What did you do last weekend? I toured the Tyson Food headquarters, attended a cocktail party at Crystal Bridges Art Museum, attended blogging business education sessions, went out to dinner (about a bazillion times! Seriously, there was SO much delicious food.) and attended a slumber party, PLUS a masquerade ball — all in the company of my chicken, Rootbeer. 🙂 I also had the great good fortune to attend all of those events with the other two Tyson VIPs, Lyuba Brooke, owner of Will Cook for Smiles, and Sean Weber, owner of Snack Fixation. I am a fan of both, with so much respect for their fabulous photography and blogging skills, so it was a tremendous blessing to get to meet them in person and, over the weekend, become friends. Besides being extraordinary bloggers, they are two of my all-time favorite people — smart, funny and incredibly kind. Be sure to check out their blogs!
My other “homey” for the weekend was, of course, Rootbeer. He met me at the airport and rode, peeking out the top of my purse, all four days. We went to Tyson Foods, together. He was with me everywhere; and believe me, he never missed a meal. He always woke up first and headed for breakfast. He attended every conference session and lunch. He was there for the #MealsTogether dinner Tyson Foods sponsored for every blogger at SoFabCon. (He and I were in the group that ate at Houlihans. DELISH and so much fun!) Rootbeer also attended a cocktail party with me at Crystal Bridges Art Museum, a slumber party/dance sponsored by Nick Mom and celebrated Social Fabric’s fifth birthday at a masquerade ball. He was a faithful companion. 🙂
Besides the regular conference sessions and events, the three of us were treated to a private tour of Tyson Food’s headquarters. From the moment we arrived we were greeted with smiles and warm welcomes. We were drawn in and made to feel like family. The facility, there, is beautiful and I would never have expected to find it, but the halls of Tyson Foods are decorated with beautiful, artistic masterpieces by both local and classic artists. The favored genre was definitely western art and it was represented in watercolor, oils, drawings, ceramics and sculpture.
Our tour was as much about the history of Tyson Foods, as it was about food. We got to see a museum, of sorts, that housed many artifacts that had been part of the corporation from it’s humble beginnings in the Depression era, through it’s growth over many decades and generations, to today. I enjoyed being able to learn about the ethics, standards and ideals of the company’s founder and how his beliefs, extraordinary vision and creativity are still woven into the day-to-day work and activities at Tyson Foods. Tyson is so family and community oriented. I loved learning about all the work they do to alleviate childhood hunger and to be a physically present source of encouragement, hope and hot meals around our nation when we are touched by disasters, like the tornadoes that hit parts of Arkansas this month. Tyson Foods didn’t just send a check, they loaded up semi trucks with grills and food and spent weeks cooking and serving more than 60,000 hot meals to the tornado victims. Did you know they did the same thing at Ground Zero and the Pentagon, after 9/11 or that this isn’t the first time they have traveled to feed and help disaster victims around the United States? Me either, but I’m glad to know it. It fits with the growing picture I have of the kind of corporation Tyson Foods is.
Don’t get the wrong impression, that I didn’t do anything food related at Tyson Foods, though. There was definitely food…lots and lots of food! My favorite part of the afternoon at Tyson was spending time with the food scientists in the test kitchens. We learned about new products, some I can share and some that are secret! We were part of a new product focus group and we tasted so many delicious products. Did you know Tyson Foods is not just chicken? They produce beef, pork and eggs, too!
The conference itself was two days of educational sessions and keynote speakers, all geared at helping bloggers grow their brand, market it in a professional way and serve their readers with content that meets their needs. The information was over-the-top informative and my head is still spinning and trying to absorb all that I learned, so I can fully implement it in my business and blogging plan. Some of the topics included utilizing social media, implementing good SEO tactics, photography, videography, maximizing the potential of Google+, working with brands and so much more. It was a fantastic series of courses that helped to increase my blogging skill set. Thanks again, Tyson Foods and #CollectiveBias, for making it possible for me to attend.
As you can imagine, I was definitely fired up, yet, physically, exhausted when our weekend was over. I was just mentally tired from all the ideas I had spinning in my head. Add to that a long flight home and then landing to find that we were in the middle of tornadoes and flooding and as you can imagine, cooking an involved meal was not high on my list of priorities, my first night home. Tyson rescued me, though, with their new Grilled and Ready Chicken Strips. I tossed together a quick and easy, not to mention delicious and portable meal in only a few minutes. Chicken salad is a well-balanced dish, nutritionally, and it’s one that is very forgiving. Rather than one specific recipe, I tend to mix it up based on what I have in the fridge and pantry at the moment. So, that ‘s what I did and it turned out amazing. Since I saved all that time using Grilled and Ready Chicken, I had time to sit, relax, reconnect with my family and share all the details of my trip. They didn’t know it, but Tyson was still inspiring #MealsTogether for me. I think you’ll love this quick and easy recipe for Honey Pecan Cherry Chicken Salad. Enjoy!
The first thing you’ll do to put this simple meal together is gather and prep the ingredients. Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips saved me tons of time, making it possible to get the food ready with absolutely no cooking! Their Grilled and Ready products are a perfect solution for busy nights, like this one, where there just isn’t time to start from scratch. I pick up Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken in the freezer case at my local Walmart.
First, dice the chicken and chop the celery, cherries, parsley and pecans. Combine them all in a medium mixing bowl.
Mix together yogurt and honey to create the sauce.
Add cinnamon, allspice, and salt and pepper. Then mix it into the chicken and vegetables.
This salad would be scrumptious in Romaine or Bibb lettuce wraps. You could also use it to stuff bell peppers or simply serve it on chilled salad plates with a lettuce leaf underneath. We like it in sandwiches, specifically pita pocket sandwiches. They’re a perfectly portable, nutritionally balanced and easy meal for on-the-go days.
- 3 cups, Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips, diced
- 20 sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
- 4 Tablespoons raw, unfiltered honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- whole grain pita pockets
- Mix chicken, pecans, parsley, celery and cherries in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine yogurt, honey, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper to make the dressing.
- Pour dressing over the chicken mixture and stir to combine.
- The salad can be served immediately, but the flavors meld and intensify if you have time to let it rest in the refrigerator. It's even better the next day, so don't worry if you have leftovers.
- Serve stuffed into whole grain pita pockets with romaine lettuce.
What quick and easy combinations would you use with Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips? Do you have a signature chicken salad recipe? Or is it more of a “flexible formula” based on what you have in the fridge? What’s your favorite quick meal solution? Leave a comment and share your delicious ideas!