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No-Recipe Recipes: Formula for a Favorite

No-Recipe Recipes: Formula for a Favorite

​In my last blog post I talked about finding some ways to get ahead in the kitchen, and one of my favorite strategies is having a go-to formula for a healthful protein-packed salad that will last in the fridge for the week. Chicken salad is awesome for lunches or for those weekday nights when you get home later than expected and can’t cope with cooking.
Start with…
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Stash your favorite protein in the freezer—or refrigerator for something like tofu—for impromptu cooking parties. Cook the chicken breast by poaching in chicken broth or water until cooked through—this cooking method helps keep the chicken moist, but baking or grilling works well, too.
 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt has my vote over mayonnaise for a tangy flavor—though I also love Just Mayo, which is an awesome vegan mayo option if you’re cutting back on dairy. Usually chicken salads are too saucy for my taste. I like just enough dressing to help all the components hold together, plus keeping the dressing to a minimum helps ensure the calorie count is in check .
Then add a couple of simple extras…
Pizza-Style
This is a patented Molly combo that I discovered completely by accident. I love how intriguing these two pantry staples can be.

  • Pepperoncini—roughly chop these mild pickled peppers and mix a little of the brine with the yogurt or mayo for a quick dressing. You won’t need to add any extra seasoning for the chicken salad, because this brine and the peppers have a pleasant saltiness.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil—add a little of the oil to the dressing as well and thinly slice the tomatoes for a wonderful chewy addition.
Sweet and Classic

  • Celery—thinly sliced celery adds a wonderful crunch. I would add at least 3 stalks of celery to a batch of chicken salad this size.
  • Grapes—purple grapes in chicken salad are a real classic. Cut the grapes in half lengthwise (or quarter them if they’re extra big) and add about 1 cup to the salad mixture.
Fall Crunch

  • Apples—try Honeycrisp apples for great texture and a little sweetness. These apples tend to be pretty big, so I would dice 1/2 apple for the salad and eat the other half as a snack.
  • Pecans—toast 1/3 cup pecan halves on the stovetop, then let them cool before roughly chopping.
  • Pumpkin Purée—I always have a can of pumpkin purée in my pantry and adding a little dollop to the yogurt dressing adds a golden color, plus fiber and vitamins A, C and E.
​Do you have any recipes you know by heart? What are your favorite ways to stock the refrigerator for the week?