Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

Chopped salads are my favorite salads… they’re just so fun to eat! This version combines chicken, cabbage, carrots, and mango but the peanut butter based dressing takes the cake by far! :)

Thai Chopped Salad: a hearty winter salad everyone will love!

Salad in January? So cliched, I know. Especially since last week with that Amish Cheeseburger Soup I talked about how we didn’t need to just ‘eat healthy’ in January. Ummm, right. :) But still, I stand by what I say… and salads are definitely part of our normal meals. Normally, our salads are pretty standard: romaine/spring mix/spinach, carrots, peppers, cucumber, maybe tomatoes or mushrooms or something else based on what’s in season. Dressing, yes… croutons, cheese… maybe. But never anything too exciting, unless I make a salad for our main course. Then, it is GOOD STUFF! And this salad is good stuff. :)

Thai Chopped Salad: a hearty winter salad everyone will love!

Every bit of this salad is incredible, and it’s perfect for the winter since it’s so hearty and filling, and isn’t your typical bunny rabbit salad fare. :) This salad is basic and fancy all at once, with a basic chicken-cabbage-carrot mixture dressed up with mango, cilantro, green onions, and peanuts. But the best part of this salad by far is the peanut butter-based dressing… it’s just SO flavorful, tangy, and fantastic. The salad easily serves four, so what we do is divide everything in half and eat half for dinner, and save half for lunch the next day. Leftovers will do okay in the fridge for the next day, but for best results combine the salad and dressing immediately before serving–hence dividing everything in half before serving. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

one year ago: Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole
two years ago: Oreo Ice Cream Pie
three years ago: Lemon Cranberry Muffins
four years ago: Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls
five years ago: Caramelized Onion Dip

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Print

from Pinch of Yum


for the salad

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken [I used some from a chicken we roasted earlier in the week, but a rotisserie chicken would be great too!]
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage [I’ve used green, red, and a combination]
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot [about 3-4 medium]
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mango [or green papaya if you can find it]
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped [about 1/2 a bunch]
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

for the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter [natural works great–just microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt a little if it’s too hard to combine]
  • 1/4 cup water


Combine chicken, cabbage, carrots, mango, cilantro, and green onions in a large bowl. Toss to combine, then stick in the fridge while you prepare the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, honey, lime juice, oil, fish sauce, garlic, and cayenne. Add peanut butter and water and whisk again until smooth.

When ready to serve, pour half of the dressing over the salad, then sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Add more dressing to taste, or save for later–the dressing will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Leftovers will be okay in the fridge for the next day, but for best results combine the salad and dressing immediately before serving.


Menu Plan

Menu Plan |

Week of January 10

Sunday: Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Monday: Skillet Italian Sausage & Rice – also planning on jazzing it up by adding extra rice & some red beans… yum :)
Tuesday: Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche/Pie depending on what I feel like :)
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: working late… so something simple after I get home
Friday: out to eat
Saturday: Mom’s Lasagna

Amish Cheeseburger Soup

A cheesy, creamy, and hearty soup… if you haven’t had cheeseburger soup before, you are in for a treat!

Amish Cheeseburger Soup on thepajamachef.comI know January is supposed to be all about healthy recipes and “cutting back.” That’s not exactly my philosophy though. I don’t say this to be all holier than thou or anything, and I don’t think I’m being naive/blind, but I don’t think I really indulge to levels of epic proportions during the holiday season. I’ve never been able to eat and eat and eat beyond the point of fullness, and if I did, it won’t be on traditional holiday fare [it would be on some sort of baked pasta :)]. So while I’m all for a reset in January of healthy habits, I’m still all about moderation and enjoying all food all year round. Hence a cheesy, comforting soup in January. :)

