Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

For many years now (we won’t discuss how many, thank you very much), I have loved watching the Summer Games when they air every 4 years. When I was young, I would sit and watch the swimmers and the gymnasts with my mom, telling her that someday I totally WOULD be doing that. While it made for great family time with my mom (something I have continued with my kids), it didn’t quite turn out how I had hoped. When it came to being a gymnast, I was too tall by the time I was ten. There are no 5’8” gymnasts. As for swimming, I can honestly say that if they ever create a category called “Floating In The Pool While Dozing And Getting Sunburned”, I’m the gal who will win the gold. Until then, not so much.

The athletes at both the Summer and Winter Games amaze me. The total dedication to their sport, the passion to succeed. I can be that passionate over a pint of ice cream, but to work as hard as they do to be the best? Again; they amaze me and have my undying admiration, especially these tiny little girl gymnasts who are so strong, so creative and so wonderful at what they do. I could never be one of the judges. I’d want to give everyone gold, then feed them all cookies and milk and tuck them in for a good nights sleep.

The thing is, we all live our lives the best we can, and while this may not be as exciting as competing in the games in Rio this year, it can be so medal worthy regardless. Admittedly, some days, you’re lucky to get a bronze, but life is about so much more than the gold, don’t you agree? For me, it’s finding my favorite flavor of ice cream on sale, it’s getting to the satisfying ending of a book I’ve loved and knowing that everyone lived more or less happily ever after, it’s time spent with family, enjoying the Summer games together and listening to my youngest son tell me that someday he will be a gymnast (he is already too tall. I’ll let him figure it out for himself) or a swimmer (we just got him out of the safety vest. Let’s NOT scare the momma), it’s listening to the wind rustle through the trees as I lie in the pool dozing, it’s creating a recipe that I know my family loves. Those are MY moments of gold and I’m honored to have been able to share them with you. What are yours?

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing 5

Meijer asked me to create a recipe for their More Than A Medal campaign. I knew I wanted to create a recipe that I thought any athlete of the games in Rio or aspiring athlete would love and also could eat with no guilt. I have to admit, this salad fits both criteria. It’s completely delicious. The chicken is moist and tender with a crispy outside and a tiny bite from the pepper. Mix that with the juicy berries and peaches, the crunchy greens and the creamy lemon poppyseed dressing and you have a definite gold medal winner here. All with no guilt. This is a perfect Summer entree for two that is easily doubled or more to feed extra hungry mouths. I hope you all love it as much as we did!!

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

  • Lemon poppyseed dressing-
  • 1 6 ounce container Chobani non fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup good quality honey
  • 2 tablespoons Minute Maid lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chicken-
  • 1 large Meijer True Goodness Boneless, Skinless chicken breast (about 8 to 10 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt free onion/herb seasoning blend
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste (be careful with this if your lemon pepper is salted)
  • 1/2 to one full bag salad greens of choice
  • Fruit Mixture-
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 small ripe white peach, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  1.  Make your dressing- In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Whisk well to combine. Taste for seasoning. When ready, pour into a covered container (a mason jar works wonderfully) and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour to combine the flavors.
  2. About half an hour before you start the chicken, you need to get the berries ready. These couldn’t be easier. In a small bowl, combine the white balsamic vinegar and the sugar and honey and give it a quick whisk. Spoon the berries and peach chunks in with the vinegar mixture and toss gently to coat the fruit. Set it in the fridge until you make the salad, making sure to give it a good stir just before you add it to the salad.
  3. When ready to grill, preheat your grill to medium high if using an electric or propane grill. This can also be done easily inside using a grill pan. Pat the chicken breast dry. Coat with the vegetable oil on both sides. Sprinkle half the seasonings on one side of the breast and press it gently into the surface of the meat. Repeat on the other side.
  4. When the grill and the chicken are ready, place the chicken in the pan (or on the grill) and cook on one side until golden brown. Flip carefully to the other side using tongs and continue to cook, turning as needed, until the internal temp of the chicken breast is 165°f. Remove the chicken to a plate and let rest for about 5 minutes.
  5. While it rests, divide your salad greens between two plates. Slice your chicken breast on the bias and place half on each plate. Give your fruit a stir and divide it between the two plates. Whisk the lemon poppyseed dressing one last time and drizzle it over the greens, chicken and fruit. Serve.

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing 1

Disclosure- I was compensated by Meijer for this post. All contents within are original and developed by myself.



Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad

Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad

Every year I plant a bunch of herbs. I have a few perennials set aside in a certain area of our land, but the annuals I just do in containers. One that I always plant is basil. Is there anything like the scent of fresh basil??? it is one of those smells that just makes me think “summer”. Problem is, me being, well, me, I inevitably plant more than we can use. I love basil, but I get busy and forget to actually USE it. I’ll grab a handful for spaghetti sauce, I’ll snip a few leaves to use with a sliced up tomato and some olive oil. Then that will be it. I’ll talk a good game about using the 496 plants for a few hundred batches of pesto, but I never get to it. Then, Autumn comes, the first frost comes and I am left kicking myself because my basil died. I’m sad and then next Spring the cycle starts all over again.

So this year I only bought TWO basil plants. That’s it; two. And what does that mean? That suddenly, I find myself wanting basil all the time to the point where my poor plants can’t keep up the supply. Nature can’t win with me. But I’m afraid to buy another plant or two. Because what will happen is that craving will die and so will my basil plants.

But…!! This salad is a great way to use about 1/2 of a cup (which is a fair amount of leaves) of the lovely green stuff. Every year, one of the things I do is make a Caprese pasta. I usually make a hot dinner of it though, with spaghetti or a similar pasta and the cheese all melted in it. While that is absolutely wonderful, I wanted to try my hand at a chilled salad this time. I am totally pleased with what I came up with. This is about as easy as it gets. I used a good quality bottled Italian dressing in this. You are, of course, free to make your own dressing, but I was going for easy and tasty, not involved. With this salad, the most involved part is chopping the basil and the tomatoes. Hard work, ehh? Make sure you let this chill for a bit; at least a couple of hours. You want those flavors to blend and then blend some more. Then, just garnish it with some fresh basil for decoration and a sprinkling of pepper for flavor, check for needed salt one last time and chow down.

Chilled Caprese Pasta Salad

  • 1 16 to 19 ounce package frozen tortellini, cooked according to package direction, then drained and rinsed in cold water
  • 8 ounces ciliegine mozzarella ( those are the small balls, usually found in tubs packed in water)
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion (I know this isn’t a typical ingredient for caprese, but it adds a nice flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (same as what I said for the green onion)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup good Italian dressing
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (this is one of those times when the cheaper powdery stuff is acceptable, even preferred, because it coats and clings better than freshly grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pour the tortellini on a layer of paper towels and gently pat dry. Place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the mozzarella,  the tomatoes, green onion, lemon zest and basil to the bowl with the tortellini. Gently toss together.
  3. Pour in the Italian dressing and toss to coat.
  4.  Sprinkle the Parmesan on and again, toss to coat. Give it a taste, then add some salt and pepper. I’m not giving a specific amount here because tastes vary. You may be not a huge salt person, but others are, so I salt for your taste and then others can add more if they want it. Seems the best way to season something like a pasta salad.
  5. Pour the salad into a serving bowl. Cover and chill for at least two hours. Garnish with some basil and freshly ground pepper and serve.

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Product Of My Generation

Chilled Lemon Dill Tuna Macaroni Salad

There are times when I know that I’m a dinosaur in the foodie world. I don’t always cook light and healthy, I’m not vegan, I don’t cook gluten free and I’m not out to reinvent the wheel cooking wise. And while I admire those who do all of those things, I kinda like it that way 😀 I am, as the titles says, a product of my generation. I was born in 1964, which by some lists makes me born in the last year of the Baby Boomers. It was back when women’s rights was still a fledgling moment, back when Civil Rights was (unfortunately) still not something that everybody liked. It was also back in the days when Vietnam was a country very few people had heard of. In 1964, there were really no hippies. There were “Beatniks”. The famed Jack Kerouac (much loved by said Beatniks as well as the hippies to come) was near both the end of his career and the end of his life. The Beatles were in the middle of their first world tour and on the day of my birth, The Kinks released the song “You Really Got Me”.  The St. Louis Cardinals won the world series and everyone watched it in black and white on TV’s that had long “Rabbit Ears” attached to the back of them.

People also ate differently back then. With exceptions, it was still the time period of mom stayed home and cooked three meals a day plus snacks and dad went to work. People were just starting to eat lighter but for the most part, creamy, heavy, fried, calorie laden foods were the norm. Jello salads were still all the rage and dad manned the bbq grill on the weekends while mom made the side dishes. No one would ever think of making either potato salad or pasta (macaroni) salad without a few gallons of mayo thrown in and approximately 500 calories per half cup serving. Dad would drink a Pabst Blue Ribbon with dinner and mom would clean up afterwards.

In other words, I really AM a product of my generation since we all know what I love to cook for this blog. Creamy, heavy, fried and calorie laden and Lord above knows I love my mayo.

