Summer vacation starts in 2 weeks for my kids ( insert strained grin from Chef Tess). I don't know about you, but I'm seriously not ready! I always think I'm okay and then I realize that my kids will be here eating all day! All. Day. I have a teenage boy (yes, I know I look too young to have teenager...thank you) and a second boy right on his heels and I really want this summer to be one full of happy healthy choices. Now, it is easy to just load the cupboards with bags of chips and junk. Being a responsible parent is
overrated ...totally amazing! We started a 14 day weight loss challenge here at my house this week. One, because mom needs to stay motivated. Two, because my boys need me to stay motivated. Three, because there's something about having my family on board with eating right that is incredibly awesome and motivating! How many times did I mention motivation? My kids have been my best motivator for years!
Summer is about getting out and getting active! Part of that has been getting out in the evening for family walks and getting up early for some aerobics. Don't worry. I'm not a Drill Sargent-mom. We just keep it fun. Basketball always seems to be a winner. Do what you love. Love it the ultimate motivation darlings! The other part of good health is eating right. We're having a lot of healthy salad including whole grain, lean protein and as a chef, there has to be a lot of flavor! I've been keeping this 6 grain chicken salad on hand and mixing up the flavors depending on the mood I'm in.
The benefit of all the whole grain is that it will help regulate blood sugar levels (especially if cooked whole), is cholesterol free, and is great for the heart. Lean protein helps with weight loss and I use breast meat chicken because I love the low fat, low sodium, simple, and delicious texture it adds to any meal. This salad can be made using any of these whole grains including wheat, rye, barley, oat groats, quinoa, Kamut, and brown rice.
* 6 Grain Whole blend is what I use for this recipe most often. It is available in most of the Honeyville retail locations. It contains equal parts hard red wheat, white wheat, oat groats, barley, rye and triticale. You can use any combination of those whole unrolled grains or one grain by itself, as long as it is equal to the 1 1/2 cups of uncooked grain. The cooked amount of grain will be 5 cups.
1 cup cooked diced lean white meat chicken breast
1 1/2 cup 6 grain whole blend* (or any Whole Grain such as Wheat,Rye, Barley, or Oat Groats)
1/2 cup Hazelnuts, toasted and chopped ( your choice)
1 cup chopped fresh peaches
2 ounces goat cheese**, feta cheese, or reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Vegetable Stock
2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2T Lemon Juice
1T Chef Tess Seasoning (of your choice)
1/2 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
Sea Salt to taste
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1 clove fresh pressed Garlic
Salad greens for serving.
To cook the grain, I place it in my pressure cooker with 6 cups of water and cook on high 25 minutes, natural release. If you want a full tutorial on cooking grain in a pressure cooker, see: Pressure Cooking 101. The grain can also be simmered in a covered pot on the stove for approximately 90 minutes over low heat. Drain the grain well. It should make about 5 cups.
In a medium bowl, combine the salad dressing ingredients. I'm fond of the French Provencal Essential Seasoning, Big Dill Seasoning, Greek Olympian Seasoning, and Romantic Italian Seasoning here.Here.
The use of cornstarch and vegetable stock greatly reduces the amount of oil normally used in a vinaigrette, giving my salad dressing the thickness and body that I love. Heat the vegetable stock and cornstarch together on the stove until thick, about 5 minutes in a pot. Whisk well. Whisk all the ingredients together well and drizzle over your grains.
Add the chicken, nuts, cheese and fruit.
**Goat cheese is what I use for the nutritional information I'll give you today. If you use a higher fat cheese, then the calories and fat will go up.
All I know is that this recipe makes 8 cups of hearty, filling, and delicious salad!
Each one cup serving will give you: 212 calories, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of fiber, 29 low impact carbohydrates, and 13 grams of protein! Serve this on a bed of salad greens and you have a hearty, filling and healthy meal!
There you go my darlings! A delicious, filling, and versatile salad for the best summer ever! Stay cool. Don't watch too much TV...and relish every single day you have with those you love! Onward and upward we go!
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess