Tag Archives: healthy

Healthy and Easy Sonoma Chicken Salad

6 Mar

It’s no secret I’ve struggled with cooking chicken. I enjoy eating chicken, but when it comes to preparing it, I’m often at a loss. I chalk it up to the fact that I didn’t eat meat for 16 years and grew so comfortable cooking as a vegetarian that once I saw the light (or started eating meat again) I was already stuck in my ways. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t try. And try I do.

Last night was a small milestone. It seems insignificant, but involved cooking chicken in a new way that I’ve never tried before. I was making a Sonoma chicken salad and I decided to boil the meat. It turned out to be as easy as can be and the recipe was delicious. Here you go:


Catherine’s Sonoma Chicken Salad:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3.5 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of low fat mayo
  • 1 cup of low fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 cups of finely diced celery
  • 1.5 cups of quartered grapes
  • 1 cup of diced apples
  • 1 cup of diced toasted pecans
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring the water and broth to a rolling boil. 
  2. Cut the chicken breasts in half (will cook easier)
  3. Put in chicken breasts and bring to a simmer
  4. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through)
  5. Put chicken into an ice bath (to cool off) and begin to shred into bite-size piece


  1. Mix the mayo, yogurt and mustard in a bowl
  2. Mix in grapes, apples, celery, pecans and shredded chicken
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste


Serve over a crisp salad, or on a pretzel roll. Enjoy!


Easy, dreamy dinners

12 May

Dream Dinners mis en place

This foodie loves to cook. Seriously. I love nothing more than going to the store (preferably Harvest Time in Lincoln Square or Gene’s Sausage Shop), picking up the ingredients for a unique risotto or another time-intensive dish, and making a day out of preparing a meal for friends and family. Even if I was preparing dinner for me and my husband on a Wednesday night, I always enjoyed and took pride in pulling out the stops.

Then you add a newborn to the mix and time isn’t quite what it used to be, or rather, time isn’t as available as it used to be. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve already had a couple of dinner parties since they baby’s arrival, but the meals during the week are the ones that are trickiest since I’m all alone while my husband’s back at work.

A good friend told me about Dream Dinners and my initial reaction was: “no thanks!” Essentially, Dream Dinners is a service where you select meals for the month then you head over to their store front (on Belmont) to assemble them, bring them home, pop them into the freezer and then thaw and prepare them when you’re ready to eat them. To me, it sounded like it took all of the fun out of cooking. But then as I thought more about it, it made more sense, so we decided to try it out.

It turns out, Dream Dinners has been absolutely amazing. It gives me the opportunity to still “cook” dinner from home, but it takes out all the prep-work and mess. And I must say that the dishes are really delicious. With the exception of a few (I won’t get their shrimp options anymore), they’re all very good and healthy.

So when you arrive at the Dream Dinners shop on Belmont, you get the list of the meals you’ve selected then it’s time to get to work. You arrive at a station and everything is set up for  you. It’s a pre-set mis en place and you can plow through preparing 12 meals in 30 minutes. All the meals are in gallon zip lock bags with the instructions, so when you take them out for thawing, it’s already together and you don’t have to go searching for components/ingredients.

All in all, in an ideal world, I’d be making meals from scratch seven days a week. But let’s get real. There’s not enough time in the day, even without a baby. I’ve found Dream Dinners to be a huge help (and of course I’m always adding my own spices and spin to their meals)- plus, there are no preservatives- everything is very fresh (because you made it) so I’m way happier with these than frozen options (as if). I know there are other concepts out there like Dream Dinners, but I think this one is the best I’ve come across.

This is a completely unsolicited review and my endorsement of Dream Dinners is purely from a paying customer perspective.