BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.On the beautiful Central Coast of California, we have heat waves in the fall. While everyone else is celebrating Autumn with turning leaves and pumpkin spice everything, we are having beach weather! I never want to turn on my oven on these hot days, so I want to share one of my favorite salad recipes with you. This has been on our family’s dinner menu rotation for years and it never fails to please. I serve it with some bread and butter and it makes for the perfect dinner on a hot Indian Summer day!  I have two ways to make this salad easier at dinnertime. 1. Use a rotisserie chicken 2. Wash and prep all of the ingredients early in the day and pop them in the fridge. I try and get it done during June’s nap time and it makes dinnertime a breeze!  The black beans and chicken give you lots of protein and make this a very hearty, filling salad. S&W Beans have so many different varieties of beans to add to your salads! They have all organic, 50% less sodium, and chili style which have onion and spices included. I have tried buying off-brand beans and have been so disappointed by them. There’s nothing like opening up a can of beans, pouring them into the strainer to rinse, and having them fall apart under the water. It feels like such a rip off! With S&W, there is none of that business. Their beans look great AND taste great! They’ve been doing this for over 120 years, so I guess you could say that they’ve got it down to a science. Here is the recipe, below. Scroll to the bottom of the post if you’d like an S&W Beans coupon!

BBQ Chicken Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • tortilla chips, crushed
  • Ranch dressing
Instructions
  1. Stir cubed chicken in with the BBQ sauce until coated, set aside.
  2. Toss together the lettuce, cilantro, green onions, corn, beans, and chopped veggies.
  3. Top with chicken, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips. Drizzle ranch dressing over salad and enjoy!

Now through 12/31/2017 S&W Beans is offering $1 off 2 cans of S&W Beans. Get (and print) your coupon from the S&W Beans website here: S&W Beans Coupon

Start Your Year Refreshed with Healthy Snacks at Albertsons

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #StartYourYearRefreshed #CollectiveBias

It’s the New Year! Can you believe it? Don’t you just love a fresh start? It makes me feel like I can conquer my loftiest goals!!

After the holidays have died down, the kids go back to school, and it’s time to get back into a routine. For me, I need to meal plan. Otherwise we end up eating out way too much! I have to plan down to the snacks I have on hand because my girls come home from school absolutely starving.

After school today, I was cutting apples while the girls ate snack number one. Lola asked, “Mommy, why are you cutting apples? We already have yogurt!” I responded, “Because I know the minute you are done with your yogurt, you’ll still be hungry. When you ask me for another snack, the apples will be ready for you.” Sure enough, Lola giggled as she threw away her yogurt cup and grabbed her plate of apples!

Albertsons makes having healthy snacks on hand so incredibly easy for you! Have you ever seen their fresh sliced fruit packs? They’re in the produce section near the deli.

They have many different combinations ready to grab and go. Right now, Albertsons has a promotion where if you buy $15 worth of participating items, you get $4 off your Fresh Cut Fruit via Catalina.

That means when you check out, you will receive a coupon/credit for your next purchase of Fresh Cut Fruit! I let the girls each pick out a bowl for our fruit salad.[Continue Reading…]

Back to School With Ready Pac Foods

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Ready Pac Foods. As always, all opinions are 100% mine. Thank you for supporting Kara in the Kitchen! 

Back to school is in full swing! We have been back for two and a half weeks; I am jealous of those of you whose schools started after Labor Day weekend like normal people! Gone are the lazy days of summer. Schedules and alarm clocks are back with a vengeance!Ready Pac - karainthekitchen.comI am always looking for ways to keep our family eating healthy. Between packing lunches, driving the girls to and from school (they go at different times in the morning), volunteering, and trying to run a household…it gets crazy. Ready Pac Foods has you covered with easy, healthy, on-the-go food options. I was so excited when Ready Pac asked if I wanted to work with them because I buy their Salad Kits and Bistro Salads all the time! Hello Caesar Salad with dinner :) My favorite is the Apple Bleu Pecan Salad below. It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth, and the pecans are pretty much candy on top of your salad. I feel good about basically eating candy for lunch! Ready Pac - Kara in the KitchenMy girls absolutely LOVE the Ready Snax® (what they are holding in the tent below)! The hummus was a hit with both of them. Do other kids like hummus or is it just mine? The fruit cups were also favorites. One had pineapple and grapes, the other strawberries and blueberries. Perfect lunch and after school snacks!Ready Pac - karainthekitchen.com-2The Ready Pac game is strong in Ada’s lunch:Ready Pac - Kara in the KitchenHere’s my Chicken Caesar Salad for lunch in the car one day! Classy right? Of course I’ve got my water and Dr. Pepper too :) It was the girls’ early release day, I’d gone on a hike, then had to jump in the car to get a parking spot on the right side of the street. You know, so that the baby could stay asleep in the car and I didn’t have to take her out, cross the street, and risk her waking up. Important things, people! Having a healthy lunch option to grab and eat on-the-go is awesome for this nursing mama. Hangry Kara is somebody that nobody wants to be around, so I like having convenient things like this in my fridge!Ready Pac - Kara in the KitchenFind out where you can buy Ready Pac foods here!

