Potluck Problems Pacified – Caramelized Green Onion Sweet Potatoes or Chicken Curry Salad

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Many apologies for the long lapse since my last post! As life is wont to do, it got busy. Part of my business comes from becoming more involved at work, and spending more time with my coworkers, whom I’m growing more and more fond of! The best part of a big team is team bonding activities like…potlucks!!!

Recently, I made two separate dishes that are great for potlucks. And each with less than 5 ingredients, they are incredibly easy to make!

 

Chicken Curry Salad 

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • salt and pepper

 

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I have to admit, making this Chicken Curry Salad may have been one of the easier recipes I’ve undertaken. Aside from cooking the chicken, it’s literally all about mixing. Unless you have rather spastic muscles, which in turn prevents you from holding a spoon long enough to stir these few ingredients together, you will definitely be able to master this recipe.

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Start with your chicken. Cutting the chicken into bite sized pieces, place them in a separate bowl. I used thigh meat, as it’s my favorite, but breast works equally well (if not better) for a salad.

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Next, add in your greek yogurt. I absolutely love the tartness that the greek yogurt added to my salad. It wasn’t overpowering, but made it all feel light and healthy instead of bogged down by sugar or other flavors. I apologize in advance, my pictures indicates that there is a high ratio of yogurt to chicken. I over-calculated when I first added the yogurt, and ended up adding more chicken after the fact.

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Add to your chicken and yogurt the 2 teaspoons of curry powder. A common misconception regarding curry powder is that it makes your food spicy. In reality, it is simply a flavoring spice, and adds very little kick (albeit some). I have only recently realized just how zesty curry really is, appreciating the warm, spiced, earthy taste it adds to my chicken, soup, and rice.

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After the curry powder, simply add all the fun stuff! Raisins and almonds give such a tender sweetness to the dish. I always find myself overdoing it (the more raisins, the better, usually). However, for the purposes of keeping this mildly healthy, I restrained myself. Gently mix all of this together, add salt and pepper to taste, and voila! Chicken Curry Salad!

Many variations I’ve seen include golden raisins instead, adding grapes, adding green onions, adding shredded carrots, and whatever other spices your heart desires. I simply chose the simplest version, and want you to add your own creative twist!

Caramelized Green Onion Sweet Potatoes

  • 4-5 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 3-4 stalks green onions, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tblspns brown sugar
  • 3-4 tbslpns coconut oil
  • salt and pepper

 

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 Sweet Potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables/starches. Slightly sweeter than the regular potato, they are very flavorful and have a great texture when mashed. And although it’s not considerably more than the regular old boring potato, they have more nutrients!

To prepare your sweet potatoes, first peel them and wash them. Sadly, we must discard the nutrient rich skins for this recipe. Then, cut them up into smaller chunks and place in a pot of water to boil. Boil all of your sweet potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until they are easy to pierce with a fork. Remember, you want them to be a consistency that is easy to mash up.

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While the potatoes are boiling, let’s caramelize our green onions! Chop your onions  into small diced bits, and put aside.

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Melt your coconut oil in a skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is properly heated, add in your green onions! Let them crisp and cook in the oil for about 2-3 minutes, then add your garlic. Let that cook an additional 2 minutes. Be sure to stir often enough to keep anything from sticking or burning. If the garlic seems like it’s burning, go ahead and lower the heat. You want the sweetness of the garlic to come out, and certainly don’t want any charred crispy black bits in your mashed sweet potatoes.

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Once the onions and garlic are cooked to softness, turn down the heat to low and add your brown sugar. Once you add the brown sugar, you’re going to want to stir this constantly so as to keep anything from clumping or turning into a sticky, chewy mess.

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( you can see how I didn’t turn down the heat enough because the sugar did not mix thoroughly enough with the oil. Whoops!)

As soon as you’ve mixed the brown sugar into the coconut oil-green onion-garlic mixture, turn off the heat and set aside. Then, in a separate bowl, start mashing your sweet potatoes. They should be rather easy to mash if you’ve cooked them long enough. Once they’re mashed, add in your coconut oil mixture, salt, and pepper. Mix more thoroughly, helping the coconut oil to smooth it all into a more velvety consistency. Once you’ve mixed it to the point where you can’t take another second of waiting to eat, go ahead and chow down!

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These potluck inspired dishes couldn’t come at a more significant time for me emotionally. As we all change in our own personalities, views, and personas, we find it harder to reconcile who we are as an individual with who we are as part of a group. I myself have had difficulties “fitting in” my loud, gregarious, awkward personality with some of my quieter, more sensitive coworkers. Additionally, the transition to work life has, as most large life changes can be, been rather hard to undertake as I find myself constantly stressed, tired, or worn out. Spending all day at a computer, working and focusing, does not encourage staying out even later afterwards to partake in extracurricular activity. More than anything, the transition leaves me frequently yearning for the days of college when I was constantly surrounded by friends, constantly busy with things to do, and far less overwhelmed by the responsibilities of adulthood.

These potluck dishes for me were simple and flavorful, as well as fun and personal, allowing me to bridge the gap between who I am individually and who I am in the group setting. They, to me, are a symbol of finally making that transition to a point in my new life here in San Francisco where I am starting to feel truly at home. As we shared our dishes, I enjoyed sharing foods that I find comforting and tasty with those who are part of my team, and also enjoyed trying theirs in turn. I felt included, and inclusive. I felt that I had people I knew on both a professional and personal level, and that I was finally making the connections I have felt void of when I first began my job. As many of my friends and family know, food to me is more than just nourishment, but a symbol of communion and sharing that I think delves deeper into our connection with each other as humans than most other things can. I love potlucks simply for the way that they allow us to share something of ourselves with others, and to receive likewise in turn. I hope that you will find the same joy in making (and sharing) these dishes as I did.

 

Bom Apetite!

 

 

 

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