Poultry

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

How many posts have I started with, “I’m so excited to share this with you!”? I think that’s okay though because I only ever share recipes here that I think you NEED in your life so it makes sense for me to always be excited! These Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwiches have me really excited for several reasons, but mostly because the chicken salad is just damn delicious! Now, as many of you know, I am mayonnaise obsessed. At least half of you are probably cringing right now (I know Matt is!), but I’ve just always been hooked. Mayonnaise and healthy don’t exactly go together so I challenged myself to make a mayo-free chicken salad that wouldn’t make me miss the mayo at all. Well, as mayo-free as possible – I did throw in just one little tablespoon of mayo (which is less than a teaspoon per serving). Sorry, I can’t help it!

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was completely prepared to hate this chicken salad. I thought with subbing in plain Greek yogurt that would be all I would taste and that it would be okay, but not a solid substitute for the classic. I was so wrong and I’m so excited about it! I didn’t miss all the mayo one bit! The apple cider vinegar, Dijon, parsley and scallions give this chicken salad so much flavor and the crunch from the apple and the almonds keeps it from being anything but boring.

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

Another reason this chicken salad has so much flavor packed in is that I used grilled chicken. I love grilling chicken in the summertime and this sandwich is the perfect reason to throw a few extra chicken breasts on your grill. Matt hates chicken salad because he doesn’t like mayo and even he was chowing down on these!

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chicken salad tastes great on its own or on a green salad, but my favorite way to eat it is as these Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwiches. I love using locally baked sourdough bread as a healthier option. I am allergic to oats and most multigrain breads have rolled oats, oat flour or oat fiber in them. Although sourdough is similar to white bread in terms of calories and carbs, it is usually made with no sweeteners or oils, doesn’t require extra preservatives and is higher in protein. A lot of people also find it much easier to digest due to the lactic acid present as a result of the baking process. I also love how it’s soft and chewy with a bit of a tanginess to it. It holds up really well to this chicken salad and tastes so good with a little bit of fresh arugula for some added green veggies. I hope you enjoy this one! If you try a recipe, don’t forget to let me know how it was in the comments – I love hearing from you all!

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the chicken salad
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, grilled, about 2.5 cups cooked
  • ½ cup diced apple
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions
  • ⅓ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
for the sandwich
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 cup arugula
  • Carrot and red pepper slices for serving, optional
Directions
for the chicken salad
  1. Dice the chicken. Toss in a medium mixing bowl with the diced apple, chopped almonds and sliced scallions. Add the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir well to combine.
for the sandwich
  1. Put the sourdough bread on 4 plates or in 4 meal prep containers. Divide the arugula between the 4 slices of bread. Top with the chicken salad, dividing between the 4 slices of arugula topped bread. Add carrot and red pepper slices to container, if using.

 

Chicken Caesar Salad Meatballs

Chicken Caesar Salad Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I don’t remember how I stumbled across this recipe, but I am so glad I did. When I first saw it I knew I needed to make it immediately. The whole concept of Chicken Caesar Salad Meatballs is genius! Basically the crunchy chicken meatballs take the place of both the croutons and the protein in this Caesar salad. What?! I know, I’m boggling your mind right now.

Chicken Caesar Salad Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chicken meatballs are rolled in crushed croutons before they are baked so they are crispy and full of crouton-y goodness. These are anything but ordinary chicken meatballs. In addition to the crispy exterior, the meatballs are loaded with all the makings of a delicious Caesar salad. Instead of breadcrumbs we use more crushed croutons and instead of egg or oil we use Caesar dressing. There’s also Parmesan and scallions involved.

Chicken Caesar Salad Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you can’t find ground chicken you can use ground turkey instead. I’ve made it both ways numerous times and it’s always delicious. If you want to talk about a tried and true recipe, this is it. I’ve been making this dish regularly since 2009; that’s almost 10 years of Chicken Caesar Salad Meatball perfection! I first made it for my roommates and we all devoured it. After college, it was immediately put on Matt’s and my regular dinner rotation and has stayed that way ever since. I especially love this salad when the weather is warm like this and now that we have a big toaster oven I just make them in there instead of heating up the whole kitchen with the oven.

Chicken Caesar Salad Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’re having leftovers you can eat them cold, but I always heat the meatballs a little before putting them on top of the salad so you get a nice mix of the warm crunchy meatballs and the cold Caesar salad. Since you are using crouton crumbs both in the meatball and on the outside tasty croutons are key for this recipe. I love the Trader Joe’s cheese and garlic croutons. They are so addictive! When I crush the croutons I like to keep a few bigger chunks since they add to the texture of the crispy outside. You might have noticed from the photos, but the Caesar dressing I usually use isn’t the thick and creamy one you normally see, although you can certainly use that. These were made with the Trader Joe’s Caesar dressing, which is a more oil-based Caesar dressing. Either way, I know they will be delicious!