Now for the exciting stuff! Ready Pac has not one, but TWO giveaways for you!! Below is the $150 Visa Gift Card giveaway for my readers only! So that means your chances of winning are really good!

Ready Pac Foods Giveaway!

The next giveaway is where you can enter for the chance to win up to $3,000 in prizes through September 18th. Enter here! Good luck :)

New Ragú TraDish Mini Personal Lasagnas

As part of ModernMom Insiders, I was sent a promotional item to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% mine and this recipe is my original twist on a classic.

Have you ever made homemade lasagna before? The first time I did, I was surprised at how hard it was to keep the lasagna noodles from tearing once they were cooked. It was a long process that was totally worth it in the end, but I don’t have that kind of time on a daily basis.

Today, I’m sharing my twist on a classic lasagna recipe. It’s ready in 30 minutes and your kids will love helping you assemble the personal lasagnas!

I used Ragú®’s Old World Style® Traditional Sauce, cheese raviolis, and mozzarella cheese. So easy!

Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes, making it its richest, thickest recipe versus their previous OWS formula.

Ada & Lola were so excited to help me on our assembly line! I did the sauce, they were the ravioli and cheese distributors.

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Sauce, raviolis, repeat.

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Little (clean) helping hands!

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Ready for cheese:

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Finally the messiest & most fun part – topping with cheese!

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Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, brown under the broiler, serve with garlic bread and a green salad and you’ve got a perfect Italian meal!

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We invited the Parkers over for dinner, we go way back! Tiana and I have been best friends since we were three years old. We both married boys who speak French and each have two kids.

I busted out the tablecloth and cloth napkins for our feast! So much fun with this bunch, we could talk and laugh for hours.

I tend to take pictures right after everyone takes a huge bite…look at Lola!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Mini Personal Lasagnas
 
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Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
  • 1 (20 oz.) package refrigerated cheese raviolis
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place oven-safe ramekins on counter.
  3. Boil refrigerated raviolis according to package directions (approx. 10 min.) and drain.
  4. Spoon about a Tablespoon of sauce into the bottom of each ramekin.
  5. Layer raviolis on top, we used three for each layer.
  6. Follow with another layer of sauce, and another layer of raviolis, repeating until you have reached the top of the ramekin and ended with the sauce layer.
  7. Top each lasagna generously with mozzarella cheese.
  8. Arrange mini-lasagnas on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted. Broil for 5-10 minutes until cheese is browned.

For more authentic Italian recipe ideas, visit: http://facebook.com/RaguSauce

Also, Ragú has a Better and Better Sweepstakes running right now that you should go enter! You can win Authentic Italian themed prizes, including a grand prize trip to Italy for a family of four at www.RaguSweeps.com. Yes, please!

Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, & Pecorino

A few weeks ago, Matt texted me and said he had dinner taken care of for Sunday night. Okay! Awesome! Best text ever! The Jamie Oliver Foundation had come to Google and dropped off “Weekend Survival Kits” for employees to take home. Matt chose the Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, and Pecorino. It came with everything, down to the little container of sea salt. It’s very similar to my Pasta Italiano, so I was in heaven! Fresh and fulfilling.

Sidenote: I am loving the #ABeautifulMess app for writing and doodling on your photos! Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and they have the cutest borders and graphics. I used it on both photos below.

Matt was so cute about everything. He kept asking me questions as he was cooking & even put that little basil there so it looked pretty for a picture. We paired the meal with our favorite Trader Joe’s salad – Spinach with Cranberries, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Pecans.

Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, & Pecorino

Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, & Pecorino
 
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Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 3.5 ounces kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil, torn
  • 1 chunk pecorino cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Place the tomatoes into a large roasting tin, drizzle them with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place in warm oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Once water is boiling, add the penne pasta and cook until al dente.
  4. Once roasted, squish the tomatoes with a fork to release juices. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  5. Combine the drained pasta, tomato mixture, olives, and basil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with grated pecorino.
  6. Enjoy!

