Living a Connected Life with Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad

This Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad can be served at a party as a main dish, or a side salad, and I promise, it’s always the first to go. It’s just that good!

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A friend and I were recently discussing entertaining, the value of relationships, and why it’s important to regularly get together with good friends over a tasty meal. For 2015, I’d love to challenge readers to not waste time, make entertaining moments happen, work on relationships, and spend time with people who will help you become a better person. It works the other way, too. I understand that not every entertaining moment is glorious and golden, but the benefits outweight not getting together with people!

Dr. Brene Brown is a favorite author of mine. My husband introduced me to her when she wrote her first book, and I’ve recommended her writing to many. Her message is freeing—about vulnerability, being authentic and real with others, and why connection matters.

“Living a connected life ultimately is about setting boundaries, spending less time and energy hustling and winning over people who don’t matter, and seeing the value of working on cultivating connection with family and close friends.” ― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

I want to be one of those people who lives a rich life, surrounded by love and people.

Change entertaining habits.

This may be the year that you change your entertaining habits, and even some friendships (it doesn’t mean you dump the friends, you just change the boundaries), and you create a goal of making new connections.

An example might be instead of doing casual pizza every Friday night, maybe invite 2 or 3 people over for a sit-down meal. Remember you don’t have to do it all; ask guests to bring a dish!

Or, start hosting a Sunday Soup Night (or afternoon) where you invite the neighbors.

If you don’t like to cook, figure out your budget and invite a couple or two out to dinner 2 times a month.

Just try something new!

I know some goals of mine are to be healthy, make new friends, encourage others, and spend time with “wise” people. In fact, I wrote about it here, at my Burn the Candles post.

The results of entertaining are connection and deeper relationships with others. It’s great to make new friends, to visit with old friends, and really, if you have a family, it’s one of the greatest gifts that you can hand down to your children: the gift of a hospitable heart.

Be smart with time.

I also want to be smart with my time this year, using what I’ve been given wisely. Sometimes that means we say no to one invite, and yes to another (like hosting in our own home!)

Baby Shower

My daughter and I recently went to a baby shower that our friend hosted, with a packed house of about 50 people.  It was awesome to see her daughter so blessed with so many people who cared about her (and an abundance of gifts, which took forever for her to open – lol:), and everything was so darling and baby festive! (I just had to take a quick iPhone pic!)

Baby Shower

Asian Chicken CranberrySalad.

My friend served an array of luncheon dishes, and I offered to help by bringing one of my favorite salads that everyone loves, Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad. It’s the perfect dish to take to a party, especially if you double the recipe and serve it in a giant bowl (feeds a crowd).

The sweet and tangy dressing with a hint of sesame combined with crisp, thinly chopped cabbage, crunchy, salty sesame sticks, dried orange cranberries, chicken, toasted almonds and plenty of fresh cilantro, makes every bite sensational. It can be served as a main dish, or a side salad, and I promise, it’s always the first to go. It’s just that good!

Even with the dressing on, if you’re lucky and you have leftovers, it makes for a good leftover wrap the next day.

Remember, chicken is optional. Make the dressing up and store it in a canning jar. You can toss right before serving, or even a bit in advance. The cabbage does not get soggy! YAY! I’m not a fan of soggy salads.

Do you have some healthy goals for changing your dining habits this year by including more friends?

Asian Chicken Slaw Salad

Asian Chicken Slaw Salad

Yield: 8-10

Prep Time: 15 miutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Toast almonds by laying on a paper towel and microwaving for 1 minute, turning once. Or, toast the sliced almonds under low broil for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. You can also make your own cabbage mix with green and purple cabbage with a tiny bit of carrots.

Ingredients:

2 small bags of coleslaw mix (about 12 cups)
4 cups rotisserie chicken, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups toasted sliced almonds
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Orange Cranberries from Trader Joe’s)
3/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 cup sesame sticks (found in the bulk aisle at grocery store)
1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Layer the cabbage in a large bowl with chicken, almonds, cranberries, red onion, sesame seeds, sesame sticks, and fresh cilantro.
  2. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, honey, ginger, and sesame oil in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Process until smooth.
  3. Lightly pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss; serve.

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7 comments

  1. I think you challenging us to have dinner with friends at home more Is great. We spend a lot of time entertaining family which is wonderful but I do feel we are missing times with friends.
    This is such a great potluck dish, I love it!

  2. I am really enjoying your post, recipes and encouragement! I can’t wait to try this Asian salad to share with friends! It looks delicious!

  3. That salad sounds REALLY great!

  4. I love cabbage based salads in the winter. So hearty and satisfying when lettuce isn’t always looking good!

  5. The Asian salad looks wonderful! Are the sesame sticks chopped or whole? Thank you!!!

  6. Where do you find the black sesame seeds? Is it okay to use regular sesame seeds if I can’t find them?

  7. Made 1/2 recipe tonight with a lemon rotisserie chicken and a bag of
    Taylor Farms Asian cabbage salad mix (did not use their dressing etc.)
    and it was a big hit. Wish I had time to get the orange cranberries, but
    our Trader Joes is always too crowded unless I arrive when it opens.
    This wa fairly easy and a delightful combination of favors for a light summer dinner-I did squeeze lime juice as a final addition. Thanks for renewing my faith in Pinterest recipes.

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