Amish Cheeseburger Soup on

There’s honestly not too much to say about this soup… it’s like a cheeseburger in a bowl, minus the bun of course! LOL. Plenty of cheese, sour cream, hamburger meat, potatoes, and some veggies to thicken it up! I did healthify the original recipe by using real cheese instead of Velveeta, but feel free to use either to suit your family’s preferences. Ben and I loved every bowl of this soup! I will be honest, it’s not one I’d make every week or even every month, but it is a hearty, comforting meal on occasion. It would be a wonderful addition for a soup potluck–it’s definitely different from anything anyone else would bring, I’m sure! Enjoy! :)

one year ago: Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins
two years ago: Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears
three years ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
four years ago: Lasagna Soup
five years ago: Whole-Wheat Corn Bread

Amish Cheeseburger Soup

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Print

adapted from 4 Little Fergusons


  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, diced [about 3-4 carrots]
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, diced [about 4 stalks]
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed [about 2 pounds]
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups skim milk, room temperature
  • 16 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 16 ounces sour cream


In a large stockpot set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add carrots, celery, and onion and saute for 8-10 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, cook ground chuck through. Drain off fat and set aside.

When vegetables are cooked, season with parsley, basil, and pepper, then add chicken broth and potatoes. Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking until potatoes are soft and tender.

While potatoes are cooking, in a separate saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the remaining butter. When melted, slowly whisk in flour to make a roux. Constantly stir for 1 minute, until bubbly. Slowly pour in room temperature milk, stirring continually until mixture thickens. If you use skim milk this may take longer but it will happen. Then pour in potato mixture along with ground chuck and shredded cheese. Reduce heat to low and cook until everything is incorporated and cheese is melted.

Off heat, stir in sour cream. Cover and let rest for a few minutes, then season with additional herbs or pepper.

Note: I think it’d be great to add some diced tomatoes to the soup next time!

What I’m Into (December 2015)

What’s Been Happening

Ohh ya know… I can’t fake it anymore. Guess what? We made a little announcement on Facebook a few days before Christmas… Merry Christmas from our family of THREE! EEEEE!

What I'm Into (December 2015) -



I’m due in May [and can hardly believe I’ve kept it a secret online all this time, hence all the vague “it’s been a busy month” references this fall] and we just found out that the baby is a BOY!

What I'm Into (December 2015) -

In the midst of this excitement, we had a great Christmas with both our families and have had a nice nearly two weeks’ off from before Christmas to January 4th. So relaxing. After Christmas, I did some baby shopping/browsing… so fun! :) I even found an ergobaby carrier for 50% off at Target. You better believe I snatched that up! I also did a lot of reading to meet my yearly reading goal [see below] but I realize that’s not nearly as exciting for most people. Hehehe!

Ran a 5K downtown on this beautiful sunshiny morning! #rudolphsrednoserun #nashville #5k #running

A photo posted by Sarah K. // The Pajama Chef (@thepajamachef) on

We also ran a 5k in downtown Nashville… there was even hot chocolate after the race! :)

What I’m Reading

In December, I read/listened to 10 books–just enough to meet my goal of reading 120 books for the year! You can, as always, find my reviews on Goodreads. :)

What I'm Into (December 2015) -

My favorite book was In The Woods–I think I’m going to like that series! The Distant Hours by Kate Morton was also good, but slow. A great audiobook was The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, about a murder in 1860 England. Kinda creepy at times though, so you may not want to listen late at night. :)

Some great articles I’ve read online this month include:


What I’ve Been Cooking

This year, we didn’t make tons of Christmas cookies. I made these awesome No-Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars, Sugar Cookies, and Cranberry Cookies. Other than that, I don’t think I cooked very much… lots of Christmas events and such. I plan to cook a lot more in January! :)

What’s on the Blog

My most new popular recipe in December was Cheesy Southwest Farro. This will be on our menu again soon!

Cheesy Southwest Farro: a healthy, delicious dish good any time of the day! Plus you can make it in less than 30 minutes, so it's perfect for busy schedules. :)

Most popular recipes from the archive included: Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake, Sausage, Apple, and Egg Casserole, and Buffalo Pretzels.