Chicken Caesar Salad Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chicken Caesar Salad Meatballs
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the chicken caesar meatballs
  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • 1⅓ cup crushed croutons, divided
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons caesar dressing
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
for the salad
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Caesar dressing
  • Additional fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
for the chicken caesar meatballs
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray. Set aside. Place 1 cup of the crushed croutons in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, the remaining ⅓ cup of the crushed croutons, scallions, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper, being sure not to overmix.
  3. Divide the meat mixture into 4 sections. Use each section to roll out 3 chicken meatballs. Roll each meatball in the bowl of crushed croutons before placing on the baking sheet. Repeat until you have 12 chicken meatballs. They are big!
  4. Bake the chicken meatballs for 15 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and bake for another 15 minutes.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the caesar salad. Cut and wash the lettuce then toss with the caesar dressing and extra parmesan cheese. I usually plan on 4 cups of romaine lettuce per person. The amount of dressing and additional Parmesan is up to you!
  6. When the chicken meatballs are cooked, let them cool for 5-7 minutes before serving on top of the caesar salad.

Recipe adapted from blog Canaderican, which no longer exists.

Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Meal Prep Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I am so excited to share this healthy meal prep lunch with you! It is also great as dinner, but Matt and I love having these Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for make-ahead lunches. Since I usually cook dinner the last thing I want to do is make lunch a big production. Quick and easy are key lunch qualities. I also don’t like having the same salad or sandwich for weeks on end and bonus points if the meal is hot! Something about a hot meal at lunch makes me look forward to it so much more. Anyone else? It’s okay, I’m probably the only weird one.

Meal Prep Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although you can certainly use store-bought barbecue sauce to make this even easier, I am obsessed with the quick and tasty barbecue sauce I came up with for these stuffed sweet potatoes. I am always looking for ways to make lunch healthier so I figured a homemade barbecue sauce would be a great way to control the sugar, sodium and preservatives going into this dish.

Meal Prep Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

To make the homemade barbecue sauce, everything is brought to a boil then simmered for fifteen minutes. That’s it! The sweetness comes from molasses and maple syrup so there is no refined sugar involved. Wanting to eliminate refined sugar and reduce sodium is also why I made the bulk of the sauce with tomato paste and water instead of ketchup. Don’t worry, between the added Worcestershire and other seasonings I promise you would never know it isn’t store-bought barbecue sauce. In fact it’s so easy and delicious you will definitely find yourself seeking out recipes that use barbecue sauce just so you can eat some more.

Meal Prep Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

The sweet and tangy barbecue sauce gets tossed in with the shredded chicken before being stuffed into tender roasted sweet potatoes. A little sprinkling of mozzarella cheese and some chopped red onion and you have arrived at lunch perfection. These Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are very filling and keep me stuffed until dinnertime, pun definitely intended. I cannot wait for you to try this recipe, especially the healthy homemade barbecue sauce!

Meal Prep Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

On a side note, I love these new meal prep containers I got on Amazon. They are really secure – Matt commutes to work on public transportation and brings his lunch to work in his bag so they get tossed around and have never spilled. They are a great size for lunches or make-ahead dinners and they are dishwasher safe, which is key in my house. They also are freezer-safe and you can’t see this because I didn’t post a picture of the lid, but they have a little microwave vent at the top. Also, they look awesome for my photos! You can buy them here.

Meal Prep Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the barbecue sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste, about 6 ounces
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons molasses
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
for the chicken & sweet potatoes
  • 4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried well
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 4 tablespoons shredded cheddar or mozzarella
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • Chopped parsley for garnish, optional
Directions
for the barbecue sauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
for the chicken & sweet potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Pierce the sweet potatoes 5-6 times each with a fork. Lightly rub the sweet potatoes with oil (I use olive oil and a paper towel) then bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly before carefully cutting a slit in the top of the potatoes.
  3. Toss the shredded chicken in the small saucepan with the barbecue sauce to coat. Divide the sauced chicken between the four potatoes and stuff in the center. Top each potato with 1 tablespoon of the shredded cheese and some of the red onion and parsley, if using. I cook these for make-ahead meals so the cheese gets melted when I microwave them, but if you are making and eating right away you could toss them under the broiler for a minute or 2 to melt the mozzarella.
Notes
I leave my shredded chicken pretty chunky instead of shredding super fine. It’s less time consuming and I like having larger chunks of chicken so it doesn’t taste like all sauce.

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Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Sausage in Vodka Sauce

Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Sausage in Vodka Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Monday! This week I’m kicking it off with an easy and healthy dinner recipe – zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) and chicken sausage in vodka sauce! This was the very first recipe I made with my KitchenAid spiralizer attachment. Currently, this is the most used attachment I have for my mixer. I love noodling vegetables! Firstly, because this thing cranks out the veggie noodles so fast. Secondly, something about the noodle shape makes me want to eat all the veggies. Probably because I have a noodle obsession.

Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Sausage in Vodka Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve made curly-q potatoes, beet noodles, sweet potato noodles and even apple curly-q’s, but zucchini noodles are the ones I go back to time and time again. The best part of this veggie noodle craze is that even if you don’t have a spiralizer I’ve seen prepared spiralized veggies in every grocery store I’ve been in, from Whole Foods to Market Basket to Stop & Shop. So convenient! However, as with most prepared foods, they are pricier than buying the veggies whole and preparing them yourself so I would highly recommend getting a spiralizer, whether it’s a hand held one or the KitchenAid attachment.

Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Sausage in Vodka Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

This dish is a great weeknight meal especially because it is made all in one pan. Check out this handy how-to graphic I made!

Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Sausage in Vodka Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

First, the zoodles get sautéed with some seasoning. It only takes a few minutes because they’re so thin and noodly. After you take the zucchini noodles out, you sauté some sliced chicken sausage, add the vodka sauce to warm it up, toss with the zucchini noodles and serve. Done! After sprinkling with Parmesan, of course.

Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Sausage in Vodka Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I promise that even the least experienced cook out there can nail this. I love cooking, but most weeknights I want dinner to be done as quickly as possible so Matt and I can have the rest of the night to get stuff done and relax. This meal is one of our go-to dinner recipes for a reason! Enjoy!

Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Sausage in Vodka Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Sausage in Vodka Sauce
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 medium zucchinis, ends removed
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 chicken sausages (I use Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage)
  • ¾ - 1 cup vodka sauce or preferred marinara sauce, depending on how saucy you like it
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
Directions
  1. Wash and dry the zucchinis then spiralize them using your desired method. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini noodles and season with the garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté the zoodles until cooked through, but still al dente, about 5 minutes. Remove the zoodles from the pan.
  2. Drain and wipe any liquid from the pan then return it to medium heat with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Slice the chicken sausages and add to the pan. Cook until lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the vodka sauce. Stir and let warm then add the zucchini noodles. Toss to coat then divide between two bowls. Top with the Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Notes
Zucchinis retain a lot of water so if you have leftovers they will most likely be watery when you reheat them. These are best eaten right after being prepared.

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have huge news to share with you today. Huge! Among my overflowing collection of cookbooks, this chicken cordon bleu recipe from Cook This, Not That! is my absolute favorite. There may certainly be recipes I have that I crave more or that are more awe-inducing (cue my large dessert cookbook category), but when you compare those to a delicious, healthy, looks-fancy-but-only-took-me-30-minutes dinner? Game over, chicken cordon bleu for the win.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Gooey melted cheese, savory ham, moist chicken, crunchy breadcrumb coating, and creamy honey mustard sauce all work together to create weeknight meal perfection.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you make this dish your family and friends will think, “Wow, such a fancy meal! Such technique! He/she really pulled out all the stops for me!” When what you actually did was secretly quite simple.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

First, you pounded out the boneless skinless chicken breasts until they were about ¼ inch thick. Think about that aggravating e-mail you got at work or that jerk that cut you off right before the stoplight and whack away with your meat mallet! If you want to save a little bit of time this step could be done the night before. Then layer two slices of ham and one slice of Swiss cheese on the cutlet.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Completely roll up the chicken from the short end. It’s okay if some cheese or ham is poking out. Then dredge the whole rolled chicken in flour, then beaten egg, then panko bread crumbs. This part sounds bizarre and complicated, but just make sure you hold the chicken roll tight and you’ll be just fine. Bake the breaded chicken roll for 18 minutes and you’re done!

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Well as soon as you smother it in easy homemade honey mustard sauce… jeez Louise, pass me a fork!

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the chicken cordon bleu
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 thin slices deli ham
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
for the honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Directions
for the chicken cordon bleu
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside. Place the flour, egg and panko each in their own bowl and set aside.
  2. Place 1 chicken breast on a cutting board and cover the chicken with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken until ¼” thick with a meat mallet or heavy skillet. Repeat for the remaining 3 chicken breasts.
  3. Layer 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese on each chicken cutlet. Working one at a time, carefully roll up the cutlet from short end to short end. It’s okay if some of the ham and cheese is sticking out. Holding on tight to the rolled up cutlet, dip it in the flour bowl until completely coated, making sure to get the ends as well. Then dip in the egg mixture to completely coat, make sure the excess egg drips off. Finally, completely coat the rolled chicken in the panko bowl. I usually use my other hand to help coat and press the panko onto the chicken. Place the breaded chicken seam side down on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the cutlets.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and the breading is golden. Serve hot with the honey mustard sauce.
for the honey mustard
  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, lemon juice and dijon mustard then adjust according to personal taste.
Notes
If you want the bottom of your chicken cordon bleu to be crispy as well, you can spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray then place on top of the baking sheet. I normally don’t do this, but I thought I would mention it.

Recipe slightly adapted from Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals.