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Did you know that September is National Cholesterol Awareness month? This is something that hits very close to home for me and something that I try to stay aware of all year long. Heart health is a pretty big issue in our family. Three of my grandparents lost their lives to heart-attacks when I was just a little girl, and my father has had three minor heart attacks in the past decade. Poor eating habits were major factors for all of them, therefore I have always made it a mission to educate and encourage my children and husband to make better food choices.This doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to all the foods you love! One way that I enjoy teaching my family about better food choices is showing them lighter options for foods that we love. One method I have chosen is to cook our food with Mazola® Corn Oil. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com. Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for your family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health.
The first step in this recipe is to bake your chicken! Yes you read that correctly… you are going to bake 2 large boneless chicken breasts for this recipe. I prefer this cooking method because baking chicken breasts (rather than frying in a pan or boiling) helps the meat to retain more of its naturally mild flavor. That way you get more natural flavors and there won’t be a need to season them with salt. Preheat your oven to 350 F°, brush Mazola Corn Oil on both sides of your chicken, and allow to bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Mazola has a smoke point higher than most cooking oils at 450°F and performs well in a variety of cooking applications. Many home cooks may not realize all cooking oils have a smoke point that, once exceeded, negatively affect the food’s flavor and nutritional value. Let the chicken breasts cool and then cut them into cubes for your chicken salad.
Homemade Avocado Mayo
The hardest part of the recipe is over, now all that is left to do is make your homemade avocado mayo and mix into the chicken, along with your other ingredients. Making my own lighter version of traditional mayo is another way I have chosen to make this recipe lighter! For this delicious and light avocado mayo, all you will need to do is mix a list of light ingredients in the blender. One of the major swaps I made in this recipe was using the Mazola Corn Oil in place of regular vegetable oil, which made the the ultimate lighter homemade mayo!
Ingredients & Directions:
- 2/3 Cup Mashed Avocado
- 2 tsp White Vinegar
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 3/4 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 2 TBSP Mazola® Corn Oil
- Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy.
Chicken Salad Ingredients & Directions
- Mix your chopped chicken and avocado mayo in a mixing bowl
- Mix in dried cherries, chopped celery and cherry tomatoes
- Add pepper and any other seasoning you prefer
- Scoop chicken salad into lettuce wraps
Your next step involves mixing the mayo and chicken, along with your favorite add-in ingredients. For this recipe I added diced celery, dried cranberries and a few diced cherry tomatoes, but there are so many more healthy foods you can toss in there such as cut up grapes, walnuts, dried cherries, almonds, and chopped red pepper to name a few!
My final swap out ingredient is serving the chicken salad in lettuce wedges instead of bread, which is not only much lighter, but a lot more appetizing in my opinion! If you go with large lettuce wraps such as I did, they are perfect for slicing up into portions so you can serve them as finger foods at a family party or BBQ.
What I love so much about this recipe is that despite swapping out so many ingredients for lighter alternatives, it did not compromise the recipe! The chicken salad still has the same texture as the traditional recipe and you can barely detect the taste of avocado. I was expecting this avocado mayo to give the recipe an overpowering flavor of avocado, however the chicken is so fresh and flavorful, that is all you can taste with every bite!
Have you tried making sandwiches with lettuce wraps instead of bread? This is something I just recently started doing and I regret not making the switch sooner! The lettuce surprisingly adds a lot more flavor and there is something about the crunch of the lettuce that makes it even more enjoyable. I don’t think I could ever go back to using bread now! Be prepared for lots of recipes involving lettuce wraps on my blog in the future, haha!
Heart health is something we should be practicing all year long, not just in the month of September. However, I am the first one to admit that life can get hectic and falling back on old habits is easy. Take time with me over this month to deciding where we can make better choices and seeing where we can swap out lighter ingredients in your recipes when cooking at home!
Let me know in the comment section down below if you gave this recipe a try and how it turned out!