What were you into in December?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately. 


Invitation: Make Mrs. Enger’s Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Frosting + Read Peace Like a River with #bookclubcookbookCC

Happy January! With the new month and new year, there are new things… but also old habits to pick back up. The latest in my life is picking back up The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.* It’s my turn this month to host #bookclubcookbookCC, and I’m so excited!

New to #bookclubcookbookCC? Basically, here’s how it goes. Our group of eleven bloggers takes turns selecting a recipe from the cookbook–reading the actual book is welcome, but completely optional–and during that month we cook and post our variations and adaptations. At the end of the month, the hostess posts a round-up of the recipes and gives away a copy of the book!

Judy, Vicki, and their publisher, Tarcher-Penguin, have provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. Woohoo. Incredibly generous. You can follow this project on social media with the hashtag #bookclubcookbookCC. We’ll be posting all of our creations to our Pinterest board. Here’s the group, in alphabetical order, with links to their homepages.

A Day in the Life on the Farm
Adventures in All Things Food
Cheese Curd In Paradise
Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Life on Food
Mostly Food and Crafts
The Pajama Chef
The Spiffy Cookie
Things I Make (for Dinner)
Tortillas and Honey

As I said before, I’m excited to host this month! While there are eleven of us on the main team for this series, any blogger can join the fun! This month, I chose for us to read Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and make Mrs. Enger’s Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Frosting. Mmm!

Peace Like a River #bookclubcookbookCC

How to Participate

  1. Draw inspiration from the chosen recipe(s). You can make the recipe below, something else inspired by the book, or your favorite cinnamon roll recipe [exact or derived].
  2. Blog about it! It doesn’t have to be a lengthy post. Just share your dish.
  3. Include a link back to the hosting blog, The Pajama Chef [that’s me!] somewhere in your post.
  4. Include a link back to this invitation.
  5. Your post must be current, during January 2016. And, of course,we don’t mind if your post is linked to other events. The more, the merrier. Posts must be submitted by 6 pm Central Time on Friday, January 29, 2016.
  6. Email your entries to me at: pajamachef[at]gmail[dot]com and include:
  • Your name
  • Your blog’s name and URL
  • The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you’re submitting
  • Attach a photo of any size
  • Indicate #bookclubcookbookCC in the subject line

This Month’s Recipe

Mrs. Enger's Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Frosting

  • Servings: 4 dozen rolls
  • Print

Reproduced with permission from the publisher from The Book Club Cookbook



  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or lard
  • 1 scant tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 6 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 cups flour
  • Melted butter


  • Coffee
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Make the rolls: Bring to a boil 2 cups water, the honey, and oil or lard. Allow to cool.

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water, with a dab of honey to hasten proofing. Put cinnamon and granulated sugar in a bowl and mix.

Place cooled water-honey-oil mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the eggs and salt. Add the yeast mixture. Stir in flour; you want a fairly stiff dough, so you may need to adjust the amount.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead well 15-20 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball, place in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside to rise at least 3 hours.

Punch the dough down and knead a few minutes. Roll out dough thin—it will make 2 or 3 large flats. Brush the top surface with melted butter, then lay on a heavy coat of cinnamon and sugar. Roll flats up into tight cylinders and pinch the edges together to seal. Slice cylinders into three or four dozen rolls, place on jelly-roll pans, and allow to rise overnight, covered.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls 18 to 20 minutes.

To make the coffee frosting: While the first batch bakes, set up a pot of strong coffee. Have a cup, then splash 1/2-3/4 cup in a bowl containing confectioners’ sugar and melted butter. Stir until smooth and not too thin. Drizzle over the warm cinnamon rolls, or spread it on with a knife.

This month I am giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!
One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – will win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from January 1st till January 31st at 6 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.
Enter here –> a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.