because I love pepper but you can really add to your taste). I will say that the onion in this recipe was a bit overpowering, however, and depending on your tastes, perhaps 1/4 cup would be better instead. I think 1/2 tsp onion powder would be a fair substitute, as well to give it some flavor without overpowering the chicken salad.
I served the chicken salad on a piece of flatbread toasted with a slice of provolone cheese, but I also think it would be great in a lettuce wrap, on a sandwich, or even by itself 🙂 Something to keep in mind, however, is I think we will end up getting at least 8-10 servings with the portions in this chicken salad, so if you choose to use just 1 lb of chicken so that you are not stuck with chicken salad for days, the add-ins can easily be cut in half. Hope you enjoy and if you have any recommendations feel free to share! Be blessed!