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salad

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Chicken Avocado Bacon Salad

Chicken Avocado Bacon Salad

Hey everyone! So I’m just over a month postpartum with my second child and we are just starting to get into a routine. The past four weeks has just been filled with cuddles, feeding and just relaxing and recovering.

I am determined to start eating healthier. I was not healthy at all during this second pregnancy. I was too sick during the first trimester and too tired after that to exercise. And my diet was just atrocious – my intense craving for chocolate had me foraging all over my workplace for chocolate since I tried not to keep any in my office to tempt myself.

This is our last baby so I am anxious to start getting my ‘permanent’ body back. However, I am not going to rush the exercise as I need to fully recover from my C section for at least 6 weeks, and I just want to enjoy every lazy moment of cuddling on the couch and binge watching Netflix. (I have 15 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy to watch from the very beginning!) So, as a starting point, I’m going to start eating healthier. Keep in mind, this is not a diet – I need to eat healthy and I need to eat a lot because I am breastfeeding and breastfeeding burns up to an extra 500 calories a day. But I can cut out processed and junk food, sweets, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Surprisingly, my husband is also onboard with eating healthier with me. He’s typically a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and he wants every meal to contain meat and starch. He is naturally athletic and fit though, and has a very physically demanding career, so he is always in shape despite eating and drinking whatever he wants. However, he has hit a plateau and wants to make some improvements in his fitness and he knows that a change in diet is the key.

So, although we will still have to make pasta dishes for our picky toddler, the two of us can start eating more salads. This chicken avocado bacon salad was my first attempt at making a meal-sized salad that is healthy and that would fill us up. The chicken, bacon and eggs provided loads of protein. Obviously, if you want it even healthier, you can eliminate the bacon or use turkey bacon instead. I would keep the bacon though – it really added amazing flavour when paired with the creamy avocado.

If you have extra time and want additional freshness, you can just dress the salad with equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. I just used store bought Italian dressing and it tasted amazing.

This was a huge hit with the husband so it looks like it’s on the weekly menu at least once a week!

Chicken Avocado Bacon Salad

Print Recipe
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

  • 2 large cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 cup cooked corn (frozen, canned, or from a cob)
  • 5 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, quartered
  • 1/4 chives or green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • one head of Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • OR
  • Italian salad dressing

Instructions

1

Season and bake the chicken breasts, fry up the bacon, and boil the eggs.

2

Chop everything up and toss into a salad bowl.

3

Add dressing and enjoy!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Sesame Soy Vinaigrette

You can measure my culinary growth over the years through the evolution of my salad dressings. In my early 20’s when I was single, I had Kraft salad dressing in my fridge…next to my bagged salad, Diet Coke and Grey Goose. In my late 20’s, I started buying the fancier salad dressings, you know, the ones in the refrigerated produce section that came in glass containers instead of plastic squeeze bottles. Now that I’m in my 30’s and I consider myself a decent home cook, I make my own salad dressings.

The components of a vinaigrette are generally the same. There’s the oil component and the vinegar component, and you can just stop there if you want to. However, you can build more layers into your salad dressing by adding a sweetener component and a flavour component. Common sweetener components are honey, white sugar, or brown sugar. Common flavour components that I often see are dijon mustard, soy sauce, or spices (like Italian spice, oregano, etc).

One of my current favourite vinaigrettes is this sesame soy vinaigrette. Even when supper is just a hastily thrown together affair of salmon, rice, and greens that came out of a bag, this sesame soy vinaigrette definitely escalates the quality of the meal!

What are some of your favourite homemade salad dressings?

Sesame Soy Vinaigrette

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: N/A

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

1

In a bowl whisk together everything, except the vegetable oil.

2

Slowly add the vegetable oil and whisk until vinaigrette is emulsified.

Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Baby Bok Choy Salad

Baby Bok Choy Salad

I love eating salads….but I hate making them at home. Whenever we go out, I will usually order a salad of some kind because I hate making my own salads. What do I hate about it? I hate washing all the produce. I hate having to prep multiple ingredients to make a colourful, flavourful salad. My thought process is: if I’m going to spend lots of time in the kitchen prepping food, I’d rather it be for a comforting, hearty, hot meal…not a salad.

However, I have been known to suck it up and make this baby bok choy salad from time to time.  Bok choy is a Chinese leafy cabbage that has been gaining more popularity in Western cuisine recently due to its high nutritional qualities. Bok choy is low in calories, and high in vitamins K, C, and A. Bok choy is more commonly known as “that vegetable in Chinese stirfrys”.

Baby Bok Choy

I received some beautiful baby bok choy in the organic bin that I got from Body Fuel Organics a couple weeks ago. Baby bok choy is just the less mature version of bok choy, and its taste is milder which makes it perfect for raw salads.

When prepping bok choy, make sure you wash them really well. Growing straight from the ground, there’s always a lot of dirt caught in the bottom of the crunchy stems. I like to cut the bottom couple inches off the bok choy and discard, then chop the remaining stems and leaves up into bite size pieces, then wash and drain the cut pieces really well. You can add whatever other vegetables you want to the salad but I like to stick to other vegetables commonly used in Asian cuisine, such as red peppers, shredded carrots and green onion.

Baby Bok Choy Salad

What makes this salad so delicious is the salad dressing. The salad dressing is light and bright, with Asian flavours that ties everything together. I usually just eyeball the salad dressing ingredients, so I’ve just estimated what the measurements are for this recipe. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste!

Baby Bok Choy Salad

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15 prep time

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of baby bok choy
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
  • DRESSING
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 soy sauce
  • Drizzle of olive oil (less than 1/4 cup)

Instructions

1

Cut the bottom two inches or so off the bok choy and discard. Chop the remaining stems and leaves into bite size pieces, wash well and drain.

2

Prep the other vegetables and add to the bok choy.

3

For the dressing, whisk together the white vinegar, sugar and soy sauce.

4

Drizzle in the olive oil, while whisking, until combined into a smooth consistency. (I don't like much oil in my salad dressings, so I don't put much olive oil in mine).

5

Toss the salad with the dressing and enjoy this bright and crunchy salad!