Apple Almond Chicken Salad

Apple almond chicken salad is an easy lunch that’s full of flavor, without a lot of bother.  You can either start with rotisserie chicken from the store, or roast your own.  The flavor comes from sweet apples, crunchy almonds, and tangy sour cream.

Switching from all mayo to half sour cream and half mayo adds more zing, and makes the salad a lot less heavy. I don’t just mean calories.  I find all mayo is just too greasy.  If you don’t have sour cream, Greek yogurt works really well too.

This recipe was inspired by an online food group I belong to. There are themes most months and this time it was apples. So I decided to switch my usual chicken salad up a bit.  Goodbye grapes and hello apples!

Use a rotisserie chicken and this recipe is done in five minutes. Or, do it yourself (think of this as two recipes in one). The roast chicken is delicious for dinner too.

If you want to roast the chicken yourself, mix up 1 tsp olive oil, a small clove of garlic (chopped), and 1 tsp rosemary in a small ramekin. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then coat it with the olive oil mixture.  Roast at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Then let it cool, and remove the skin. Eat the skin as a chef’s treat (this is an important step!). Shred the chicken, and prepare the rest of the salad. Roasting at a higher temperature keeps the meat juicy while the skin gets crispy and golden brown.







Apple Almond Chicken Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • Use chopped almonds or other nuts, like walnuts or pecans
  • Try switching the rosemary in the roast coating with tarragon instead
  • If you use rotisserie chicken, add some fresh rosemary or tarragon to the salad
  • Go back to the grapes
  • Toss in some craisins (sweetened cranberries)

More Chicken Salad Recipes

Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Chicken Salad Recipe with Greek Yogurt and Dried Currants

Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette




Belgian Potato Salade Liegoise

I confess I’d never heard of Belgian potato salade liegoise until recently.  It may make you think at first of French salade niçoise, but there’s no tuna or olives. And definitely no anchovies! Instead, this is a traditional Belgian warm potato salad made with green beans, and bacon! It’s all topped with a quick vinaigrette that takes only seconds to make.

Well, you’re supposed to use bacon, but I had none so I substituted kielbasa instead (which June, who wrote the original recipe said was just fine).

It’s an easy lunch or light dinner without a lot of fussing. Just the thing for this time of year when you need a bit of a break in between stuffing yourself for all the holidays.  The salad comes together in about twenty five minutes, which makes it perfect for a relatively quick meal. Serve it warm and eat it right away, or save it for another time and eat it cold. It’s good either way.

Plus, it only requires one pot! Yes!

I used frozen green beans, since that’s what I had, but you can use fresh as well. Just cook them a bit longer, just enough so they’re tender/crisp. You want them to retain a bit of crunch.

I confess I did think about getting fresher beans and the bacon, but I’d already been up and down twice that day and that was enough! Living in a walkup does make you think about how often you climb all those steps.




Belgian Potato Salade Liegoise Substitutions and Variations

  • saute the onions first and then add them to the salad
  • top with chopped walnuts
  • try different kinds of vinegar (such as sherry or raspberry)
  • swap the standard potatoes for red ones

More Potato Salad Recipes

dill caper potato saladDill Caper Potato Salad

Sour/sweet capers with lemony dill and a light hand on the dressing combine for an easy summer potato salad.

 

dijon mustard vinaigrette potato saladFrench Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette Potato Salad

Love starch, but not mayo in the usual potato salad? This version has no mayo at all. It does have olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard.  Lots of flavor, no heavy eggy mayonnaise.

mixed greens egg potato chicken saladMixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

A hearty lunch (or light dinner) without a lot of fussing. Boil a potato and an egg, throw in some leftover chicken, and chop some veggies. Done!

 




Zucchini Carrot Fritters

Like starch? Like fried foods? Want to be a bit more healthy about eating them?  Think of these zucchini carrot fritters as “healthy veggie” potato pancakes. Except, instead of potatoes, this recipe uses zucchini (or yellow squash) and carrots (for vitamins!) and is topped with a yogurt mint dip instead of sour cream or applesauce.  You end up with tiny, crispy, slightly salty fritters which you can gobble down in two bites.

I got the recipe from the NY Times (which I would link to, except they now hide everything behind a paywall). I’ve cut it in half, to make it more suitable for one person. The recipe writer developed them for her picky daughter.  It was something she’d eat, and a semi-sneaky way to get in some veggies.

I confess this is a bit messier than usual, but they do taste good! And most people probably have a dishwasher and don’t fuss about cleanup as much as I do.




