Chicken Club Pasta Salad

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Sometimes things “hit me” at random times.   Like in the shower or while driving.   This recipe was born one day while I was driving to work and dreaming of warmer weather.   I made a few notes on my phone (thanks to talk-to-text) and ended up with this great spin-off of a deli classic. It has a great balance of fresh and crunchy mixed with the creamy dressing and avocado.  This are finally starting to warm up a little here in my neck of the woods, and I think this Chicken Club Pasta Salad will be one of the first things you’ll want to make as Spring finally arrives.  ~Kathy

2 c. cellentani (cork screw shaped) pasta, uncooked (whole wheat for lower point option noted in WW info.)

2 c. cooked, diced chicken breast

5 slices center cut bacon, cooked

4 T dill pickles, chopped fine

2 T purple onion, chopped fine

1/3 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered

2 c. chopped napa cabbage

1 avocado, diced

½  c. plus 1 T  light miracle whip

1 T mustard

2 to 3 T 1% milk

1/8 tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

Dash of each of the following:  onion powder; black pepper; and paprika

Cook pasta in salted water, according to package directions.   Drain, rinse and set aside to allow to cool.

Once the noodles are completely cooled, transfer them to a large mixing bowl.  Add chicken, bacon, pickles and onion.  Toss to mix.  Add tomatoes and napa cabbage.  Toss gently to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together miracle whip, mustard, milk and seasonings.  Add more milk if needed.  It should be a slightly thick mixture.  Pour over the pasta mixture and stir to coat.

Add avocado and gently mix to coat, trying not to smash the diced avocado.

Allow to chill for one hour.  Serve alone or with your favorite crackers or toasted bread.

WW Info.:  Makes about 6 cups.  Each serving is 11 Points on the WW Blue Plan, 11 on Purple Plan, and 12 on Green Plan.  For a far smaller point tally, on purple, using whole wheat pasta drops it to just 4 points!

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican street corn (elote) is all the rage.   It’s basically been the epitome of summer cuisine this year. Everywhere I turn, it’s offered. Restaurants, farmers markets, food trucks — you name it. For those of you that have not been introduced to it yet, you have been missing out.  It combines a wild variety of Tex-Mex flavors to transport you to another not-so-far-away land…hopefully one that includes a beach. ☺

Anything that is this popular and all the buzz must be sticking around.  This salad (off the cob) version is equally spectacular. I scribbled down this recipe one day on my lunch break and knew I had to make it soon.  When I mixed this together, even I was surprised how good it was. It has all the flavor you want in traditional street corn plus some tasty twists of my own.  Try it while corn season is HOT!!  ~Kathy

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Salad Ingredients:

  • 6 ears of corn, husks and silks removed; cooked and cut off the cob (about 4.5 cups of corn depending on size of ears)
  • 2 T. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 to 2 T. jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds and ribs removed)
  • 1/4 c. red onion, finely chopped
  • ¾ c. queso fresco, crumbled fine

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c. light miracle whip
  • 1/4 c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt*
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 T. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp. lime zest
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine salad ingredients, except cheese.  Stir in sauce ingredients.  Add cheese, fold together and serve.

WW Info.:  Makes 6 one-cup servings at just 2 points each.

*May use low fat sour cream instead of non-fat Greek yogurt; it’s 3 points per cup with this substitution.

Taco Pasta Salad

I don’t know about you, but I feel like my family eats a ton of spaghetti and lots of tacos, mostly because they are family friendly, tasty, quick and economical. Personally, I get bored with the same-old, same-old for dinner so I try to mix it up when I can. This dish marries two of our favorites together — tacos and pasta! This would be a great “meatless Monday” dinner or as a side dish. We love it served with grilled chicken as our main course too. One of my boys says we should call it “Paco Salad,” mashing “pasta” and “taco” together.   Whatever you want to call it, it’s delish! ~Kathy

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. orecchiette (ear shaped) or medium shell pasta
  • 1 can (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c frozen corn, thawed and drained
  • ½ c. (loosely packed) cilantro
  • 1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ c. red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jar (15.5 oz) salsa (roughly 1 2/3 c) – I used Tostitos Restaurant Style
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 3 T. lime juice
  • 3 T. taco seasoning, dry
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Hass avocado, ripe but slightly firm, diced
  • 2/3 c. cheddar cheese, diced to about 1/4” cubes (a good ww friendly option is Cabot sharp light cheddar 50% reduced fat)*

Instructions: 

  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.  Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside to cool. 
  2. In a large bowl, add the pasta, beans, corn, cilantro, onion, tomatoes and salsa.  Mix gently together. 
  3. In a small bowl whisk olive oil, lime juice, garlic and taco seasoning.  Mix well.  Pour over pasta and mix to coat. 
  4. Gently fold in cheese and avocado just before serving. 

WW Freestyle Info.:  Makes 12 one-cup servings at 7 points each.  You could  also add grilled chicken breast for zero ww points if desired! 

