chicken field salad {trader joe’s inspired}

I’m pretty sure I’ve tried 98% of the items at Trader Joe’s. I mean, it is just too convenient. It is across from the yoga/spinning studio that I belong to. There are three of them within walking distance of our apartment. And they are absolutely everywhere here in Los Angeles.

So I’ve been doing most of my shopping there and trying everything along the way. I’m working on a Best Of Trader Joe’s post, but I’m struggling with how to organize it – there are so many great things! Anyway, one of our favorite salads is the Chopped Field Salad with Chicken – it has flavorful currants, chewy couscous and the sweet basil dressing – oh, that dressing! I set out to recreate the favorite and while I made a few changes, the flavors are very similar. This chicken field salad has all of the “requirements” for an entree salad, so it’s the perfect salad for lunch or dinner –  full of protein, fiber and flavor!


Chopped Field Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


Ingredients (2 large entree salads)

For the Salad

  • 1 cup cooked israeli couscous
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup corn, toasted in hot pan
  • 8 oz cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp pecans
  • 2 oz cheese (I used feta but parmesan is used in the TJ version)
  • 8 cups mixed greens

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 small shallot
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper


For the Salad

Toss together couscous, pepper, corn, chicken, cheese, currants, green onions and pecans.

Top greens with couscous mixture.

Drizzle with sweet basil dressing.

For the Dressing

Combine all ingredients in blender or small food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Taste and adjust flavors if desired.

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simple & healthy: stir-fry

Stir-frys are always a great choice for simple and healthy meals that come together in minutes.

In fact, usually the rice takes longer to make than the stir-fry itself. If you are short on time, consider trying frozen brown rice or instant brown rice. (You can also make your own brown rice in large batches and then freeze for later use).

Then gather up all of the vegetables you have, along with some protein and have a flavorful dinner on the table in minutes!

(Beef & Basil Stir-Fry from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)

Stir-Fry Tips and Steps: 

  1. Prepare rice, grain or pasta if using
  2. Prepare all ingredients (slice, chop, etc) so they are all ready to go
  3. Heat pan and oil in pan (you can flavor oil with garlic and ginger)
  4. Add ingredients by length of cooking time, adding ingredients that take longest first*
  5. Add sauce (can be as simple as a splash of soy, fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, etc.)
  6. Serve immediately

*If your stir-fry includes meat or seafood, consider cooking the meat, removing from pan and then cooking the vegetables so you don’t over cook your meat

Stir-Fry Recipes to Try:

Shrimp & Snow Pea Stir-Fry 

Sauteed Baby Squash with Basil & Feta

Chicken & Leek Stir-Fry

Spicy Asparagus-Tempeh Stir-Fry

Brown Rise Stir-Fry with Kimchi, Pork & Tofu

Grace Young’s Best Stir-Fry Tips


spicy egg scramble

When my Mom and her friend were here last week we finally visited a restaurant that has long been on our restaurant list. Eating in LA on the weekends can be interesting. After about 11am on Saturdays and Sundays, the majority of restaurants are packed, and a lot of them even have lines out the door or crowds waiting to get in.

We visited The Griddle at 10am on a Friday and I think we were sat at the last available table. (On the weekends it is essentially impossible). We eyed up everyone else’s plates as we walked back to our table, it is the type of place that will eventually be on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It’s got the craziest pancake concoctions (red velvet, coconut & chocolate filled pancakes, espresso & chocolate chip, etc.), ridiculous french toasts and a long list of egg omelets, scrambles and benedicts. As good as the pancakes and french toast sounded, I always go for eggs. (I also knew that I could have bites of the sweet stuff) I decided on the “Some like it HOT” Scramble and it was delicious! Spicy, but just the way I like it!

I needed it in my life again, and stat. So I rounded up the ingredients and gave it a go. The result was a delicious and perfectly spicy scramble. If you don’t like the heat, leave out the jalapeño and hot sauce.

Spicy Egg Scramble

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes


Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 chicken sausage, sliced in half lengthwise and then thinly sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce (like Cholula)
  • garnish: avocado slices, pico de gallo, green onions.


Heat pan over medium-high heat.

Spray with cooking spray or coat with butter.

Add green pepper, jalapeno, onion and chicken sausage to pan, stirring occasionally.

Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Combine sour cream and hot sauce in small bowl.

Lower heat and add eggs to pan, scraping bottom of pan until eggs have set.

Stir in sour cream mixture and serve immediately.

Top with green onions, avocado, pico de gallo if desired.

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chicken chopped salad

Kitchen24 is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants in West Hollywood.

It has a lot going for it – it is within walking distance, has a great outdoor patio and a whole list of fun, creative drinks. Oh, and the food is delicious. (Although, I just discovered this past weekend that they have very few appetizers which is too bad – I love appetizers).

Richie and I went for breakfast on Easter Sunday, I was there for lunch a few weeks ago with a friend from yoga and then we visited with my friend (and baby!) who were visiting last weekend for an early evening snack. So far, everything has been great. The California Eggs Benedict was ridiculous and the Cahuenga Chopped Salad was everything I wanted it to be.

I tend to go through salad phases – I’ll make and eat a salad until I get sick of it and then I’ll have to move on. So this chopped chicken salad, inspired by the one at Kitchen24 has been my latest phase.

All of the flavors and components I need in a salad are there: a combination of greens, salty feta, briney olives, protein-rich chicken, flavorful bacon, crunchy cucumbers and apples all tossed in a tangy balsamic dressing.

Chicken Chopped Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


Ingredients (2 serving)

  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 4 cups spring mix or herb salad
  • 2-4 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 cup chopped chicken
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped kalamata olives


Toss lettuce, greens and dressing together.

Top with remaining ingredients.

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