Avocado Chicken Salad
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I used to never be a fan of chicken salad. I actually thought it was straight gross…It just always looked so heavy and mayonaisse-y to me and I could just imagine someone mass producing it in giant vats in some sort of gross cafeteria like kitchen, just chucking whatever random ingredients in. I guess my imagination just turned me off to the whole idea of chicken salad…so I disliked it before I even took a bite (not fair…I know). But I constantly see chicken salad sandwiches on instagram feeds and pinterest, people talking about how its so easy to make and how it can be both delicious and healthy. And healthy, easy, great tasting food is what I am into…so I thought I would give my own spin on it. I used  my favorite healthy seasonal ingredients, and my Avocado Chicken Salad was born! For a non-chicken salad lover I was pretty pleased.

Avocado Chicken Salad
Before I go  into my Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe, I just wanted to share with you a few great nutrition facts about avocado.

1/3 of 1 Hass Avocado contains:
  • 250mg of potassium and 0g of sodium (great for blood pressure)
  • 3 g of dietary fiber (good for feeling full moving those bowels)
  • 5g of monounsaturated fat and 1 g of polyunsaturated fat (heart healthy fats!)
  • 45mcg of folate (good for pregnant women or those planning on getting pregnant)
Additionally, when eaten with tomato sauce or raw carrots, avocados have been shown to significantly enhance the absorption of provitamin a compounds that are present in tomatoes and carrots and convert these compounds to the active form of vitamin a. (Kopec, RE. J Nutr, 2014)

In another small study, it was shown that adding 1/2 of a medium fresh hass avocado to a burger (90% lean) may curb the productions of an inflammatory marker that rises when eating a burger without avocado. (Li, Z. Food and Function, 2012)

Bottom line – Avocados are a delicious heart healthy ingredient that can help you feel full and may have more impact than just simply providing you with essential vitamins and minerals.

And now for my Avocado Chicken Salad recipe. Basically you just take all the ingredients and mix them up in a bowl. The avocado along with the greek yogurt provides the creaminess of chicken salad without the use of mayonnaise. They also add an extra boost of nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fiber. The celery adds some crunch, the mango adds some sweetness (and a few more nutrients :) ), and other than the chicken, everything else is just added for flavor. Feel free to omit or add your favorite spices to make it your own. Oh and this would be a great recipe to use up any leftover chicken from dinner the night before. I love taking leftovers and turning them into a completely new meal. I hope you enjoy! If you try this recipe or any of my other recipes take a picture and post on instagram and/or facebook and tag me @delishnnutrish so I can see!

Avocado Chicken Salad

Ingredients
1 Hass Avocado
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Cilantro
1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
2 Cups Chopped Cooked Chicken
1/2 Cup Diced Celery
1 Small Mango – Chopped

Directions
Mash up the avocado flesh and mix with lime juice and greek yogurt in a mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in salt, cilantro, paprika, onion powder, and pepper. Add chicken, celery and mango to avocado mixture and stir until coated well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve on a bed of lettuce or make into a sandwich with your favorite whole grain bread.
Avocado Chicken Salad
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Mediterranean Quinoa Bake
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When I’m short on time or I’m running low on fresh vegetables, I like to combine fresh veggies with canned ones for a quick and easy meal that still helps me meet my nutritional needs. When buying canned ingredients, I compare different brands and choose the one that is lowest in sodium, preferably no salt added, if possible. I also drain and rinse my canned beans and veggies that do have salt added to help further decrease the sodium level. If you like to use a lot of canned ingredients I would suggest investing in a little mini colander so you can easily rinse off your canned beans and veggies without having to use your bigger one. That way you can save precious dishwasher space and you may be more likely to actually take the time to rinse them off :)

 

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

 

 

This week was pretty busy so I wanted to make a really easy, healthy and delicious meal that would be able to feed both me and my husband for two nights. Throwing veggies, beans, and whole grains into a pan and baking it seemed like a really good way to accomplish my goal. I also wanted to do a vegetarian dish because 1) I love vegetarian dishes, 2) Adding meat seemed like an unnecessary extra step, and 3) My friend Stephanie is a vegetarian who loves casseroles/bakes and is always looking for healthy recipes…so this recipe was partly for her. I chose to use mediterranean flavors in this recipe because I love them… annnnd I also happened to have a can of artichokes in my pantry I wanted to use. So if you like easy healthy recipes, veggies, chickpeas, and quinoa, this recipe is just for you.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

Ingredients 
1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 Can (16 oz) Reduced Sodium Chickpeas- Drained and Rinsed
1 Can (14 oz) Quartered Artichoke Hearts- Drained and Rinsed
1 Can (12 oz) Roasted Red Peppers- Drained and Rinsed
3 Cups Raw Baby Spinach
4 Plum Tomatoes – Sliced
1 Cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
3/4 Cup Reduced Fat Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Directions
Cook quinoa according to package directions and preheat oven to 350 degrees. While quinoa is cooking, add remaining ingredients except for feta cheese and balsamic vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Toss ingredients together mixing well. After quinoa is done cooking, spread quinoa evenly in a 9×13 inch glass baking pan. Top with veggie mixture. Cook in oven for 20 minutes or until veggies are warm and soft. Remove from oven, sprinkle feta cheese and drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top of casserole. Place back in oven for about 5 more minutes until cheese is warm and slightly soft. Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy!
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Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
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Up until recently, I haven’t had beets for quite some time. Maybe the occasional beet on a salad at a restaurant or at a wedding, but I would never just make them myself. Then, a few things happened. First, my sister made spiralized beets when I went to visit in March and they were really good. I think we put balsamic and something else on them…maybe honey, and just roasted them in the oven. Then, I actually ordered roasted beets at a tapas style restaurant when my brother was here visiting, and they were amazing. It made start thinking about creating my own similar dish. Finally, I happened to find a container of pre-spiralized beets at my local publix…yes I am that lazy/busy person that likes to take an occasional shortcut. Anyways, there was now no excuse not to try my hand at a delicious beet recipe.
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
Before I give you the recipe I should probably tell you why you should eat beets. Other than the fact that they are delicious of course. The short story is that beets are a vegetable and vegetables are good for you, we all know that. But why beets specifically? One of the great things about these root veggies is their high dietary nitrate content. Nitrates are a compound made up of nitrogen and oxygen and are naturally found in our food supply. They are abundant in vegetables such as leafy greens and beets and have been shown to help lower blood pressure and enhance exercise performance. So beets are delicious and heart healthy…you definitely have to try them now!
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese

Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese

Ingredients 
4 Cups Spiralized Beets
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar + Extra for Drizzling
1 Cup Mandarin Orange Slices
1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Blue Cheese Crumbles

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss beets with olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in a medium roasting pan. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in oranges. Mix together and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until oranges are warm and beets are to desired tenderness. Remove from oven, stir and place in serving dish. Top with blue cheese and drizzle with more balsamic vinegar if desired. Serve warm immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
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