A Squared: Weekend Happenings & A Healthy Fall Chicken Salad

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend Happenings & A Healthy Fall Chicken Salad

It's Sunday night already.  Sigh.

For a weekend without many plans, it ended up being a very busy one.  It got warm and weirdly summery in Chicago this weekend, so I think we had the same idea as everyone else and took full advantage of it.  Rumor has it we may see the first snowflakes of the season tomorrow.

So, here are a few snapshots from a fun fall weekend in Chicago.  Have a great week!

We grabbed burgers at 25 Degrees with a few of Alex's nearest and dearest friends from college.  25 Degrees is a fun burger bar in River North where you can customize your own gourmet burgers.  It was great to catch up with the boys and even better to catch up with my old friend Lauren.  She tends bar at 25 Degrees and I haven't seen her since childhood-- so glad she was working that night!

We went up to Wicker Park on Saturday night for dinner at LoKal.  It's a cute little place with a small menu that is sort of traditional American meets Eastern European.  It reminded me a lot of the meals we ate in Poland and Prague during my study abroad stint.  Some highlights of the meal (below) were the kielbasa appetizer (with marinated beets, grilled onions, and dill potato salad) and the pork tenderloin entree with apple and radish slaw and a potato pancake.  It's definitely worth a visit.

And then we headed over to Pint to meet up with Alexis and Mere for some cocktails.  Of course my BFF and I unknowingly showed up in similar outfits.  That's just what we do!

Sunday was all about food!  I dug out all of my back Thanksgiving issues of my favorite cooking magazines to begin my holiday meal plan.  Can you believe it's less than 2 weeks away?

I remembered that last year we bought an enormous turkey-- it was 15 lbs. and that is far too much for 3 people!  It was the smallest turkey I could find at my grocery store and we ended up having to throw away a lot of the leftovers.  I've been on the hunt early for a more appropriate sized bird this year.

Conveniently, a new Mariano's Fresh Market just opened somewhat near us in Greektown so we decided to go check it out and see if we could find a reasonably sized turkey.  I love this store and I wish it were just a few blocks closer to our place!  It's like a Wegman's meets Whole Foods-- a local feel, a huge selection of basic and gourmet items,  and shockingly reasonable prices.  They have an oyster bar, a cafe that serves coffee, wine, and gelato (my 3 faves), and an amazing prepared foods section with brick pizza ovens and a handmade candy station.  We left today with some fresh sourdough bread (for my Thanksgiving stuffing), a pint of pecan pumpkin pie gelato from the cafe, and a more "petite" 10 lb. turkey.  Well done.

Did I also mention that Alex's firm designed this building?  It's modern, but with some Italian touches here and there.  I love the scooter over the fireplace detail in the cafe.

And then I spent the rest of Sunday in the kitchen.  I made a big batch of marinara to freeze and then also prepped the bread for Thanksgiving stuffing.  I'm going to try to be very prepared ahead of time for dinner this year and will keep you posted on all of the menu details as they come together.  I also did some prep work for the girls dinner I'm hosting this week including homemade pizza dough (I'm a little scared about this one) and breaking down a rotisserie chicken breast.  A good portion of the chicken will be used in my girls dinner menu (more to come on that later too), but there was enough left over to make lunch for us today-- toasted chicken, cheddar, and apple sandwiches with whole grain mustard.  And then I used the rest to make a healthy chicken salad to pack up and take to work for my lunch this week.

Fall Chicken Salad


  • 1 1/2 cups rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 medium pear, cored and diced *I used a Red Anjou
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbs. light mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs. dry parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dry sage
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine chicken and next 5 ingredients through cranberries.  In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt and next 6 ingredients until combined and smooth.  Add dressing to the chicken mixture and gently stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until serving.  Serve over greens, with crackers, or on a sandwich.

The ingredients in this recipe can be swapped depending on your tastes too.  Sub in apples or sliced grapes for the pears, walnuts or almonds for the pecans, red wine or apple cider vinegars for the white wine vinegar, scallions for the red onion, or raisins for the cranberries.  You could also play with the flavor profiles here and change the seasoning for a totally different chicken salad.  Swap curry powder in for the spices and use grapes and cashews for a delicious curried chicken salad.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...