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Better than the Freezer Aisle: Lean Cuisine Copy Cat Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Topper

 

When I have a salad for a meal, I don’t want to feel like I am eating a salad.  I want it to be a hearty meal, full of toppings of varied texture and tastes.  I want it piled high with meat, fresh vegetables and homemade dressing.  A life long fan of salads, I admit I don’t take the time to prepare and enjoy a salad a meal very often.

So when I saw that Lean Cuisine had launched a new Salad Additions line to their frozen foods, I fell for the marketing hook, line and sinker.  And I was disappointed. The toppings yielded less than 1 cup of total topping, with the chicken portion equaling only 4 Tablespoons. Certainly not enough to turn a salad into a meal. Not to mention I was a little less than excited about the long list of ingredients and odd barley or rice shaped bits in with the vegetables.

As I was contemplating even eating it – the first thing that popped into my head was, “I can make this, and make it healthier and certainly tastier!”  And so the Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Topper was created!  I love having all the ingredients right in the freezer to top my favorite salad greens at any time!  And talk about Easy Peasey Prep? All you have to do is take the packets of toppings and dressings out of the freezer in the morning and allow them to thaw on the countertop until lunchtime, or if you are in a pinch (or not a forward planner as I am sometimes) you can always take them straight from the freezer to the micro to defrost and heat before adding to your favorite salad greens.

And of course lastly – COST!! The Lean Cuisine Salad Additions was $2.89 at my local grocer.  The ingredients and storage bags for the Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Topper was less than $2.25 but yielded more than double the amount of ingredients.

 

Lean Cuisine Copy Cat Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Topper

Author/Source:

lisa @ onceamonthmeals.com

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons red raspberry preserves
  • 0.125 cups olive oil
  • 0.125 cups rice vinegar

Directions:

Place desired salad greens on plate.  Top with chicken, dried cranberries, pecans, broccoli, red pepper and red onion. In a small bowl, whisk together red raspberry preserves, olive oil and rice vinegar.  Top salad with dressing and enjoy.

Freezing Directions:

Place all salad ingredients (not including lettuce) into a quart sized freezer storage bag.  Whisk dressing ingredients together and place in pint size freezer storage bag. Place small bag of dressing into larger bag of salad toppings.  Label and freeze.  TO SERVE: Remove from freezer and allow to thaw.  Place toppings atop your favorite salad greens.  Knead dressing packet and pour over salad.

Servings: 1 hearty salad

 

**conversion chart image provided by Erik Spiekermann

8 Responses to “Better than the Freezer Aisle: Lean Cuisine Copy Cat Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Topper”

  1. Jessica says:

    This is a great idea! Can you please create Paleo friendly Salad Additions for next month’s Paleo menu?

    • lisa says:

      Jessica – This could easily be made Paleo by using unsweetened cranberries, pastured chicken, and for the dressing you could just omit the raspberry perserves and just crush some fresh raspberries in the dressing blend. Enjoy!

  2. Stacy V. says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I was just in the freezer isle at my grocery store last night, coupon in hand to purchase this very item. Until… I realized I had to buy three! Ugh. I really need to invest in another freezer as I’m limited on space.

    I was also disappointed to find it in the freezer isle as I was hoping it would be something a bit more fresh. I don’t really like hot food mixed in my salads.

    Looks like I have everything on hand so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m having for dinner tonight. :)

  3. Aldene says:

    Wonderful; I saw this product advertised on TV and thought, what a great idea, and then, I bet I could create this. You’ve saved me the trouble! I bet steaming tempeh and substituting it for the chicken would work, too. Thanks!

  4. Lisa says:

    I love this addition of adult lunches. These are perfect for eating healthy lunches at work. I hope to see more of these types recipes in the future.

  5. Bethany says:

    Thank you! I would LOVE a similar recipe for the Asian-style salad. I am going to work on it, but can never seem to nail it. And not sure the best way to freeze those ingredients well?

    • lisa says:

      Bethany – We always welcome suggestions! Let us know if you try your hand at an Asian salad topper and how it goes. In the meantime, to answer your question on what ingredients freeze well – check out our post on “What you Can and Can’t Freeze”.

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