Chicken Salad in Bell Pepper Rings

Chicken Salad in Bell Pepper Rings

Edible bell pepper rings filled with chilled chicken salad. What would bring a smile to Mom for brunch on her special day more than these edible flower rings? I can’t think of a single thing.

These little bell pepper rings are so pretty on a plate – delicious and good for you, too. I used my favorite chicken salad recipe, but you could use any cold chopped salad you like. The possibilities are endless, I say. Egg Salad. Tuna Salad. Pasta Salad. I am going to be using this technique again and again, with a different filling each time.

We are fans here at Apron Strings of edible “rings” for food. Our first try was eggs in bell pepper rings. We loved this idea so much we made many versions: Eggs in Avocados, Eggs in Onion Rings, and the list goes on and on with eggs. Why not with chicken salad?

Mom deserves  to eat festive food, after all.

Chicken Salad in Bell Pepper Rings
Prep time
Total time
Chicken Salad in pretty pepper rings - a festive addition to your next brunch!
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
  • 4 cups cooked cubed chicken
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 cup halved grapes
  • ½ cup diced pecans
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced dill
  • ¼ cup plain or vanilla Greek yoghurt
  • 3 bell peppers, any color
  1. Mix all ingredients together and chill at least 2 hours.
  2. When ready to serve, stir in additional Greek yogurt if desired to make the salad creamy.
  3. Spoon into bell pepper rings that are cut about 2 inches thick.

CReative spins on chicken salad that are on my Must Try list:

Shredded Chicken Salad, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad, Budget Bytes
Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad, Copycat Recipes
Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad, Closet Cooking
Pineapple Chicken Salad, Annie’s Eats
Low Fat Chicken Salad with Curry and Apricots, Cookin’ Canuck

Spinach Souffle Hash Brown Nests

Spinach Souffle Hash Brown Nests

Saint Patrick Day at the Kelly house starts with breakfast. Green breakfast, naturally.

I love these little crunchy hash brown nests with spinach soufflés in the center. Crunchy and soft and pillowy all in one bite!

When I was a newlywed, I was excited to have a new Irish last name. So, I went all out. Green pancakes. Green orange juice. Green syrup. Green scrambled eggs. But now I go more for food that is not just colored – not just a few drops of green in non-green food. Now I go more for naturally green food.

Take these little souffle nests, for example. Pretty green – naturally.easy spinach recipe

These are great for breakfast, of course, but also good as a side dish or as an appetizer.

So pretty on plate!

– posted by Donna

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St Patrick’s Favorite Popcorn with Matcha and Herbs

Matcha and Herb Popcorn

Have you discovered matcha? As a woman who is “pleasingly plump” and just had her second brush with cancer, I am a huge fan. Why is everyone talking about matcha these days? Because matcha is powerful as a cancer fighting food and as fat burner. One teaspoon of matcha has the same health benefits as 10 cups of green tea – because it is ground green tea leaves, not just green tea from soaking green tea leaves.

And that is why I believe that St Patrick would approve of this popcorn.

Of course this adds a healthy touch to popcorn, but the shock was that it is really delicious. It has a salty, cheesy taste and feel and richness from the matcha. I used nutritional yeast, but Parmesan cheese would work just as well.

So, whip up a batch of this to snack on whilst you’re watching, say Darby O’Gill and the Little People, or any other leprechaun delight. Our family favorite is Darby. The fiddle scene alone is worth the watch!

Luck O’ the Irish to All!

– posted by Donna

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Twice Baked Four Leaf Potatoes for St. Paddy’s

Four kinds of greens jazz up these cheesy classics for St. Patrick’s Day. 

twice baked potatoesTwice Baked Potatoes are always crowd pleasers, and adding some emerald greens makes them even more fitting as St. Patrick’s Day fare. Kale, chard, spinach, and parsley add up to four “leaves”.  Get it? I know you do. This recipe was a hit with adults and veggie-reluctant kids alike. I used the twice baked method recommended by the good people at America’s Test Kitchen. They might even be lucky!

Included is a tested and approved dairy-free version in the notes after the main recipe, made using Daiya products, which are soy-free and by far the best non-dairy cheeses I’ve ever tried. …

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Savory Valentine’s Day Roundup

A roundup of  savory Valentine treats!


