Dried cranberries are, frankly, the bomb. I love them in everything. I eat them plain. I eat them on yogurt with blueberries and almonds. I eat them on cereal. I mix them in oatmeal with brown sugar. Earlier this week, I mixed them in with cashews for a tasty broccoli slaw. Today I did something similar–I mixed them in with curried chicken salad and almonds. I think they go particularly well with nuts because together the two give crunchy, soft, buttery, and tart. Mayo and yogurt do a great job of holding them together with a little creaminess.
This salad isn’t particularly fancy, but it is flexible. I added in some chopped raw broccoli stalks because they were leftover from another project and were getting wilty. I also snacked on a piece of bacon while eating this, so there’s that.
Curried Chicken Salad with Almonds and Cranberries
Makes 1 big serving. Note that my picture shows the salad without stirring together the chicken and romaine; it looks nicer that way! I promptly threw it in a bowl and stirred it up because I like it better mixed.
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped into evenly-sized 1/2-inch pieces
Handful dried cranberries
Small handful raw almonds, roughly chopped
2 stalks of broccoli (stalks only), chopped [optional]
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
Pinch black pepper
Pinch curry powder
Small pinch cayenne powder
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped into thin (1/4-inch) strips
In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the romaine. Add more curry powder to taste (and salt, pepper, and cayenne thereafter). The curry should be the main flavor. Add the chopped romaine and stir well to evenly distribute the chicken salad.
This one’s incredibly simple considering how fancy it looks and tastes…and how quickly you can throw it together. Mike made it last week when we made the Roasted Stuffed Baby Portobellos; this afternoon I made it and served it (to myself) with steamed broccoli.
It helps a lot if you have a cast iron grill pan. Mike advised grilling these on the stovetop for about 3 minutes per side to get some beauteous grill marks (and maybe that sunset look above!), then putting the whole pan with the meat in it in the oven for about 5-15 minutes (depending on your meat). Without a grill pan, I’m not sure how to adapt it–perhaps you’d just start it in the oven and sacrifice the grilled look.
Pork Tenderloin with Honey Mustard Balsamic Glaze
Note that the amounts I listed for the mustard, vinegar, and honey are EXTREMELY approximate, as I didn’t measure at all–I went by sight and then taste.
2.5 pounds pork tenderloin (my pack contained two equal-size tenderloins)
~2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (regular yellow would work, too)
~2 tsp balsamic vinegar
~1 Tbsp honey
~1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper
Cut the tenderloins into serving-sized portions. Mine came to 6 3-inch long pieces, plus 2 ends about 4 inches long (but thin). Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey, and basil. Taste. Add more of whatever flavor needs to be stronger. It should have a good balance between the acidity (vinegar/mustard) and sweetness (honey). Pour this mixture into a large plastic zippered bag. Add the meat to the bag, seal it, and smush the meat around to evenly coat each piece. Set aside.
Start heating the grill pan over medium-high heat and turn on the oven to about 350 degrees F. Once the pan is very hot (give it at least 5 minutes), gently place each piece of pork in the pan. Try to fit all of them. After 3 minutes, flip. After another 3 minutes, place the entire pan into the oven. After 5 minutes, remove from the oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Check one piece to see if done; the inside should be just barely pinkish. If still raw, put back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Check again and replace in the stove if necessary. Remember to let them sit out of the oven for at least 2 minutes when checking.