Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BLT Chicken Salad & Granola Bars

I have TWO recipes to share with you! I have pictures as well, but I'm tired right now so I'll use the www ones for now.
First up, Chicken BLT Salad from Cooking Light. We ate al fresco this evening and enjoyed this lovely meal. I had put off making it for a few weeks because I dreaded how time consuming it was going to be. A few odd circumstances collided this afternoon and I had a fire lit under my hiney to get it done. Surprisingly, even though my chicken was still 1/2 frozen this all was done in about 1 hour. Long sounding, yes, but about 30 min of that was the chicken cooking in the oven.

I made the dressing just so I could try it before I knocked it. Sure enough, I ended up using good ol ranch on mine salad. Senor and I both agreed the dressing just wasn't worth the hassle and the whole thing would be just as good with a honey mustard or ranch dressing.

My girls both ate it, too. CJ wanted LOTS of bleu cheese. Funny kid.

  • 1 cup fat-free buttermilk, divided
  • large egg white, lightly beaten 
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • medium head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into 6 wedges 
  • 2 cups chopped plum tomato
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese (1/2 cup)
  • slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. 2. Combine 1/2 cup buttermilk and egg white in a shallow dish. Place panko in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg white mixture; dredge in panko. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  3. 3. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken. Cook 4 minutes; turn over. Bake at 425° for 14 minutes or until done. Let chicken stand 10 minutes; slice crosswise.
  4. 4. Combine 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mayonnaise, dill, chives, and vinegar. Place garlic on a cutting board; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Chop until a paste forms, scraping with the flat side of knife to mash. Add garlic to dressing.
  5. 5. Place 1 lettuce wedge on each of 6 plates. Top each serving with chicken, 1/3 cup tomato, and 2 1/2 tablespoons dressing. Sprinkle with cheese and crumbled bacon.

My notes:
1. Skip all the dressing ingredients and instructions.
2. I did not have buttermilk (never do) so I used 2% milk (3/4c) mixed with 1/4c cider vinegar. Let it sit for about 5 min. worked just fine.
3. I would say, focus on your chicken first. When it's put in the oven, focus your attention on the bacon (cooking it) and prepping the rest of the salad.

We served ours with cucumber slices, baby carrots and some roasted sweet potato fries. 

We (no, not we, I) have been trying to eliminate the processed foods we buy. We don't buy many but the few things we do buy make me cringe a little. For instance, granola bars. Now, I buy them (the ones without hfcs or other scary things) because they are quick, easy grab-and-go snacks to shove in my purse for the girls in case we are out running errands longer than I plan (which always happens) but I cringe thinking of the processed ickiness lurking in every bar. SO, I decided to make my own this month. I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe (sort of--you can link over to hers and compare). They are yummy!!  I will definitely be making alot more of these in the future! LB tried one this afternoon for lunch and LOVED it. Yay! and of course, I'll be tweaking it and trying some new twists...I'll keep you posted. I'm thinking carrot cake version...shredded carrot, dried pineapple, raisins, pecans. maybe toss in some cream cheese instead of pb....yummmmmm

My version of her recipe:

1 cups quick rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
2/3 c 5 grain cereal mix (like Bob's Redmill)
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)*
     -I used 3/4 c chopped pecans, 1 c raisins, 1 c craisins, 1/2 c dark chocolate chunks
2 Tbsp peanut butter or another nut butter (she says optional but I say not really)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( sahe says optional, again I say required)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4-1/3 c applesauce (no sugar added kind)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
** IF your mixture was like mine and a bit dry feeling you could add in a beaten egg to hold it together a bit more or even a few Tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes (Mine were done in 30), until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)
Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. [Updating to note, as many had crumbling issues:] If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.