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




Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Apples

Huddled up at home waiting out the virus? Want dinner that’s both comforting and easy? Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Apples is just the thing. It’s filling, it’s quick, and it’s dinner all by itself. All in one pot.  Some say this dish is German, others call it Polish.  Whichever, it’s delicious!

I adapted this recipe from one I found online. That recipe called for first cooking the kielbasa on a grill, then putting them in the oven, while starting the onions on the stove, and making the rest of the recipe. That would leave you with a grill, a baking sheet, and a frying pan to clean.   No! No! No! Not doing that way.

Plus, it’s  early to stand outside and  grill anything here. Even if I had a grill.  This way is much easier.

My version only uses a single pan.  And, it’s ready in about 20 minutes.  Much better!

The kielbasa makes this dish filling, while the sauerkraut adds a little bite. Cooking it mellows out the sharpness (a bit like cooking onions or garlic), and the apple gives it a bit of sweetness and balance the richness of the sausage and the sourness of the kraut. The honey mustard horseradish sauce is also sweet/spicy so it complements the rest of the dish perfectly.

Use an apple that is slightly tart (I had Crimson Topaz, but a tart apple such as Granny Smith would work fine).

No kielbasa? Bratwurst would work too.




Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Apples Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a little apple cider to the pan
  • Use some dark beer
  • Experiment with different kinds of sausage, even plain frankfurters
  • Add sliced potatoes for an entire meal in one pan
  • Serve with rye bread, or add some caraway seeds
  • Leave the sausage whole and put it on a hot dog bun (cook it a bit longer)

More Sausage Recipes

Polish sausage with cabbage and potatoesOne Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

Another great one-pot fridge stable/shelf stable meal, with only a few simple ingredients.  The cabbage mellows as it cooks, and the potatoes make it a filling, hearty meal.

 

creole cabbage and sausageQuick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Travel (in your imagination) to New Orleans with these quick skillet dinner. Spiked with creole seasoning and creole mustard for a burst of flavor (don’t worry if you don’t have those things, you can easily make them with common ingredients).

lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetablesLamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

Spicy sausage, sweet carrots, and largely pantry ingredients. It does call for eggplant, but you can skip it if you don’t have it.  Add more carrots instead. Or some mushrooms.

 

 




Apple Glazed Ham Steak Recipe for One Person

When I was little, everyone served ham with pineapple. That’s good, but I think this apple glazed ham steak is better. There’s an enzyme in pineapple that breaks down protein and tends to make it a bit mushy.  Plus you have to get a good pineapple, wonder what to do with the rest of it, or settle for canned.  Apples on the other hand, add a touch of sweetness, plus a hint of tartness. It’s less overpoweringly sweet and it complements the salty ham better.

The other good thing about this recipe is that it’s fairly quick. Sauté the ham steak, set it aside, make the apple topping, and you have dinner in about 15-20 minutes.

Score! There are more quick dinner recipes at the bottom of the post.

If you can, get the ham steak from a butcher.  The pre-packaged kind tends to be bulked up with water and additives.  I’m lucky enough to have a butcher nearby that sells them frozen, so I can buy it and use it when I’m ready.

I made this with brandy, but if you don’t have that, apple cider will work too.  For a more intense apple flavor, try it with apple brandy, such as Calvados, or a hard apple cider.

The Brusssels sprouts, by the way, are tossed with some olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and then roasted.  My new favorite way to eat them!




Apple Glazed Ham Steak Substitutions and Variations

  • skip the cloves and add a bit of tangy mustard
  • try some cinnamon
  • sauté some sweet onions and include them in the sauce (Vidalia onions would work nicely for this)
  • mix up the apples; I used Gala but Granny Smith would add a bit of extra tartness to the recipe and make a nice complement to the ham
  • if you don’t have brandy, use Calvados, or apple cider

More Quick Dinner Recipes

creole cabbage and sausageQuick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

This is a great quick meal when you want food fairly quickly.  It’s also pantry-friendly.  Cabbage lasts a long time in the fridge and the spices are shelf-stable.

 

Polish sausage with cabbage and potatoesOne Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

A few basic ingredients that are full of flavor. There are buttery potatoes, braised cabbage, and rich sausage. It’s all made in one pot too.

 

cider braised pork with sauerkrautCider Braised Pork Chop with Sauerkraut and Apples

Apples, pork, and sauerkraut complement each other beautifully. The salty kraut plays off against the sweet apples. This is a classic fall or chilly weather meal.

 

pork tenderloin with mushrooms and sour cream

Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream.

A rich, creamy sauce boosted by the bite of Dijon mustard and piquant capers —both of which complement the pork beautifully.  And, it’s done in about twenty minutes or so.  The mushrooms are also just about the only thing you have to chop.




Cider Braised Pork Chop with Sauerkraut and Apples

Now that fall has finally arrived, it’s time to start switching light meals and salads for something more substantial. This cider braised pork chop with sauerkraut is full of classic fall flavors, from rich pork, crisp apples and sweet cider. That sweetness is balanced by savory onions, piquant sauerkraut, and just a touch of brown sugar.

It’s great simple comfort food. This is a good dish for a weeknight dinner or even for company. You only need to use one pan, so there’s not a lot of clean up involved. And, after a bit of chopping and slicing it’s ready in about half an hour. Just be careful not to overcook the pork. Put everything together, deglaze the pan, and then cook it gently for 15 or 20 minutes.

There are lots of variations on this idea. Some add bacon. Others roast the pork. I added carrots, but you can also skip the carrots in the main dish and make my honey mustard glazed carrots as a side dish. The sweet honey and the savory mustard complement the pork nicely.




Cider Braised Pork Chop with Sauerkraut Substitutions and Variations

  • Use white wine or chicken broth instead of the cider
  • Replace the carrots with potatoes
  • Add some sausage
  • Saute some bacon in the pan first and cook the pork in the bacon fat instead of the oil
  • If you find commercial sauerkraut too salty, mix in some raw cabbage to cut the salinity.

Pork and Cabbage Recipes

Polish sausage with cabbage and potatoesOne Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

An entire meal: meat, potatoes, and veggies all packed into one single bowl (and one cooking pot).

 

creole cabbage and sausageQuick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Fast, pantry-friendly and delicious. Colorful too, especially if you use red cabbage.  Just add some rice for a full meal.

 

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Fragrant with garlic, spicy chili, and a hint of sweetness from honey, this Chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup tastes good and knocks out germs too.

 




Easy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

It’s officially fall, so that means it’s also officially apple season! This easy one serving apple crisp recipe really satisfies that apple craving, while indulging your sweet tooth at the same time. I had a serious hankering for something sweet, but not too gooey, and this hits the spot.

Try to use apples that are large, crisp, and juicy, but not too sweet.  I am lucky enough to have access to a greenmarket with a farmer who grows 75 kinds of apples.  So, I used Esopus Spitzenberg (supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple).  If you don’t have 75 kinds of apples, Granny Smith or Mutsu or similar will do just fine.

The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar (for 12 servings), which was waaay too much.  Every other recipe I saw used half that.  So, I followed suit and cut it in  half.  It’s still sweet and delicious, without endangering  your teeth.




Easy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Give in to the pumpkin spice craze and add ground cloves and ginger
  • Try a splash of brandy (especially Calvados)
  • If you want your crisp more syrupy, add some apple cider
  • Serve with ice cream or whipped cream on top

Tools and Ingredients for Easy One Serving Apple Crisp

 

black and decker mini chopper

Black & Decker Food Chopper

A mini chopper is essentially a food processor’s little cousin.  This is perfect for grinding up the oatmeal in this recipe.  And, it takes up a lot less space than a food processor.  It’s great for chopping nuts, dicing onions, making pesto, or even grinding a small batch of meat for meatballs.

HIC Square Baking Dish small porcelain baking dish

This dish is ideal for baking smaller casseroles, cakes, crisps, and crumbles.  Use it for brownies, peach crumble or a mini-meatloaf.  It’s perfectly content in the oven, the dishwasher, and the microwave. And, it also takes up very little space in your cupboard.

More Fruit Dessert Recipes

cinnamon sugar apple breadSmall Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

Crackly cinnamon sugar topping, lots of chopped apples, and a downscaled recipe that’s perfect for one person.

 

Peach Crumble Recipe for One

Sweet summer peaches, two little bowls, and one pan.  Soooo good. Make sure to top it with some vanilla ice cream. Because you deserve it.

 

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice creamPoached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

A classic French dessert that’s remarkably easy to make.  Poach the pears gently, then add chocolate and ice cream. Fancy huh?

 

caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

Delicious, easy, and pantry-friendly. Hint: you can use canned pineapple! And it only takes a few minutes to make. Serve plain, topped with chopped nuts, or add other fruit too.




Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

There’s nothing better and more comforting than hot soup on a chilly, blustery day. This curried butternut squash soup with apples is perfect for cold fall or winter weekends when squash are plentiful. I had quite a bit of squash left over from making roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash, so this was the perfect way to use it up.   I have adapted the recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook, with a few tweaks.

First, I cut the recipe in half, as the original recipe made 6 large servings.  Plus, I only had most of one squash left (not two!).  I also substituted apple cider for the apple juice called for in the recipe. This gives it more flavor than just plain apple juice.

One more note, I recommend that you use a mild curry in this recipe (not something super-hot and spicy as it will overwhelm the flavor of the squash and the apples). I have a West Indian curry blend which is more savory than spicy; it works perfectly. If you can’t get the curry, try a teaspoon of ginger and a teaspoon of brown sugar.




Tools and Ingredients for Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Cuisinart  Immersion Hand Blender

cuisinart hand blenderThe original recipe called for straining the soup, then putting it through a food mill or food processor, and then pouring it back into the original pot.

Doable, but a pain in the neck, and it means two more things to clean.  The immersion blender is much easier to use, and a lot easier to clean up too.  You just pop off the end and wash it.

 

Chief West Indian Curry Powder

Flavorful, but not too hot, this curry blend comes straight from Trinidad.  It works well with butternut squash, a quick chicken curry, or over some cauliflower or roasted potatoes.

Oxo Swivel Peeler

Butternut squash is notoriously hard to peel, but this gadget makes the job a snap. Using this peeler, peeling a squash is no harder than peeling a carrot.

The little hole in the pointed end is great for removing the eyes from potatoes, or taking out bruised spots from veggies.  Oxo was originally designed for people with arthritis, so the handle is soft, round, and easy to grip.

More Butternut Squash Recipes

butternut squash brown sugar vanilla

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

This is definitely a vegetable. Just look at it. It’s got squash right? Well, make it yourself, and close your eyes. You’ll swear it’s a dessert.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Use up the remaining squash from your soup and make this creamy, rich sauce. It’s both sweet and savory, and absolutely wonderful over pasta.

 

roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squashRoasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Warm cinnamon and sweet squash are a wonderful side dish for fall. Great with a a roast turkey or chicken.

 

 

 




Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

It’s apple season! It’s also the time of year when it’s traditional to eat apples and honey (for a sweet Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year).  I brought a full batch of this cinnamon sugar apple bread to my brother’s house for the holiday. They gobbled it up! Pretty good, considering it was competing with mom’s New York cheesecake.

I originally planned to post the entire recipe, which I adapted from Cookies and Cups.  Then I remembered (duh), that this is the “single serving chef” blog, and the portions should be smaller!

I have reduced the sugar and the vanilla, because the original recipe was far too sweet for me. The result is a delicious, and easy to make, quick bread (think banana bread, but with apples rather than bananas), that’s full of apple flavor and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

If you can get them, use a Canville Blanc D’Hiver apple (which is a French tart apple). If not, Granny Smith, Mutsu, or GingerGold will work well. You want an apple that’s firm, crisp, and not too sweet.

I once accidentally made this with cayenne (!) instead of cinnamon. I mention it because it was much better than I would have expected.  I’m not sure I’d do it again deliberately, but it did give me an idea (see the substitutions section).




Substitutions and Variations for Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

  • Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger to make the cake a bit spicy
  • Give it a bit of a kick with some brandy or Calvados
  • If you’re brave, or like spicy sweets, go for the cayenne
  • Top the bread with bourbon sauce (2 T bourbon, 1/4 C sugar, 2 T butter, heated in a small pan) instead of the cinnamon/sugar.

Tools for Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

Wilton Mini Loaf Pan

I’m having a grand time with these mini loaf pans. They allow me to make “half-size recipes” without a lot of leftovers. And I don’t have to worry about having bread or cake going stale before I can finish it.  Just take a recipe for a single loaf of bread, divide the dough in half, and you have two mini-breads.  Perfect!

More Quick Bread and Fruit Dessert Recipes

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

A five-minute dessert that’s a real treat. Think streamlined Bananas Foster.  Great alone, or topped with ice cream.

 

easy one serving apple crisp recipeEasy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

You only need a single bowl to make this simple apple crisp.  It’s warm, spicy, sweet, and made with oatmeal. That makes it healthy. Right?

 

chocolate banana breadMini Chocolate Banana Bread

Plain banana bread is good. This is even better. It’s packed with rich, chocolatey goodness that takes ordinary banana bread to the next level.  Or, go all out and add chips too.

 

caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

Cooking pineapple deepens the flavor and brings out the sweetness. Add chopped nuts for crunch. Dessert in minutes.