On Monday night, I had to get my workout in after the girls went to bed. Matt asked if I wanted some leftover pasta after I was done, and I said yes. He said he saved some for me, so after I finished I walked over to see a tupperware with 4 or 5 bites left! I was starving and he was so ashamed!! I made a huge deli sandwich which he ended up finishing for me :) Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, & Pecorino

Chicken Salad Endive Cups

On Valentine’s Day, this beautiful bouquet of endives arrived at my door! California Endive Growers sent them to me, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Thank you so much!! I made this salad with some them, and decided that I’d make a chicken salad to eat the rest of them with. It was a fabulous idea…you should definitely try it!Chicken Salad Endive Cups
The endives are already the perfect little utensil. Just scoop some salad in, and eat the whole thing! You can be like Gene Wilder in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory when he drinks the tea and then eats the dandelion cup and saucer :)Chicken Salad Endive Cups

Chicken Salad Endive Cups
 
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Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, sliced in half
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ⅔ cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Juice of half a lemon (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine chicken, celery, onion, grapes, and almonds in a large bowl. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour dressing mixture over the salad and fold in until all of the ingredients are coated. Spoon chicken salad into individual endive leaves and arrange on platter. Serve & enjoy!

Chicken Salad Endive Cups

California Quinoa Salad

I found this recipe on Pinterest and actually made it! I have so many recipes that I’ve pinned and never made. Thank goodness I did though, because it is incredible. Evidently it’s a Whole Foods salad knock-off, I’ve never had theirs though. This salad is so good that I am already looking forward to eating it for lunch tomorrow! Note to parents: my girls didn’t like the “Queen-Ah” all over their food, so I would set aside a plate of things they’ll like (mangoes, raisins, edamame, almonds) before you mix it all up.

Isn’t it beautiful? So many colors! Reminds me of my friend’s mom who used to tell her at dinnertime, “You don’t have enough colors on your plate!”

California Quinoa Salad - www.karainthekitchen.com

California Quinoa Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 mangoes, diced
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • 1 medium to large red pepper, diced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 cups shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup unsalted, dry-toasted* slivered almonds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups frozen edamame, thawed
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Instructions
  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly, then place in a medium pan.
  2. Add water and broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Fluff with fork and spread on waxed paper.
  6. Spread frozen edamame on waxed paper on top of the quinoa to help them thaw out.
  7. Mix all ingredients in the largest bowl you have and enjoy!
  8. *toast almonds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant and warm, careful to move them around so they don't burn

California Quinoa Salad - www.karainthekitchen.com

Grilled Salmon Salad with Balsamic Glaze

I threw this salad together for lunch last week and posted it on Instagram & facebook. It got quite the reaction & people have been asking for the recipe, so here it is! Easy & delicious…just the way I like it.  IMG_7583

I eat stuff like this so that I can have more cookies later :)

Grilled Salmon Salad with Balsamic Glaze
 
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Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • Two handfuls mixed greens
  • 1 filet of salmon, grilled with Soyaki sauce (mine was leftover from the night before & cold, but it would be good warm too)
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Sliced almonds
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & lemon pepper
Instructions
  1. Place lettuce in bowl and lay salmon filet on top.
  2. Sprinkle Feta cheese crumbles and sliced almonds on to your liking.
  3. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt & lemon pepper to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Cucumber & Carrot Salad

This Asian-infused salad is a light, refreshing, welcome addition to any meal. I love serving it alongside salmon, but it would go great with a number of main dishes. It comes together in minutes thanks to two handy kitchen tools. Here they are:

The OXO Mandoline Slicer and Julienne Peeler!

Use the mandoline on setting 3 to get those cucumber slices nice and thin, but to also have them retain some crunch.

Then, julienne the carrots. I hold the carrot in one hand, then pull the peeler away from me. You can play around and make long, noodle-like strips, or short ones.

Whisk the dressing, then pour it on top of your beautiful, crisp veggies.

Toss salad and place into serving bowls.

Enjoy!


Cucumber & Carrot Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cut ends off of cucumber and carrots.
  2. Wash cucumber.
  3. Peel carrots and wash.
  4. Using the mandoline on setting 3, slice the cucumber into a medium bowl.
  5. Then, julienne the carrots and add to the bowl.
  6. In a small bowl, combine honey, rice vinegar, and salt and pepper.
  7. Whisk in olive oil until all ingredients are combined.
  8. Pour dressing over cucumber and carrots, and toss until everything is coated.
  9. Adjust seasonings as necessary and serve.

 

Caprese Salad

I could totally go for one of these right now! It’s October 1st and 100 degrees. Welcome to the Central Coast!

Caprese salad is a perfect way to use those gorgeous tomatoes that are growing in your garden (if you’re lucky) or from the market (like me). The basil actually is from my own plant on my balcony. The only reason it’s alive is because Matt and Ada have a ritual to water it together when he comes home from work. Thank goodness for that!

Simple, easy, and makes any meal feel fancy. My sister approves of fancy. 

Quick & satisfying dinner of Costco 7-cheese frozen tortellini with marinara sauce, caprese salad, and bread (hiding under the napkin).


Caprese Salad
 
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Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1-2 heirloom tomatoes
  • 6-8 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 15-18 leaves fresh basil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella. Lay on plate in a pattern of tomato, cheese, basil, repeating until you use all of the ingredients. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve and enjoy!