Monday, April 24, 2017

What to do with leftover chicken breasts? Make Coconut Chicken Salad, of course!





I cook for a small family. There's just three of us, and my daughter would rather eat uncooked veggies and fruits rather than have them added to something. So, basically, I'm cooking for two adults, and that is why my recipe doesn't feed a lot of people. 

I've come to the conclusion that making large batches of anything will inevitably result in some of it being thrown out because we all forget about it in the fridge. And that creates waste. Waste that we really can't afford. So, I decided to cook in smaller batches with leftovers enough for just one day and that's it. 

This recipe is one of those. It was a happy surprise, to be honest. I'd baked a batch of chicken breasts and didn't like how they'd turned out. I must have overcooked them because they felt a bit rubbery. So, I spent a few days avoiding them, knowing if I didn't do something, they'd spoil. Being on a budget, I didn't want that to happen. 


The delicious chicken salad. You can follow me on Instagram HERE















I reluctantly came up with the idea of a chicken salad. Reluctantly because I've never really liked it, never tasted a variation that I could eat beyond a couple nibbles. I can't explain it, but the chicken combined with the other ingredients just turned me off. 

But yesterday I created a recipe that changed my mind.

It uses the cream of coconut milk. The cream is the part of the milk that floats to the top, kind of like what happens with actual cream and milk. And I just so happened to have some after making my own coconut milk the other day. It has more of an oily feel to it, and it tastes delicious. And since it's basically coconut oil, it's also good for you. 

I looked up some recipes for chicken and found a few, but nothing I really thought I'd like. Then I remembered the time I made a chicken tarragon recipe and it hit me. Use the tarragon, use the coconut cream, and create a tropical, mildly sweet salad that I could enjoy. 

Here's what I came up with: 

Coconut Chicken Salad

 3 small breasts, or 1.5 cups of shredded chicken (190 grams)
1/2 to 1 cup red seedless grapes
8 ounces of carrots (I used the rest of the baby carrots that were languishing in the bag.)
2 tablespoons onions (I used yellow, but purple onion would be great, too)
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut cream 
1/4 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing (or generic brand)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
pinch of salt
couple shakes of black pepper
1 tablespoon dried chives 
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
shake of paprika

Directions

Cut the breasts enough to fit into a food processor. Turn on the processor until the chicken is shredded well. Put in a bowl and set aside. 

Put carrots in food processor and turn it on. Blend until they're nearly shredded. Add the grapes and onions and turn it on again. Blend until everything is well shredded. I don't like big chunks in my chicken salad. 

Dump the mixture in with the chicken. 

Add the salad dressing and the coconut cream and blend with a spoon. Add the spices and blend it all into the mixture well.  

Let the chicken salad chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours until you're ready to use it. 


***

At first I thought this might be three servings, but it turns out it was easily about five or six servings. Here are the nutrition facts based the on My Fitness Pal app. 

Nutrition Facts

Calories Total: 858 for entire dish, so if you divide it up into five portions, it equals ~172 calories per serving, which is not bad at all. 

Info Based on Five Servings: 

Carbs: 15g
Fat:  11.34g
Saturated: 1.14g
Polyunsaturated: 3.3
Monounsaturated: 3.18g
Protein: 14g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Dietary fiber: 2.34g
Sugars: 5.1g
Sodium: 198mg
Potassium: 500mg
Vitamin A: 97%
Vitamin C: 15.8%
Calcium: 15.7%
Iron: 23.2%

My husband loves this recipe, and I watched him pile it on his plate with toasted bread for dinner last night, and I just polished off the last of it for lunch today. I cut two slices of bread (I make my own), toasted them, and then put about two tablespoons of the salad on the toast and it was delicious.

The onion gives the salad a nice kick, but the coconut cream is what makes it, in my opinion. After sitting in the fridge for a while, the tarragon blended nicely with it and made it a pleasing snack or even a meal on a warm spring day. We toasted some bread and slathered the chicken salad on it for a couple open-faced sandwiches. 



Try it out and tell me what you think! 

You can also follow me on Instagram.

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