But at times, even I try to lighten things up. At least a little bit. Like I’ve said before, if I actually ate much of many of the things I make on here, Paula Deen would be sharing her diabetes medication with me and I would have to be lifted with a crane. Everything in moderation right? It sucks but it’s one of those sad facts of life that if you eat 14 Twinkies in a row, you WILL regret it. And if you eat a tub of the typical pasta salad, you WILL end up with no room in your arteries for the blood to flow.

So give this one a try. It makes a great meal on it’s own, a tasty side dish (you can even omit the tuna if you want though I personally love it that way) and while I won’t claim that this is health food, it definitely doesn’t have a gallon of mayo in it. I’ve lightened it up with Greek yogurt and added flavor with lemon juice and zest as well as a boatload of fresh (and dried) dill weed. Also, this makes enough for a pot luck or a good amount of people so feel free to cut in half. Remember when you see the amounts of mayo and such, that this is for 12 ounces (uncooked) of pasta. Not as much as it seems and when the salad sits in the fridge for a while, it will soak up a good amount and you may need to add more at serving time if it seems too dry.

Chilled Lemon Dill Tuna Pasta Salad

  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked according to direction
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 carrot, grated (can use more but I don’t like carrots very much)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 teaspoons jarred pickled jalapenos (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 cup (give or take) good quality mayo (preferably home made)
  • 1 cup good quality Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip (if you hate Miracle Whip, use more mayo instead
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh Dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon dried Dill weed (can up the dried to 2 tablespoons if you don’t have fresh)
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 or 3(depends on how meaty you like it) 6 ounce cans GOOD tuna (NOT the stuff that looks like cat food. You want chunks, not mush), drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook your pasta according to package directions, adding the two teaspoons salt to the cooking water.
  2. While it cooks, combine the rest of your ingredients, except for the tuna, in a large non metal bowl. Stir well. Taste for seasoning and add more dill, salt and pepper if needed. I also usually end up adding more pickle relish because I am sadly addicted to the stuff. For the most part, the ingredient amounts in here are just guidelines. You may like more carrot, less green pepper, dill relish…etc etc
  3. Drain the pasta very well. You can even go so far as to pour it onto a cookie sheet and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  4. Add the pasta to the bowl of creamy ingredients and mix well. Let cool until just warm, about 10 minutes or so.
  5. Gently fold in the tuna.
  6. Chill. Serve.


Awww mom! Curry AGAIN?!

I blame the Germans. Really. I do. I knew nothing about curry before my ex got stationed in Mannheim Germany. I also knew nothing about German candy (which btw leaves American candy in the dust) Schnitzel (*drools*) or just how wonderful a country it was in general. I’ll talk more about Germany later I’m sure. I still miss it 23 years later (omg, I’m old). But today I’m bitching at them about my love for Curry. The Germans love curry. While I wasn’t exposed to it much there because I was a young stupid American afraid to try anything new, I did try curry ketchup. As I got older and more adventurous, I started to try things outside my comfort zone. Curry anything was one of my attempts and I love it.

The first time I tried Curried Chicken Salad was from the deli department of one of those large “we sell gourmet foods (I originally went there looking for German chocolate. Go figure.) as well as booze” types of stores.  Being the cheap bastage that I am, I didn’t want to continue to pay $5.99 a pound for it (and this was years before curried chicken salad became a trend and you could find recipes for it all over the net so I shudder to think what it costs now) so I tried to recreate it. I have tweaked it some over the years but basically it is still the same recipe I made up about 15 years ago. Even if you’re not a curry fan, try this version. This cold chicken salad is chock full of grapes giving it a subtle sweetness along a mild curry flavor. It is great served on a croissant or just eaten straight or as you know is the norm for me with something I like, hidden away in the fridge in a tub labeled “Spinach” and eaten on the sly when no  one is looking. 😛 This is an extremely simple recipe which makes it even better.


  1. 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1 1/2 cups seedless grapes (you can cut them in half if you want. Personal preference thing there)
  4. 1/4 cup raisins
  5. 2 green onions, sliced thin
  6. 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  7. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  8. 1/4 cup apricot preserves (can use Peach preserves or even mango chutney)
  9. salt to taste
  • Put your chicken in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is done. You can just cut the largest piece in half and make sure it isn’t pink. But don’t overcook. You can end up with rubber chicken even if it’s been cooked in water. When done, set aside and let cool. Chop into bite sized pieces.
  • While it’s cooking, make your sauce. It’s very difficult.
  • Take all the rest of the ingredients. Dump them in a bowl. Mix well. See. I told you it was difficult.
  • Mix the chopped chicken into the sauce. Taste for seasoning. It will have a bit of a gritty feel at first so as good as it tastes, let it sit for 24 hours or so before you eat it. That gives it time for the spices to dissolve.