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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with avocado

27Jul 12

Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar SaladI’ll confess that being a food lover and staying consistently slim have occasionally been a hard combination for me to successfully achieve. I’m always looking for ways to enjoy a rich and varied diet whilst trying to keep to, or get back to, my ideal weight. There have been some seasons where I’ve relied quite heavily on the delights of chicken caesar salad as a stock lunch because it’s lightish, healthyish and very, very tasty.

It makes a good staple during these times with plenty of crunchy romaine lettuce, which I sometimes mix with spinach leaves for extra iron. And when I need to, I just go easy on the dressing, or swap it for a lower calorie version, and choose a leaner bacon. You can also try this lamb’s lettuce salad with serrano ham and apricots for a light and healthy lunch.

Chicken Caesar salad was said to have been invented in a moment of kitchen sparseness, on a very busy day in his restaurant when lack of supplies got Caesar Cardini’s creativity flowing – making the best of what was left in the cupboards. Something I love to do myself.

Chicken Caesar Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Said to have been invented in a moment of kitchen sparseness, on a very busy day in his restaurant when lack of supplies got Caesar Cardini’s creativity flowing...
Ingredients
  • 5 skinless chicken breasts
  • A couple of pinches of mixed dried Italian herbs
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 195g streaky smokey bacon
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped in half
  • 3 slices of thick white or brown bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Romaine or Cos lettuce heads, washed and thickly chopped into ribbons
  • 2 large ripe avocado pears, stones and skin removed, and sliced
  • 8 tbsp ready to use Caesar salad dressing
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Turn the grill on to high. Make a slash in the chicken breasts, season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the mixed herbs. Place under the preheated grill for around 15 minutes, or until cooked throughout. After 5 minutes of grilling, add the bacon slices, sprinkle over with the cumin seeds and cook until crispy.
  2. Slice the chicken diagonally across the width and chop up the bacon. Wrap them in foil and place to one side.
  3. Toast the bread under the grill; rub well with the garlic, adding a little minced garlic to the top if you like a bit of extra bite. Drizzle over the olive oil and either leave whole or chop or tear the bread into rough croutons.
  4. Divide the lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, bacon and chicken across 4 shallow serving bowls and top with the croutons, some dressing and the fresh basil. Season again with salt and pepper if you wish.

 

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11May 12

Chicken and Avocado Baguette with Pesto Mayonnaise

Chicken and Avocado BaguetteHere’s a delicious sandwich to enjoy at home or out on a picnicChicken and avocado baguette with pesto mayonnaise makes for a simple lunch bursting with flavour.  Chicken is full of protein and is relatively low in fat.  If you are looking for an overall low-fat option, substitute your mayonnaise for a low-calorie version and either leave out the olive oil altogether, or use very little.

Avocado is said to be one of the human super foods.  It contains many different types of nutrients, including potassium, fibre, folic acid, B-vitamins and vitamins E, C and K, amongst other things.  There are more than 80 varieties of avocado, and it is also known as the alligator pear because of the texture of the variety called Haas, which can be used to make baked avocados.  Some avocados have a really smooth skin though, like the Florida variety.

It has been scientifically proven that the antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene are more effectively absorbed with the help of the monounsaturated fat that is abundant in the avocado.

Ingredients:

  • White baguette
  • 2 chicken breasts (from a previously roasted chicken), sliced through the middle lengthwise
  • 1 avocado, skin and stone removed, and cut into 1 cm slices
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 tsp pesto
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • A few fresh basil leaves

Steps:

  1. Cut the baguette into quarters and slit open with a sharp knife.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise with the pesto in a bowl.
  3. Open up the baguette pieces and drizzle a little olive oil over both inner sides.
  4. Spread the pesto mayonnaise generously onto both inner sides of the baguette.
  5. Fill with the sliced chicken breasts and top with the avocado, finishing off with a twist of black pepper and a few basil leaves.
  6. Enjoy your baguettes straight away or wrap them in tin foil and take them with you on a picnic.  Don’t forget to keep them in a cool bag whilst you’re travelling or walking before you sit down to eat them.

Duration: 10 minutes to prepare. No cooking time.