Zucchini Carrot Fritters Substitutions and Variations

  • try different combinations of vegetables, such as mashed up chickpeas, potatoes, or diced bell peppers
  • spice it up with some curry (and swap the mint for cucumber)
  • add a chopped scallion (which was supposed to be in there, but I blanked out!)
  • swap the coriander with basil
  • add some diced onion
  • add a few red pepper flakes to the batter
  • try panko instead of flour, for more crunch

More Vegetable Recipes

honey mustard glazed carrotsHoney Mustard Glazed Carrots for One

An easy side dish, great with roast chicken, roast beef, or lamb.  It’s both sweet and savory at the same time.

 

rosemary olive oil broiled eggplantRosemary Olive Oil Broiled Eggplant

Meltingly tender eggplant with a splash of olive oil, dusted with rosemary and grated cheese.

 

crispy garlic basil potato bitesCrispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

Little bite size bits of potato heaven.  Fresh garlic and summery basil add flavor, aroma, and character to this easy side dish.

 

butternut squash brown sugar vanillaRoasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

The veggie side dish that thinks it’s a dessert. You may want to eat this twice in a row.  Topped with nuts and craisins, and only slightly sweetened.  The squash provides all the “sugar” fix you need.

 




Quick and Easy Summer Pasta

This weekend is the unofficial start of summer here in the US, even though actual summer doesn’t start for another month.  This quick and easy summer pasta lives up to its name. It’s great for hot, sticky weather (which we always get plenty of here in NY).  The dish can be eaten hot or cold, and since there’s no mayonnaise, it’s perfect for picnics or traveling. And, it’s good either for a quick lunch or a light dinner.  Pairs beautifully with a cold glass of Chardonnay.

I’ve adapted this dish from a recipe for summer pasta in Jacques Pépin’s Fast Food My Way cookbook.The only thing you have to cook is the pasta. The rest is just a bit of chopping and maybe shredding or grating the cheese.  I’ve used parmesan, but put in anything you like that works. It could be mozzarella, or Fontina too.

He says to warm the veggies first, but I didn’t. I don’t like freshly cooked tomatoes; they taste odd to me (kind of like some people think coriander tastes like soap).  If you don’t have that issue, go right ahead and heat the veggies, for thirty seconds or so, in the microwave.

The original recipe called for zucchini, but having none, I went with some bell pepper instead. So, use whatever vegetables you like or have handy. For example,  use zucchini, carrots, some cooked eggplant, a handful of spinach, or a mixture of bell peppers (I love the mini ones). This is not baking, so exact ingredients and careful measuring aren’t crucial.

One more thing, as is, this is a light, easy meal. If you want to make it heartier, add some protein to make it more filling.




Quick and Easy Summer Pasta Substitutions and Variations

    • swap the pasta for some crusty bread (and transform it into panzanella)
    • add some green olives castelvetrano would work nicely)
    • toss in some diced Genoa salami
    • include some pre-cooked leftover chicken, cut in strips
    • add chunks of hard boiled egg

More Quick and Easy Summer Pasta Recipes

egg and pasta gratinEgg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

Crispy eggs, gooey cheese, and tender pasta combine for great comfort food. Perfect for a quick meal, or a light lunch.

 

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSummer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

Welcome warm weather and wake up your taste buds with this light, zesty, earthy pasta dish. It’s ready in 30 minutes.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta

This recipe is inspired by…a mystery. Seems Robert B. Parker liked to cook. So, he included this in one of his novels. Not the usual source for a recipe, but quite good, and a nice change from pricey pine nuts.

pasta alla norma with eggplantPasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Take advantage of summer veggies with this slightly spicy pasta dish. It’s got sweet tomatoes, creamy fork-tender eggplant, and a dash of red pepper flakes for a kick.

Eggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

So here we are again with two major holidays on the same weekend.  And, they’re two holidays with entirely different food requirements!  One traditionally goes for brisket and matzo; the other gets lamb or ham. However, there are two common themes. The first one is eggs.  Lots and lots of eggs.  The second is everyone stuffs themselves silly at either one or two big dinners.  But, you still have to eat something in-between all of that. Eggs with spinach and chili peppers is just the thing. It’s quick, and easy to make. And, it’s not a big, heavy meal.  It’s essentially a sort of egg pancake or frittata, except with South Asian flavoring.

The other nice thing about this recipe, is it’s done in two stages, but you only need a single skillet to make it.  First you cook the veggies, garlic, and ginger, then add the eggs to the same pot.  Let those cook, and you’re done.  Add the yogurt (or not) to serve.  Depending on your affiliation, serve with toast, matzo, or just some fresh fruit. If your chili is super hot, the sweetness in the fruit will also help reduce the burn from the pepper.

Oh, and a third thing. It’s ready in about 15 minutes.  So, if you’re hungry, and it’s late (as it was the first time I made this), you don’t have to wait long for a hot meal.

I adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking.  In addition to reducing the amounts, I replaced the coriander with spinach. I don’t particularly like fresh coriander and I know lots of other people don’t care for it either.  And, since my jalapeño pepper turned out to be really, really super hot, I added a dollop of Greek yogurt to cool it off, even though that wasn’t in the recipe.  I found I liked it better that way too.




 

 

Eggs with Spinach and Chili Pepper Substitutions and Variations

  •  use the coriander if you like it
  • add two or three sliced mushrooms to the vegetable mixture
  •  toss in 1/4 C diced canned tomatoes
  • if you’re not a spicy food fan, replace the chili with some bell pepper

 

More Egg Recipes

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

Fragrant with thyme, onions, and tomatoes, then topped with Swiss cheese. Perfect for a light meal (especially around big holidays).

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Only four ingredients, ready in just a few minutes.  Just the thing when you want something fast.

 

fried egg burritoFried Egg Burrito

Great for breakfast, lunch, or brunch.  It’s flexible too: add mushrooms or bell peppers, change the cheese, top with chili garlic sauce, or leave it as is.  Delicious food without a lot of fuss.

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito

A tortilla, a couple of eggs, some chilis, and cheese: poof, it’s a meal! And since eggs cook quickly, you don’t have to wait long to eat.

 

 




Spaetzle Recipe Without a Spaetzle Maker

OK, two confessions. The first is that this spaetzle recipe is nearly identical to Tyler Florence’s spaetzle recipe.  Also, his version claims it’s six servings. I suppose that’s as a side dish. Or maybe it’s a typo. My second confession is that it was soooo good I ate the whole thing. All at once.

First of all, it was delicious! But that alone wouldn’t make it something I’d normally share, especially since I made so few changes. The important thing about this recipe isn’t that I adapted it or altered it. What I did do was figure out a way to make it without any special equipment.

I hate single use gadgets and while the recipe is really good, I wasn’t going to go out and buy a special spaetzle maker. Besides my dislike of one-use gadgets, there’s just no place to keep the thing. Tyler’s recipe, as well as many others, suggest using a slotted spoon or a cheese grater instead of the spaetzle machine. I tried both of those. They just didn’t work very well.

Then I had a brainstorm. The potato masher! It worked perfectly! Just hold it in one hand, scoop up some batter with a spoon in the other hand, and scrape the spoon back and forth over the masher (like you were grating cheese). Ta da!!!

You want the flat-bottomed sort of masher, with lots of holes, not the squiggly kind that looks like a bicycle rack.

There’s no brand name on the one I have, so I don’t know exactly what it is, but the masher on the left is the closest I could find. The holes on mine are rectangular, not round, but I think that will be OK, since real spaetzle maker holes are round. The key is that there’s a flat surface, with lots of holes in it.

I included the image below so you could see what it should look like.  That design will work fine.  The one on the right will mash potatoes, but will be useless for spaetzle.




Flat potato masher
Squiggly potato masher

Spaetzle Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Serve with grated cheese, like Emmenthaler or Gruyère
  • Cook some onions until caramelized, add them to the spaetzle (with or without cheese)
  • Cut off small pieces of dough and flick them into a pot of simmering chicken soup or broth (like mini dumplings!)

More Pasta Recipes

white ragu papardelleWhite Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Earthy porcini mushrooms, rich sausage and bee, white wine, and a touch of cream simmered gently and served with hearty fresh pasta.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Pasta

A welcome change from the usual tomato or cream pasta sauces. And nothing says fall like butternut squash.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A silky smooth sauce with just a bit of cream, layered over pasta. It tastes decadent, but it isn’t.

 

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

The name is a little risqué, but this pasta has nothing to be ashamed of.  The briny capers, salty olives, and sweet tomatoes meld together in your mouth. It’s spicy, zesty and takes very little time to prepare too.

 




Smoked Salmon Artichoke Salad

This super-easy smoked salmon artichoke salad requires absolutely no cooking. And it’s ready in about 10 minutes.  It not only looks good (check out all those beautiful colors: green, orange, pink, and red), but it’s got the zing of citrus, smoky, salty salmon and zesty marinated artichokes.  The balsamic dressing and the parmesan add a savory flavor. It’s a great combination because the bitter greens from the spinach play off against the sweet oranges, the salty parmesan, and the smoked fish.

