Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crunchy Chicken and Fresh Pear Salad With Dried Cranberries

When my grandchildren return to college, I will return to cooking for two. It isn't easy. I often mis-judge the serving size and usually have leftover food. This week it was leftover chicken. Originally, I baked the chicken in the oven with a bread crumb and Parmesan cheese topping. What could I do with the remaining two chicken breasts?

I decided to make chicken salad. The crumb topping was easy to remove and I cut up the chicken. But white chicken needs color, so I added green celery, red onion, dried cranberries, and green, unpeeled pears. Thanks to the onion, the salad had some "zing." Thanks to the pears and dried cranberries, the salad had some sweetness.

Though I love mayonnaise, I wanted thinner dressing for the salad. When I peered into the refrigerator, I found some slaw dressing and it proved to be just right. You may make this salad with turkey instead of chicken. If you don't have any chicken on hand, cooked chicken strips are available in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Dried apricots or peaches, cut into thin strips, may be substituted for the cranberries. Add some crackers or bread sticks and you have a satisfying lunch. With warm bread and dessert, this crunchy salad becomes dinner.


2 cups cooked chicken (grilled, roasted or poached), cut into half-inch cubes

1 large rib of celery, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 fresh pears, unpeeled and sliced

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Salt and pepper to taste (Omit if you're watching your salt intake.)

1 bag washed baby spinach (or torn butter lettuce)

16-ounce bottle slaw dressing, such as Marzetti

12-ounce package chow mein noodles

Combine the chicken, celery, red onion, pears, and cranberries in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pile some baby spinach on each plate. Spoon chicken salat in the middle of each plate. Drizzle with slaw dressing and garnish generously with chow mein noodles. Makes four servings.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Worldwide Popular Traditional Pickles and Murabba

The tradition of preserving fruits and vegetables in the form of pickles, jams and murabbas has been popular in the South Asian countries like India and Pakistan. Not only are these products tasty, but many of them are also considered as healthy preparations. A large number of Asian spices and fine quality edible oils are used in preparing pickles that add to their taste.

Some of the most popular items in these categories include amla murabba, mango pickle, apple murabba, lemon pickle, chilly pickle and carrot pickle. Many households in the North Indian states prepare these items at homes. In addition, there are many small-scale as well as brand manufacturers engaged in preparing these traditional products. The following sections discuss various popular categories of these food items.

Amla Murabba and Pickle

People suffering from stomach and digestive system disorders are recommended to have amla murabba, which is prepared from India gooseberry along with ingredients like citric acid and sugar. The product is a rich source of vitamin C and a number of minerals like zinc and copper. Pregnant women can be given the recipe because of its high nutrient values. The popular Indian treatment approach called Ayurveda recommends regular consumption of the murabba. The students can also consume the recipe to sharpen their minds and also to increase concentration.

The gooseberry also serves as a wonderful ingredient for amla pickles. Just like amla murabba, the pickle prepared from this Indian gooseberry is tasty and offers health benefits. Acidity and gas troubles are the issues that can be easily addressed with regular consumption of the recipe.

Mango Murabba and Pickle

Raw mangoes are extremely healthy, but it is not possible to consume them in the raw form. However, the murabbas and pickles prepared using raw mangoes are quite popular. The consumption of mango murabba maintains the value of hemoglobin and takes care of the issues like weakness and fatigue. Spices like fennels, saffron and fenugreek seeds are added to these preparations to enhance their nutritional worth as well as flavor.

Apple Murabba

Apples need no introduction as healthy fruits. Murabbas recipes prepared from apples are as popular as mango and amla murabba. It is admired as a healthy recipe for heart as it controls palpitations and relives mental stress and strain. This apple recipe is also considered for keeping the skin and hair healthy and also to postpone the signs of aging like wrinkles.

Mixed Vegetable Pickles

Apart from fruits, vegetables too are popular as ingredients for making pickles and murabbas. A popular example of tradition pickle recipes is the one prepared from vegetables like cauliflower, carrot, radish and turnip and spices like ginger, garlic and peppers. Needless to say, the nutrients of each of these items can be enjoyed in the recipes.

Lemon Pickles

The digestive benefits of amla murabba and pickles can also be enjoyed with lemon pickle. One impressive aspect of this recipe is that the tradition lemon pickle recipes are not prepared in oil, which adds to its health quotient.

The modern approach of making pickles and murabbas doesn't produce as many health benefits as are available with traditional recipes. Fortunately, it is possible to obtain the traditional recipes from different parts of the world using the internet.