Old Country Store Brussels & Kale Slaw

When I think of salads, I typically think of summer.  This, however isn’t your typical salad.  In fact, it’s more of a slaw… a fall slaw.  I like the sound of that; heck, it almost rhymes.  But not quite.  Anywho, if you’ve ever visited Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for dinner, you may have had their Brussels Sprouts N’ Kale Salad.  If so, this will be very familiar.  I’m not sure what exact ingredients their version has, but I think I hit it pretty close.  Mine has shredded Brussels sprouts, kale, dried cranberries and pecans, just like theirs.  I kicked it up a notch, though, with addition of finely diced apples, red onion, and a maple vinaigrette.  What says Autumn more than apples, pecans, cranberries, and maple?  Nothing, folks.  This is the perfect Autumn/Fall/Holiday Salad/Slaw/Side.   ~Erin

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Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup*
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dry ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, stems cut off and outer leaves removed, then washed
  • 3 c. chopped kale
  • 2 apples, cored & finely chopped
  • 1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (or more if not following WW)
  • 1 oz. pecans, toasted if desired & chopped

Instructions: 

  1. Mix together the first 5 ingredients in a jar with a lid (shake to combine) or a small bowl (whisk to combine).
  2. Shred the Brussels sprouts, preferably using a food processor.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the shredded sprouts with the chopped kale, apple, and onion.
  4. Pour the dressing over top and stir.  I like to add it gradually and stir, so as not to overdress the slaw.
  5. Top with chopped cranberries and pecans.
  6. Chill until ready to serve; toss to redistribute dressing before serving.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This recipe makes 8 1-cup servings at 6 points with regular maple syrup. With sugar free maple syrup, it’s 4 points per 1-cup serving.

Healthier Heavenly Hash (a.k.a. Ambrosia Salad)

Our mom makes this at many holiday meals.  If you are from the South (or the Midwest, as we are) this is considered a side dish.  Let’s be honest though, it’s a dessert that’s socially acceptable to eat along with your meal.  What’s not to like about that?! Whether you choose to enjoy this as a side or as a dessert, you’ll find no judgement here.  It contains fruit, so it makes sense it could be either one, right?! Right. ~Erin

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Ingredients:

  • 1 (6 oz.) container plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits packed in juice, drained
  • 1 (23.5 oz.) jar mandarin slices, packed in juice, drained
  • 8 T. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 ounces (1/4 of a regular sized container) of Fat Free Cool Whip
  • 1 ½ c. mini marshmallows

Instructions: 

  1. Mix Greek yogurt with pineapple tidbits.
  2. Gently stir in mandarin oranges, coconut, Cool Whip and mini marshmallows.
  3. Serve immediately.

Tip: If not serving immediately, set aside marshmallows and stir in just before serving.

WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 7 half cup servings. Each serving is 4 points.

 

Watermelon Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

I had a watermelon salad in a bistro several years ago while on vacation, and I could not believe how much I loved it (I’m normally not the biggest lover of watermelon). In this salad, though, the chilled watermelon and vinaigrette dressing were exactly what I needed on an unusually hot day in the mountains, and the sweetness of the melon is balanced by the saltiness of the pepitas and feta.  And it had such a gourmet feel to it, as it was absolutely gorgeous.  Impress your summertime guests with this wonderful salad I recreated with my very own, easy peasy vinaigrette that has a bright and beautiful honey citrus flavor.  ~Robin

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Ingredients for dressing:
  • ⅛ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ c. lime juice (usually 2 limes)
  • ⅛ c. honey
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
Ingredients for salad:
  • 5 oz. bag of spring mix salad
  • heaping ½ c. chopped red onion
  • 2 oz. fat free feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ c. salted, roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 10 oz. cubed watermelon
  • 1/4 c. minced cilantro (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Chill salad mix, watermelon, and limes before you begin to make this recipe nice and cool upon serving.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine salad mix, chopped red onion, pepitas, feta, and cilantro (if desired).
  4. Gently lay cubed watermelon on top of salad mix.
  5. Whisk dressing once more and drizzle dressing over salad (I start with about a 1/3 and gradually add a little more…if you over-pour you can be left with a pool of dressing in the bottom. You’ll typically only need about half the dressing or a little less). Points are figured for a little over half the dressing to be on the safe side.
  6. Then gently toss together to coat salad and mix in watermelon.
  7. Serve immediately.

WW Freestyle Info.: Serves 4 and is 4 points per heaping cup.

Classic Potato and Egg Salad

Friends, it’s summer sandwich season and I don’t know about you, but I do get tired of that side of potato chips.  I also get a little tired of thinking about the ridiculous number of calories I can ingest while eating those chips (#noselfcontrol).   This Classic Potato & Egg Salad is a lower calorie option than those chips. It’s also super easy to make, and it will go great with all of your summer sandwiches and barbeques.   ~Tracy

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Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ lbs. small red or golden new potatoes, boiled until fork tender and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4 large eggs, hard boiled and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • ¼ cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1/3 c. finely chopped spicy dill pickle (I used Great Value Spicy Dill Pickle Spears)
  • 3 T. pickle juice from the jar
  • ½ c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 3 T. light Miracle Whip
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ celery salt
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper

Instructions: 

  1. In mixing bowl, combine chopped potatoes, eggs, pickles, and onion.
  2. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine pickle juice, yogurt, mustard, Miracle Whip, and all spices.
  3. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the egg and potatoes.
  4. Refrigerate several hours before serving and serve cold.
  5. Makes approximately 5 cups.