It’s a great lunch just for yourself (especially if you’re hungry and in a hurry). Or, scale it up and serve it to company. It’s elegant enough for a party if you’re having one.

Full credit for the original recipe goes to Azlin Bloor, who serves bite-size individual smoked salmon salad servings (with blood oranges) as a fancy appetizer for her catering clients.

Since we’re not catering, or necessarily fancy, this version will just cut everything up and serve it all together in a single bowl.  You can use blood oranges if you like. I went with the regular navel oranges, since they seem to be particularly good this year.

I also used smoked salmon bits (which my grocery store sells for less than the carefully sliced kind).  Look for it in your local store, and save a bit of money.  Lastly,  I substituted spinach for arugula, since I prefer it, and it’s more readily available.




Smoked Salmon Artichoke Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • Get fancy and use the blood oranges, or try Cara Cara oranges
  • If you like arugula use that or lambs lettuce or even kale (you want a bitter green for this so it contrasts with the sweet and salty flavors)
  • Top the salad with some mint or other “sweet” herbs
  • Try it with other smoked fish, like smoked trout

More Smoked Salmon and Artichoke Recipes

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A little bit of cream for richness, and smoky, salty salmon for lots of flavor.  It’s elegant, easy to prepare, and good enough for company.

 

tomato artichoke pasta saucePasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

A rich tomato sauce, thickened with spicy crushed red pepper and savory oregano. Satisfying and filling, without any meat.

 

egg and pasta gratinEgg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

I know, I’m internet recipe changing my own recipe. However, some smoked salmon will make this even better and add a touch of salty smoky goodness.   Or simply add some of the smoked salmon to scrambled eggs (cook the eggs, then toss in the salmon for a few seconds, to heat it up)




Egg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

There are three holidays this weekend: two big ones and one silly one. The big ones are Easter and Passover and since each holiday has entirely different traditions and foods, I was initially stumped. What do I post that works for both holidays? Then it hit me! These holidays do have something in common: eggs.  This egg and tomato gratin is just the thing.

I adapted this dish from a recipe by Jacques Pépin.  It’s from his Fast Food My Way cookbook. I haven’t changed much, other than the quantities, and using canned tomatoes instead of fresh. The fresh tomatoes aren’t very good this time of year, and besides, I dislike fresh-cooked tomatoes.

The eggs are mixed with tomato and onions, garlic, and thyme. The thyme adds a slightly spicy flavor and pairs beautifully with tomato.  The whole thing is then finished with grated, slightly nutty Swiss cheese.  Delicious!

And it works whether you’re on Team Pesach or Team Easter. Not to mention that whether you observe Easter or Passover, you’re likely to want a light lunch before your big meal(s) or want to take it easy the next day.  This egg dish is relatively light and won’t fill you up too much before or after all that heavy food. I’ve listed it as lunch, but it would also make a good breakfast or light brunch.

The third holiday? That’s April Fool’s.  There’s no specific food for that (except in France maybe when they call it April Fish), but somehow the tomato cheese mixture on top of the eggs looks like bacon if you squint. April Fool’s!




Egg and Tomato Gratin Substitutions and Variations

  • At the end, turn up the toaster oven to broil and cook for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese
  • Don’t just have a dish that looks like bacon, add some real bacon and crumble it on top
  • Vary the cheeses: try Gruyère or mozzarella or Monterey Jack
  • Sauté some sliced porcini mushrooms with the onion/tomato mixture

Cooking tip: Poking the end of the eggs with a pin reduces the pressure inside, making them less likely to burst in the boiling water.

More Egg Recipes

egg and pasta gratinEgg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

A crispy egg, gooey cheese, and tender pasta layered together equals comfort food. This dish is easy to make too.

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Who says you can’t make something delicious with simple ingredients? This frittata has only five. And you likely have most of them in your fridge and cupboard too.

 

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

A versatile recipe that’s great for lunch, brunch, or breakfast.  Make the eggs, add seasonings, and wrap it all up.

 

shakshouka for oneShakshouka for One

Haven’t heard of shakshouka before? It’s just poached eggs with a spicy tomato sauce. Think traveling to the Middle East, without leaving home.

