Poached Chicken Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing

We’re into Week 2 of lighter lunches. So far, so good. Getting enough flavour in there to keep me entertained.

I’ve always been a big fan of poached chicken. I tried it for the first time a few years ago at work funnily enough (yes, sometimes office catering is decent) and I really liked it! As someone who always quadruple checks that my chicken is cooked properly, i feel this is a pretty foolproof way to cook it properly and have it taste good. I do use breast meat but it still stays incredibly juicy even if you feel like you may have poached it for too long.

I have used similar ingredients to my other salad (sweet potato was $2.50 per kg on the weekend!) and I am obsessed with the Coles brand Marinated Danish Feta so that made a comeback.

Alright, let’s get stuck in.

Poached Chicken Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing (makes 3 lunches)

What you’re going to need

Salad

2 chicken breasts

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup quinoa

1 medium sweet potato, chopped into small, even pieces

generous handful baby spinach

30g feta

Dressing (rough estimates, adjust to taste)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped herbs (I used basil, oregano, sage and parsley)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

pinch of salt

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, place the chicken stock and breasts on a medium heat to poach. (Note: Cooking time will vary but if you are using fresh not frozen chicken, it will take at least 30 minutes. Ensure you have enough liquid to cover the chicken. Add tap water to adjust.)
  2. Whilst the chicken is cooking, roast the sweet potato in the oven with olive oil and salt to season. Cook until you can stick a fork through and it comes out easily.
  3. While your chicken and sweet potato are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a jug, add all of the dressing ingredients to taste. Whisk well and store in a jar/reusable container.
  4. After the chicken has finished poaching, remove from the saucepan and set onto a chopping board. Keep the liquid as this can be used to cook the quinoa.
  5. Cook quinoa as per packet instructions. (Note: I personally find quinoa pretty bland and tedious to cook. However, I have found cooking smaller quantities in the microwave works wonders. Added bonus, use the chicken stock to add more flavour.)
  6. Once everything is cooked and cooled slightly, you can start to assemble. Slice the chicken into even pieces. Place into a large bowl.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix well. If serving straight away, add as much dressing as desired. If storing for later, add dressing each time you serve it to avoid the dressing sitting at the bottom of your salad.

 

A Good Chat About Fats

So one of the bloggers that I seek inspiration and advice from is Chocolate Covered Katie. The fact that majority of her recipes feature chocolate had me locked in right from the start of my blogging days.

This month, Chocolate Covered Katie has declared “Hug a Fat” month. Basically, the purpose of this is to increase awareness about the importance of healthy fats in your diet and that not all fats are bad! They are an integral part of a balanced diet and they also taste delicious. To promote this campaign, we have been asked to choose our favourite healthy fat! There were so many to choose from but I decided to choose WALNUTS!

Walnuts are a great source of omega 3. A good portion to eat daily is 30 grams which works out to be approximately 9 nine walnut clusters. They are free from saturated and trans fats which are the ones you try to limit as much as you can (found mostly in processed foods and high fat dairy and meat products. The good fats you want to be consuming are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

As well as the nutritional benefits of walnuts, they also taste amazing and work in sweet dishes, savoury dishes and just eaten on their own too!

Here are some of my previous creations with walnuts!

So when you’re considering what you are going to eat today, just remember that not all fats are bad and are a vital part of a well balanced diet! #walnutappreciationpost

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Check out Chocolate Covered Katie to read more about the healthy fats awareness campaign!


Nutritional Information retrieved from:

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm

http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/frequently-asked-questions/general-nutrition/nuts-and-health

Economics and Food Unite

As an almost Economist (will be official after this semester), I have a keen interest in seeing what professional economists have to say about things. When I found one who encompasses both my passion for food and economics, I was ecstatic! Introducing Tyler Cowen, an American Economist and author of my most recent read ‘An Economist Gets Lunch’.

Cowen’s book serves as a guide for everyday foodies and emphasises the importance of minimising costs but still maximising utility. In English, how to get good food cheap.

I was completely engaged throughout the entire duration of reading this book. I especially enjoyed the chapter on Cowen’s one month shopping experience at an Asian supermarket (absolute goldmines in my eyes). Cowen also has the travel bug (like me) and so he ventures off to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. One of the main comments made by Cowen which has received a fair bit of criticism from external sources:

Unless you are spending a lot of money, Paris is the worst place to eat in all of France

As someone who has ventured to Paris, I agreed that the food was very expensive. However, I stayed in the Latin quarter of Paris and found unique, almost boutique style restaurants which served up traditional French at a very reasonable price. Cowen emphasises that if you are to find good food in cities overpopulated with tourists, you are best to venture to the outskirts. His economic justification for this is that the rents on the more suburban restaurants are cheaper therefore more money can be spent on investing in quality produce. I am in complete agreement with this.

I also especially enjoyed his discussion about methods of eating to help out the environment. One special mention is that he proposes that individuals give up refined sugar! For obvious reasons including that it isn’t exactly healthy but also due to the extensive costs involved in producing it. Markets shift in order to cater for supply and demand. The changing attitudes of individuals have a huge impact on the market as a whole and also contributing to this is the surge in food promotion via social media (particularly the preaching of natural, wholesome foods).In summary, processed foods = costly so try avoid it as much as possible to reap all the benefits. Yay!

So this was just a snippet from the book as I don’t want to give it all away. Cowen has successfully encompassed my two passions and has inspired me for my future travels later this year to delve into the unknown and discover the hidden gems that Europe has to offer. Even though before I choose a restaurant, I will have to perform a full economic analysis in terms of location, menu selection and the ambience before I make a decision, the long run investment will be worth it as I continue my food mission of finding cheap, good quality food.

Just one more memorable quote from Cowen in relation to restaurant dining:

If it sounds bad, it probably tastes especially good

Let’s be honest, majority of us are turned off by weird and wacky sounding dishes. I am becoming more accustomed to the philosophy of ‘not knowing until I try it’ both in the food world and life in general. If anything, Cowen has now inspired me to further explore the unknown and continue on my inspiring food journey.

Thanks Tyler.