My mom is in LOVE with the Wine Country Chicken Salad from Trader Joe’s. Every single time we go there, she *has* to get it. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten it because there are some *questionable* ingredients in there that I know wouldn’t sit well with my stomach. But, to be fair, it does look delicious. So I figured I would make a version that I could actually eat, and then of course jack the flavors up a little (because that’s just what I do) with a Savory Grape Dressing! Which is the BOMB, by the way.
Some life updates: things have been a liiiiitle insane around here lately. Mostly because I’m finally giving in to the fact that I need to start hardcore studying for my CNS (certified nutrition specialist) board exam that’s in…4 weeks. EEK somebody save me now. You know when you finish school, and you’re like “YASS I’M FREE I’m never gonna take a test or study again!” And then a few weeks later, you’re like sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. I actually DO have to take a test, and study, probably the biggest and most important test of my life, and just UGH.
So there’s that. I feel like my life is on pause until I pass that thing (but like not really, because there are still clients to see, a blog and business to run, and a swim team to coach, plus the rest of life in general…). You know what I mean?
Actually, funny story – when I was reading the prep guidelines for the exam, they actually had to include “make sure to take time to stop studying and take care of yourself – to sleep, eat, etc.,” Like do you think it’s possible that someone could forget to eat when they’re studying for a NUTRITION exam? Not me, anyway. Some people, when they get stressed about studying, just stop eating – meanwhile I’m like give me alllll the snacky foods!
Fully knowing that the next few weeks are going to be stressful as hell, here’s my plan. Because a lot of you ask me what to do when you know you’re going to have a stressful period of time, and don’t want to completely burn yourself out/give yourself adrenal exhaustion again, in my case. Game plan:
- eat well. (as nutrient-dense as possible) – keep the junk and sugar cravings out.
- sleep well. Most nights, at least 8 hours a night.
- stress management. Yoga, romwod, meditation, taking complete breaks from studying where my mind is entirely off of it.
- take vitamin C, so I don’t get sick, and magnesium at night, which gets more depleted the more stressed you are.
- keep caffeine intake LOW. (mostly I’m just sticking to four sigmatic mushroom coffees!)
And most importantly, eat delicious food (like this Wine Country Grilled Chicken Salad with Savory Grape Dressing!) that doesn’t hijack my tastebuds, cravings, and blood sugar – leading to energy crashes because ain’t nobody got time for that when you need to study!
- 1 large chicken breast (between .5-.75 lbs)
- 2 tsp Primal Palate Garlic & Herb Seasoning
- 4-6 cups arugula
- 2 slices prosciutto, chopped
- ½ leftover roasted acorn squash*, sliced
- 1 small apple, sliced thin (or chopped)
- ¼ - ½ cup grapes
- 1 small handful (less than ¼ cup) walnuts
- 1.5 cups grapes, roasted (below)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- First, preheat the grill or a large skillet on medium-high heat. Prepare the chicken - season it on both sides with garlic & herb seasoning (or just garlic salt). Once the grill (or pan) is hot, cook the chicken for about 4-5 minutes a side, until cooked through and the middle is no longer pink. Allow it to rest while you assemble the salad.
- Meanwhile, make the grape dressing: combine all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until there are no large pieces of grapes left.
- Assemble the salads: start with the arugula as a base, then scatter the rest of the toppings (prosciutto, squash, apple, grapes, and walnuts) around the salad. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and distribute it among the two salads, then top with Savory Grape Dressing. Devour!
*Don’t have leftover roasted acorn squash? Take the squash, slice it in half, then slice it into half-moons about ½ inch thick. Drizzle with coconut oil and get it roasting in the oven on a lined baking sheet at 400 for about 25-30 minutes before you do anything else.
Want more like this? Try these out!
Grape dressing adapted from Whole Foods Market Savory Grape Dressing.