Italian Chicken Salad

It's my BLOGIVERSARY! 365 days, 74 blog posts, and 5 blog readers later ;)

OH! And hopefully my photo quality will soon improve... fingers crossed! My pictures have been between so-so + horrible long enough! Time to get a solid 'OK' on my pictures. Work in progress, yo.

Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad

So this recipe really isn't very fancy or difficult at all. But it is plain old delicious. Italian Chicken Salad. Does that exist? Is this it? Well if there was such a thing, I think that this would be it. It's kinda like a caprese salad, minus the cheese and with chicken and mayo... yup. SO CLOSE, almost identical. It's just a little twist to the same ol' same ol' chicken salad we all know and love. The roasted tomatoes give it a nice texture. GO MAKE IT AND TELL ME HOW GOOD IT IS! :D

Oh yeah, so this is 21DSD approved! Read all about how I'm trying to fight my craving for sugar... and how it's almost sort of working... (when there isn't my favorite hard ciders around-)here and here.

Serves: 6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: zilch

Ingredients:

2 cans chicken (or chicken breasts if you're fancy. I'm just lazy sometimes, the canned chicken I bought has no added ingredients)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp mayo*
3/4 cup diced celery (~one large stalk)
3/4 cup diced carrot (~2 medium carrots)
1 cup roasted cherry tomatoes** (optional to roast them)
3 tbsp fresh chopped basil
pinch salt.pepper

1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients.
2. Mix well.
3. Eat with everyyything.

*Mayo:
1 egg
1 cup olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil

Throw all ingredients into a tall tumbler glass and blitz it with a stick blender/immersion blender until it becomes a mayo texture, about one minute.

**Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
3/4 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and toss all ingredients in a pan. Cook for 40 minutes.

Siracha Mayo

Siracha Mayo
Siracha Mayo

Siracha mayoooooo! (Said with the same inflection as "touchdoooooown" in honor of Football season). Mayonnaise with a stick blender is almost faster than opening on a jar of pre made store bought nasty mayo. Way more delicious and way more less bad for you too. Yes, I used improper grammar. You learn the rules to break them, right?

Makes: about 1 + 1/4 Cup
Total time: 3 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp siracha (if you're feeling up to it, try this Paleo siracha recipe!)

1. Put all ingredients in a tall wide mouthed bottle. (I use the beaker that the stick blender came with). I suppose you could use a bowl as well, I've just never done that.
2. Blend until all ingredients have been incorporated and are creamy in texture! (Less than one minute).
3. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for a week or two.. and put it on everything.

Homemade Lard + Bacon Bits

Lard
Lard

I love lard. Lard should be snowy white. But give me a break, I didn't follow a lard rendering recipe and it's still OK to use! Not burnt tasty! If it comes out dark, it's supposed to have a more burnt taste, but this didn't have a burnt flavor, so I say it's still good to use. No one is perfect, especially not this gal! ;)

So I split a meat share with some friends last week and I was lucky enough to land a few pounds of pig back fat. SCORE. In anticipation of the Paleo Parents book release of Beyond Bacon, I needed to render some lard ASAP so I could get cooking. I pre-ordered their cookbook and got it Wednesday- I'm not sure if I should make lard crust first, pork tamales, "corn" dogs, biscuits, lard butter (omg), or maple pecan lard scones, or the gazillion other ridiculous recipes most of which have lard in the ingredients.

So, lard. I had never rendered lard before, I also, when Googling, didn't really find the same directions twice. So I experimented. I'll let you know what I did, and what I did wrong. Learn from my imperfections people!

2lbs back fat
Yield: ~10 oz lard

  1. I cut the backfat into cubes, about 1/2" in size.
  2. Put a large pot on medium/low heat and tossed the cubes in.
  3. Mixed around a bit and let it sit. Liquid will begin to puddle.
  4. After about an hour and a half, I strained the liquid into a glass jar.
  5. I put the remainding cubes back into the pot for another 30 minutes until I could not render any more liquid.
  6. I strained the liquid into the jar once more.

I did not do anything wrong, per se, because the lard doesn't have a burnt flavor to it, buut it would be best if the liquid was drained more often than an hour and a half to two hours. The longer you let the liquid cook in the pot, the more likly it will burn. You could also cut the fat into smaller peices. Um, yeah, so that's about it! It's super, super easy and very rewarding! :D

Also-- you get extra bang for your buck- you get crispy bacon bits! Now, it's not actually bacon because bacon comes from the belly of the pig, but it has a porky flavor and you can use it for all the same applications. Since we had some large pieces, we put the crispy leftovers into a food processor, which gave us the 'bacon bits' consistency to put ontop of salads or to mix into burgers. You could easily grind the bits up even finer and add a bunch of salt to it, and have your own pork salt! (How good does THAT sound?!)

Bacon Bits
Bacon Bits