Warm Chicken-Pesto Salad

Pesto is just yummy. Pesto-Chicken Salad is even yummier! Image courtesy of  zole4 and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Pesto is just yummy. Pesto-Chicken Salad is even yummier! Image courtesy of zole4 and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I love this recipe. However, with fall weather loudly knocking at my door, I’m making this tonight, but trying a hot version. Oh yeah, baby.

Warm Chicken-Pesto Salad
Net Carbs: 2.8g
WW PointsPlus: 6
Makes 4 servings (Note: Serving size of chicken pesto mix = 1/2C)

Ingredients
2C chopped cooked chicken (leftovers work wonders here!), remove skin and any fat
1 celery stalk, trimmed and finely chopped
1/3C mayonnaise with Olive Oil
1/3C finely chopped onion
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. pesto (recipe below or you can use store pesto)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8C baby spinach

Directions
Combine celery, mayo, onion, parsley, pesto, salt and pepper in a bowl.  If using freshly cooked chicken, chop chicken while it is still warm and toss into bowl and mix.  Otherwise, warm chicken to desired temperature in a microwave on medium heat for 1-2 minutes; transfer to bowl and mix. Serve immediately on top of baby spinach. Eat up.

Lemon-Basil Pesto
Net Carbs: 0.5
WW Points Plus: 3
Yields 2 cups of pesto
Serving Size: 2 tbsp/serving

Ingredients
2C basil leaves, packed
½C extra virgin olive oil
¼C pine nuts
1/2C grated parmesan cheese
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp lemon zest, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Combine basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic and zest in a food processor; and slowly add in the olive oil during blending. Blend until desired texture. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. To freeze, it’s best to divide it into smaller portions so you don’t have to defrost the entire batch. Hint: You can freeze in ice cube trays and then store the “cubes” in freezer bags.


Chili Chicken & Mexican Avocado Salad Tonight

Cajun RubI love my rubs. I made a batch of chili seasoning back in February. I decided to use it as a rub on some chicken breasts. The result: spicy and tasty.

Rather than the old standbys of steamed broccoli or grilled zucchini, I decided I wanted veggies that had a little more kick. So I’m making a salad I found in a low carb recipe book. Like the chili chicken, it too looks spicy and tasty.

Chili Seasoning/Rub
Serving Size: 4
Carb Count: 0
Weight Watchers Points: 3-6 (depending on size of chicken breasts)

Ingredients
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, rub seasoning into chicken breasts. Place into a Ziplock bag, and add 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Let chicken marinate for up to 1 hour then its ready for grilling.

Mexican Avocado Salad
Serving Size: 8 1-cup servings
Carb Count: 3g
Weight Watchers Points: 3 Points

Ingredients
24 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 medium head iceberg lettuce cut into 1/2 inch ribbons
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and chopped

Directions
1. Combine tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Add onion, jalapeño and cilantro; toss well.
2. Arrange lettuce on a platter and top with avocado. Spoon tomato mixture on top and serve.

I’m thinking of substituting the red leaf lettuce I’m growing on my deck for the iceberg lettuce. Either way, tasty goodness on the menu tonight!


Low Carb Ranch & Russian Dressing Recipes

I’m making a couple of low carb salad dressings tonight. I got both recipes – Ranch and Russian dressings – from the Atkins site. 

Both require mayo, so I’ll be using mayo made with olive oil. I’ve made these before and they tend to be thicker than normal salad dressings, which make them a perfect dip for veggie snacks.

Since they are thicker, I highly recommend only using 1 tbsp for your salad. Just place your salad in a bowl, add 1 tbsp of the dressing and start mixing the dressing into the salad. I know the recipe calls for 2.5 tbsp per serving, but the truth is you really just need one tbsp if you mix it with the salad.

Ranch Dressing
Carb Count: 1 per serving
Points: 2
Serving Size: 2.5 tbsp/serving

Ingredients:
3/4 C Mayo made with Olive Oil
1/2 C Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Chives, Chopped
2 Tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic Clove, Minched
1 Tsp Fresh Dill, Chopped
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve right away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Russian Dressing
Carb Count: 0 per serving
Points: 2
Serving Size: 2 tbsp/serving

Ingredients:
3/4 C Mayo made with Olive Oil
1/4 C Low-Carb Ketchup (or Reduced Sugar Ketchup)
1 Tbsp Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
2 Tsp Fresh Horseradish
1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve right away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.