 




Egg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

Quick, what’s gooey, melty, cheesy, and great comfort food?  This egg and pasta gratin has crispy eggs, tender noodles, and lots of cheese. It’s almost a cousin to pasta carbonara (but no bacon).  The flavor is simple and delicate and the recipe incorporates two of my favorite “food groups”: pasta and cheese!

It’s adapted from a a new cookbook I just got (because given a bookstore gift card as a gift, I naturally headed straight for the cookbook section!). The cookbook is called Fast Food My Way and it’s chock full of inspiration. As you may have guessed from the title, all the meals are relatively easy and quick. They’re just perfect for those days when you don’t feel like fussing (or simply don’t have the time).  Of course, you can also make this for a leisurely weekend brunch or scale the recipe up and serve it to guests.

The whole thing fits in perfectly with my own philosophy, which is delicious food for one person, made from real ingredients. Because, just because you’re cooking for one rather than two or more doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a home-cooked meal.And, of course, making it yourself is much cheaper than going out, or ordering a meal kit.

As written, the flavor is pure comfort food; not spicy or salty. However, if you want, you can add other flavors (more on that in the substitutions and variations section).




Egg and Pasta Gratin Substitutions and Variations

  • Add crumbled bacon on top
  • Go for more sweetness and crunch with a sweet bell pepper
  • Try some leeks instead of the chives
  • Dice some sun-dried tomatoes

More Pasta Recipes

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Wake up your taste buds and welcome spring with this light, zesty spaghetti dish. It takes only thirty minutes to make.

 

savory mac and cheeseSavory Mac and Cheese Recipe with Three Cheeses

This mac and cheese has some ingredients you might not expect. Like garlic and bay leaf. But don’t worry, the flavor becomes savory, mellow, and brings out the cheesy taste of the sauce.

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

Fragrant with thyme, onions, and garlic, and then topped with Swiss cheese. Great for a light meal, especially when there’s a big holiday meal in-between.

 

quick and easy summer pastaQuick and Easy Summer Pasta

Bright, colorful and great either hot or cold.  Perfect as a summer salad (since there’s no mayo to worry about).  And very little cooking too (just the pasta).

 




Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe for One

Tuna cannellini bean salad is a great meal for those days when you just don’t feel like “cooking.” Maybe you got home late from work, or you’ve been out running errands all day, or it’s just too hot to fuss.  This meal requires nothing more complicated than opening a few cans, sprinkling some seasonings, and a little bit of chopping. Easy.

Everything comes straight from your pantry.  The beans are canned, the tuna is canned, and the only fresh ingredient you need is some scallions, and maybe the lemon juice. Even that isn’t essential; if you don’t have scallions, use onion instead.  If you’re out of fresh lemons, the bottled juice will do just fine.

If you do have the time and energy, this is a bit better with freshly cooked beans. The canned beans tend to be slightly mushy, and sometimes they’re a little salty.   If you go the dried bean route, use my quick soak method to speed things up.  If not, no harm, no foul.

The recipe is enough for two lunches or one dinner (depending  how hungry you are).  I usually find that I eat a whole 5 oz. can of tuna for lunch if I just make ordinary tuna salad, but adding the beans stretches it enough for two meals.

I’ve adapted it slightly from one of  Pierre Franey’s Sixty Minute Gourmet cookbooks. I reduced the quantity and eliminated the parsley (never had any use for parsley). This is not only better than sixty minutes, it only takes about ten.

Serve with some fresh fruit and you have a fast lunch in under fifteen minutes.  Add crusty bread to that and you have dinner.




Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • add some capers
  • mix in some cherry tomatoes
  • try red onion instead of the scallions
  • serve over romaine lettuce
  • mix some greens (watercress, arugula, or one of those baby greens mixtures) right into the salad

 

More Cannellini Bean Recipes

white bean salad sun dried tomatoesWhite Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

I saw this fancy salad at a store for about $10 a pound. I thought I can make that myself for a lot less. So I did.

 

pasta e fagioli soupPasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

An Italian classic in a scaled-down version that’s perfect for single person cooking. And it’s nearly entirely pantry ingredients too (just the pancetta, but that will keep in the fridge).

moroccan bean and chicken soupMoroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

A variation on harira, which is usually made with lamb and lentils. There’s lots of flavor from garlic, tomatoes, and a bit of a kick from hot pepper.  Perfect for chilly days and uses largely shelf-stable ingredients.

Brazilian chicken paprika stew

Brazilian Chicken Paprika Stew

A Brazilian twist on Hungarian chicken paprikash. This version has beans and sausage, with no sour cream in sight. It’s comforting, filling, and only uses one pot.