WW Freestyle Info.: A half cup of potato salad is 3 points.

Honey Lime Slaw

Summertime is a time to up your sandwich game! Let’s face it…no one wants to stand over a hot kitchen stovetop when it’s 100 degrees (especially in our neck of the woods, where we also have 10,000% humidity). But, I also must confess that I’m not much of a plain sandwich eater. Meat and cheese between two slices of bread is a little too school lunch-ish for me. I created this Honey-Lime Slaw in an effort to jazz up a good grilled chicken sandwich, and as a way to add some moisture (without adding mayo calories) and some crunch with something other than your standard lettuce and pickle. This slaw has a much more mild flavor than a traditional coleslaw and is a great sandwich addition. For my fish loving friends, my husband says he thinks this would be a great topping for some types of fish. Or, make just the dressing portion and use the dressing as a fresh salad dressing! ~Tracy

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Ingredients:
  • 1 package coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
  • ¼ c. fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 medium sized limes)
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c. c. canola oil

Instructions: 

  1. Combine lime juice, honey, mustard, garlic, and spices.
  2. Mix well with whisk until all are well combined.
  3. Add olive oil and canola oil and whisk again until the oils and other ingredients are completely incorporated.
  4. Pour mixture over coleslaw mix and stir to coat all of the cabbage mixture.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator for at least a half hour to allow flavors to incorporate into the slaw.
  6. Stir again before serving.

WW Freestyle Info.: 1/3 c. serving = 3 points (Makes approx. 12 serving at this serving size.) ¼ c. serving = 2 points (Makes approx. 16 servings at this serving size.)

Curry Chicken Salad

I’ll be honest. It never would have occurred to me to make a chicken salad with curry. Then a couple of years ago the Sprouts near my office had a curry chicken salad when I was in for lunch.  The lovely golden color intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try. It was a surprisingly excellent choice, but theirs needed a little more heat, so I decided to give making my own recipe a go.  The first time I made it my middle schooler tried it with a lot of skepticism  — and loved it!

The celery and red bell pepper are both (as veggies go) a tiny bit sweet and crunchy, and they blend nicely with the warm flavors of the curry and turmeric.  Throw in cayenne pepper, or don’t depending on your spice preference, and you’ve got this beautiful curry chicken salad to share — or keep all to yourself.

This can be served on its own, but my favorite way to serve it is on a Hawaiian sweet roll as a sandwich.  It’s good on Flat Out Bread too for a healthier option, or, hey, my pre-schooler insists upon eating his chicken salads on crackers! My philosophy there as long as this picky kid is eating? “You do you, buddy!”   ~Robin

Ingredients:
  • 2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken breast (about 7.5 oz.)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c. light mayo
  • ⅓ c. diced red bell pepper
  • ⅓ c. diced celery
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
  • ⅛ – ¼ of cayenne pepper, optional (depending on spice preference)

Instructions: 

  1. Put 2 eggs on to boil (be sure to set a timer so you don’t forget about them as you prep other items).
  2. Wash, then dice the bell pepper and celery; set aside.
  3. Shred 2 cups of rotisserie chicken breast into a medium sized bowl.
  4. Add light mayo to chicken and mix thoroughly.
  5. Once eggs are boiled, peeled, and cooled, chop and add them to the mixture.
  6. Add curry and turmeric.
  7. Add cayenne pepper if you wish.
  8. Stir spices in well.
  9. Gently mix in celery and bell pepper

WW Freestyle Info: This recipe makes about four filling half-cup servings at 3 points each. Point total does not include bread — or crackers.

Limeade Fruit Salad

I’m a huge fan of fruit salad, but so many have a ton of added ingredients that crank up the calories.  Sometimes simple is best, and the kick of lime makes this beautiful dish a refreshing sweet/tart treat fit for any meal, whether served at your table or, better yet, a picnic blanket.  ~Robin

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Ingredients:
  • 12 oz. strawberries, chopped (this was a whole 16 oz. package weighed after I removed stems and chopped them)
  • 10 oz. pineapple, chopped (about half a pineapple)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped (Granny Smith is the only apple tart enough, and there’s a nice crispness that works well for varied texture here too.)
  • 5 oz. seedless black grapes (about 25 grapes), halved
  • 1/8 c. sugar
  • 3 limes’ juice (about 6 T.)

Instructions: 

  1. Wash and chop all fruit; combine.
  2. Add sugar, then add the juice of 2 limes, stir well, and taste. Then add a 3rd lime’s juice if you like it more tart.
  3. Chill at least 30 minutes for the sweet and tart flavors to mix well.
  4. Can be chilled overnight as well if you want to make it ahead.

WW Freestyle Info.: 1 cup = 1 point; 1.5 cups = 2 points; 2 cups = 3 points (for green, purple, and blue plans)