Honey Mustard {for your Honey}

The kid to the left doesn’t look like he likes to eat salad. In fact, that kid didn’t like to eat salad until he married me…

No, no… it was ten years later. Geesh.

Anyway, this kid’s favorite salad is my own spin on a classic Honey Mustard Chicken Salad. It’s got all the good stuff: Homemade dressing, grilled chicken, pecans & dried cranberries. So delicious, and so good for you (shhhh…don’t say that too loud).

The secret ingredient: Greek yogurt.

So, make this for your man, or yourself tonight. I figured I can’t be the only one  desperately clinging to the last weak vestige of summer…and maybe you’re craving salad for dinner, too.

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Serves 4

The Dressing:

  • 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt (Yummy protein! Fage is the best.)
  • 2 T Course Ground Mustard (Not that yellow ballpark stuff. I like Grey Poupon -Mostly because I like saying “Poupon” in a British accent).
  • 1 T Honey (My parents have bees, so I was lucky enough to score some of their delicious home-harvested honey)

The Salad:

  • 3-4 Chicken breasts
  • 6 Cups, or a “several handfuls” of Spinach and Baby Greens (Because that’s what I know you’ll do anyway.)
  • Enough Dried Cranberries, Pecans, Red Onion, Tomato, Cucumbers, Parmesan and Feta to make it look pretty and taste good. (I trust you to eyeball it – Add any of your favorite veggies!)

How-to:

    • Mix all dressing ingredients, cover, and set in the fridge. (I really like the bite of the mustard, so you may want to add extra honey if that’s not your thing. Just try a taste, and adjust as needed. The dressing will be thick, not runny.)
    • Grill the chicken  until done (or broil, bake, use leftovers), slice and cover to keep warm.
    • Mix the salad ingredients, top with chicken.
    • Serve in a pretty bowl with the dressing on the side. (Dressing may need to be stirred up after being removed from the fridge.)
    • Enjoy!

This dressing is what makes the salad, and is also big hit on sandwiches, and as a dip, too! Kind of like what you get in at McD’s for your nuggets…but way, way better. You might want to make a double batch…

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Healthy {Happy} Husbands

What you tell someone to do they reject, what you help them discover they own.

I asked the Husband to contribute to this post, and he ran with it. Who knew all those things I hop on my soapbox about really sunk in? He’s got some great insights on what makes a Healthy {Happy} Husband (because who wants to sleep next to a force-fed salad-eating grouch? That’s even worse than the beer & cheese gut).

So listen up ladies, and enjoy!

The Husband’s Insight:

To a guy, presentation is everything, and rules are nothing. A list of rules about what-foods-not-to-touch-with-a-ten-foot-pole, don’t change who we are, they just make us want to throw things. That’s why many wife-enforced “diets” fail. But, if you learn how to effectively present new diet and lifestyle changes to your stud, it can make all the difference.

So, don’t make rules…make changes – slowly but surely- to who you and your family are. Like the quote above, your job is to help him discover healthy eating for himself.

Developing healthy eating habits is all about discovering that eating foods that are great for your body isn’t actually that bad…

{Notice the two appalled little girls in the corner? I think they see their future married lives flashing before their eyes…}

Alrighty, Ladies:

  • Don’t mess with “the favorites”. (ie: Cheesy potatoes/gravy/sausage/nachos/entire pizzas/tacos – All of which make men look forward to coming home to pound* a good meal) …just slowly reduce how often you serve the favorites. (*Note from Rachael: “Pounding” a meal refers to eating a lot, and eating it quickly….Thought this might help everyone who is not up on their Husband-lingo.)
  • Don’t get mad and don’t make eating an argument. Sometimes, a man just needs to eat a sleeve of Oreos.
  • Don’t surprise a man with something he might not like. Instead, present it beforehand as an adventure that you’re trying, and let him know why you think he’ll like it. (it’s a lot like that cheesy chicken dish you love! or, remember that dish we had on our honeymoon?). Help a man discover goodness.
  • Don’t overhaul entire food options. Start slow by mixing in healthy sides and  snacks to your usual menu (Like hummus! Used to hate the idea of it, but now I love it with pita chips, on sandwiches, you name it). Hummus is the new mayonnaise. Believe it!
  • Get to know the healthy stuff that he likes, and keep making it  – but not all the time. Remember, start slow and no “rules”. You’ve got time! Also, you can often find healthier versions of his favorites. Hello, organic fruit snacks.
  • Slowly start buying less and less of the unhealthy snacks and foods. If you’re hungry and you see grapes and nacho cheese,  a guy is gunna choose nacho cheese and eat it till it is no more. But, if you’ve got good stuff stashed everywhere, a man is gunna pick something healthy on his own.
  • Suggest and prepare the healthy options for him, and make it look attractive. The bottom line is that most men will eat what you put in his face. So, cut up and share an apple for a movie snack before he goes for his usual bowl of ice cream.
  • Don’t ask a man what he wants for dinner every night. Because if you do, he will pick “pizza or tacos” like I do. Make a plan and suggest some options. This is not to say you should never ask, because sometimes a guy really is craving something and it will make him happy if you fix it for him. But, most of the time, the fact that we don’t have to worry about it makes us happy… and you can slip in healthy stuff.

When you decide to make a change you have to become the kind of person that doesn’t enjoy the feeling of a food comma. It’s not easy. If it was, fast food chains would fail, diet companies would fade, and wives and girlfriends and daughters wouldn’t be reading this blog post! But, if you lovingly pursue a fun, healthy new lifestyle together, you’ll be more than happy with the results… in your relationship and on the scale.

{A few of “the favorites”. So special when you get to share them…}

I hope you learned a little from the Husband, and even found a few tips you can apply at home. Is there anything that help YOU keep your Man or your family happy and healthy?

Watch for more posts with some of the Husband’s healthy favorites!

Rachael’s Wedding Pasta

We’re headed to a wedding this weekend (and many weekends recently…it’s just that season), and it got me thinking: I love weddings – the celebration, the food, the love, the dress, the food and the reflection of the couple in all of the little details they spent time planning…and the food.

I had a wonderful time planning my own wedding in June of 2009, and even miss it sometimes. One of my favorite things about ‘our special day’ was our dinner menu. After weeks of trying to decide which caterer to use, I realized that everything I LOVE to eat, my mom makes. And, everything I was looking for in a caterer, were things she already did better than anyone I could hire. So, we chose to ‘cater’ the wedding ourselves (with the help of a few dozen friends).

It tuned out better than I could have imagined…

{Above} Entering our reception – I adored my vintage clutch {Below} Food and treats!

A star of our spread was a recipe my mom perfected, and has since been dubbed “Rachael’s Wedding Pasta”. It’s flavorful and impressive enough for a crowd of elegant guests, but simple enough to make that even a newlywed can pull if off without a hitch!

Rachael’s Wedding Pasta

What you’ll need:

(Serves 4)

  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I love Newman’s Own…and not just because of Paul’s captivating stare…)
  • 1/2 Box of whole wheat Pene pasta (The Hubby likes this type because he says it’s easy to stab with a fork)
  • 1/2 Cup Sun-dried Tomato Pesto, or to taste
  • 1/3 Cup of Pine nuts
  • 1 Quart Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • About 1 Cup Spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • About 3 T Olive oil to saute, plus 4 T to dress pasta
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, plus a ‘sprinkle’

Directions:

  • Marinate Chicken in dressing, grill, and slice into bite-sized pieces, set aside and keep warm
  • Saute mushrooms in olive oil (or butter), add pine nuts and garlic, heat
  • Cook pasta as directed
  • Drain pasta, add spinach while it is still hot to wilt
  • Mix pesto and mushroom mixture into pasta, add olive oil to taste
  • Add cheese, stir, use extra as garnish

We love to serve this with a leafy spinach salad, crusty bread and dipping oil – Always a hit, and easy to re-heat or make on the fly for unexpected guests (the kind your hunky new husband invites from work and doesn’t tell you about until about T-30 minutes from their arrival… no, not from personal experience of course).

Or, your husband might come home from work hungry, and grab the whole bowl. This happened. No joke.

At least he classed it up with the swanky bottled root beer.

Enjoy!