Recipe for: 4

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03May 12

Warm Chicken Salad with Garlic and Tomato Bread

Warm Chicken Salad with Garlic & Tomato BreadThis recipe assumes that you have already roasted your chicken (try this spiced roast chicken recipe) and are ready to make up the salad, and the garlic & tomato bread. Sometimes, if I’m pushed for time, I cook the tomato and garlic mixture in the microwave for a few minutes – this is one of the very few times you’ll ever hear a microwave go ping in my house, in fact!

We eat warm chicken salad with garlic & tomato bread at home straight after roasting the chicken: removing the breasts and the wings to use, then storing the legs in the fridge to eat the next day, and the carcass to make a stock.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, roasted, skin removed and sliced into thick diagonal strips
  • 2 chicken wings, roasted with skin left on
  • ½ an iceberg lettuce, washed and cut into large or fine shreds
  • 1 avocado pear
  • 1 wild cucumber or ½ standard cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar to dress
  • 1 tbsp green pesto
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 wholemeal baguette
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of cumin powder
  • A very generous slug of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Steps:

  1. Towards the end of your chicken roasting and resting time, make the garlic and tomato bread.  Cut the tomatoes into small cubes and soften them on a medium heat in a saucepan, along with a little oil, the garlic, the fresh and ground cumin and some salt and pepper to season.  (If I do this stage in the microwave, I don’t add any of the olive oil until the very end when the mixture is soft and cooked.  The benefits of adding the oil at the end are significant; you don’t degrade the oil so it remains vibrantly full of nutrients.)  Softening the tomatoes on the hob will take between 5-10 minutes.  Once soft, mash them with a fork, slug and stir in a good amount of olive oil and leave in the pan to rest.
  2. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and grill it or pop it in the toaster until crisp.
  3. Stir the pesto and mayonnaise together in a bowl.
  4. When ready to serve, arrange the chicken, the lettuce and cucumber on plates.  Add the dry, toasted baguette to the plate and spoon over with the tomato and oil mixture, being very generous with how much you add.  Add a dollop of your pesto mayonnaise to the side of the plate, and drizzle the entire dish with a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Duration: 20 minutes to prepare (with ready-cooked chicken)

Recipe for: 2 people

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04Apr 12

Chicken Salad with Roast Tomatoes, Almonds and Balsamic Dressing

 

Chicken Salad

This is a really tasty and healthy way to use up chicken leg meat the day after you’ve eaten a spiced roast chicken.  Chicken and avocado are always a good combination, and the softness and subtlety of the lamb’s lettuce contrasts beautifully with the peppery bite of the rocket.  Add the sweetness and spice of my roasted cherry tomatoes, along with good balsamic vinegar and a good extra virgin olive oil, and you’ll round off the dish with extra intensity and flavour.

Ingredients:

  • The meat of 2 chicken legs (from a previously roasted chicken), skin removed and pieces torn from the bones
  • 1 bag of pre-washed and ready-to-eat lamb’s lettuce mixed with rocket
  • 1 avocado, skin and stone removed, halved, then cut into thin wedges lengthwise
  • Handful of blanched whole almonds
  • 8 roasted and cooled sliced cherry tomatoes, or uncooked cherry tomatoes, each sliced into 3 rounds.  Needs oil, salt, and cumin seeds
  • A generous drizzle of good viscous balsamic vinegar
  • A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Mayonnaise to serve

Steps:

  1. If you are going to oven roast the tomatoes (which does make them very tasty), preheat the oven to 200ºC, slice the tomatoes and place them in a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil, dusted with salt and sprinkled with cumin.  Roast them for 10 minutes, and remove from the tray to a plate for cooling.
  2. Divide the lamb’s lettuce and rocket leaves onto 2 plates, spreading them out across the whole of each plate.
  3. Arrange the torn chicken, avocado, and cherry tomatoes on top of the salad leaves.
  4. Sprinkle over the almonds, then drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil in generous spirals across the whole plate.
  5. Season with a little salt and pepper and serve with a pretty bowl of mayonnaise laid on the table.

Duration: 20 minutes preparation time.  15 minutes cooking and cooling time if you are going to roast the cherry tomatoes.

Recipe for: A light lunch or supper for 2 people

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