Sweetheart Shrimp over Couscous

We love sweet treats for Valentine’s Day as much as the next food fanatics, but sometimes you just need to have a good, solid, savory romantic meal before you dive into a pile of fudge or mousse or creme brulee. This year we thought we’d share just a few of our own savory Valentine’s Day creations, and then, of course, share recipes and ideas we love from other bloggers, too.

Happy Happy-Couple’s-Day, everyone!

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Hoppin’ John Salad for a Lucky New Year

A salad spin on the traditional New Year’s Day dish

Hoppin’ John Salad to start your New Year off right!

Even if cornbread, collards and blackeyed peas with bacon or ham weren’t reputed to bring one wealth, luck and overall prosperity in the the year to come when eaten on New Year’s Day, I’d still enjoy eating them all. Hoppin’ John is the component of the  New Year’s meal from the American South that brings prosperity, and if you save some for leftovers the following day, it becomes “Skippin’ Jenny”, which demonstrates your commendable frugality and further increases your chances of manifesting that prosperity.

We though we’d try a salad variation of Hoppin’ John, and since it’s a bean salad, it definitely keeps well and even improves for a next-day reprise. There’s one collard leaf in there, less for flavor and more for tradition, though I love any extra green in a salad like this. You could also omit the ham for a still-totally-flavorful vegetarian version. …

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Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Cranberries and cream cheese are a match made in heaven.

You can find some gems while flipping through magazines waiting at the beauty salon. Like this cheesecake from Woman’s Day magazine, for instance.

This cheesecake looks so pretty and festive on a plate (you can skip sprinkling on the extra chocolate crumbs if you want a more pristine look), but the reason to make this cheesecake is the light, fluffy texture and the tart swirl on the top made from cranberries and raspberries cooked down and strained.

I don’t even normally like cheesecake, by the by, but this one has won my taste buds over.

It is a cinch to throw together, but will look like you’ve slaved for hours. A win-win in my book!

Happy Holly Days, food friends!

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DIY Jeweled Rice Pilaf Mix for a Gift from Your Kitchen

Jeweled Rice Pilaf Mix

Give a Savory Food Gift this Holiday Season

Persian Jeweled rice is a dish that is made for special occasions, I am guessing because it looks so festive, and the taste is exotic and unexpected. It’s not just plain old rice pilaf.

I love to give gifts from my kitchen for holiday gifts, but I wanted to make something that isn’t just the usual cookie or brownie mix in a jar. I wanted something savory that will require minimum fuss to go from jar to table.

This jeweled rice pilaf mix fits the bill perfectly. It only takes a few  minutes of prep time, and then your friends and family will think you have been slaving for hours.

I did substitute a few things to keep the cost down. Traditionally, saffron would be used, but I added a little curry powder for taste and color. And, the traditional nut is pistachios, but I like pecans. You can use whatever spice and whatever nut you like.

The flavors and textures are such an unexpected treat – sweet and salty, soft and crunchy – a party in your mouth!

Just put this mix in layers in a pretty jar and attach the directions and there you have it – the perfect food gift!

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Cranberry Orange Nut Cookies Cookie Exchange and Cookies for Santa’s Milk Drive

Cranberry Orange Walnut Cookies

All the Christmas flavors in one little cookie.

Let the Christmas cookie season begin!

This cookie packs so many holiday flavors into one little cookie: cranberries, orange and walnuts. They truly are packed with flavor, and so many wonderful textures.

These cookies are dairy free as well, so you can serve them up to even the vegans on your cookie list!

Christmas is the one time of year that I do actual baking, so I need recipes that are easy and no-fail, like these cookies. I promise you will not be disappointed – they are like a burst of sunshine in your mouth!

We are thrilled to be joining the Cookie Exchange put together by Liz Latham at Hoosier Homemade – please visit these food blogs for their fabulous recipes!


And, cookies are just so much more delicious with milk, as any kid can tell you. Did you know that milk is one of the items which food banks never get enough of during the holidays? Please consider donating to Santa’s Milk Drive this holiday season by visiting and donating a gallon of milk.

Santa just might put you on the “nice list” if you do!


Happy Cookie Days, All!

– posted by Donna

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2014 Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

We all need some 11th hour inspiration from time to time. If you’re still working out the kinks in your menu, here are some  favorite fun ideas.

What sweet little Thanksgiving Turkeys.


For starters, if you have a lot of kids in attendance, here are a few fun ideas to keep them occupied AND make some great contributions to the feasting table. As per the picture above, try making some adorable candy turkeys. Check out the video below: …

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