Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

By | 4th of July, Buffets, Chicken, Easy Dinners, Entertaining, Holidays + Seasons, Kid Friendly Dinners, Kids, Main Dish, Meat + Poultry, Mother's Day, One Dish Meals, Party Foods, Pasta, Picnics, Salads, Spring, Summertime Favorites, Uncategorized | No Comments

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad with juicy oranges, radishes and snow peas makes eating salad your new favorite thing!

By adding some crunchy ramen noodles to this Asian-inspired salad, you get a more filling, fun meal. There are a few recipes for ramen noodle salads out there, using different dressings and flavors. I love fresh veggies and cabbage with sesame dressings. That Asian flavor isn’t overpowering like an Italian vinaigrette, and I usually have the ingredients for it in my pantry. I used my Ginger Sesame Dressing on this version.

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

I saved us all about ten steps by calling for coleslaw mix! You’re welcome. This Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad comes together in a flash with pantry staples like ramen and salad mix. I added chopped cashews for extra yum.

Crunchy Chicken Noodle SaladI call for letting the salad rest in the fridge for a bit. This allows the dressing to soften the noodles a little. They are just a little too crunchy without resting. I used a mandolin to slice my radishes so thin. You can just slice with a knife if you like, or even just cut them into slivers.

To cut the orange I supremed it. That means I cut the fruit away from the membrane. Simply cut the rind off of the entire orange and cut on either side of each slice of orange, slipping it right out. I then just cut the slices into bite-sized pieces.

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Calories per serving: 410

Fat per serving: 17.5 g

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

You can substitute a can of mandarin oranges for the orange and try any kind of nut in place of cashews.


  • 1 pkg ramen noodles (discard flavor packet)
  • 1½ cups diced cooked chicken
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz (1 cup) snow peas, chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted cashews
  • 1 16-oz pkg coleslaw mix
  • ¾ cup sesame ginger dressing Ginger Sesame Dressing


  1. Break uncooked ramen into small pieces in a large bowl. Combine with chicken, radishes, orange, scallion, snow peas, cashews and coleslaw.
  2. Toss salad with dressing, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 25 min or up to 1 hr. Noodles will get softer the longer they sit.
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Right now I’m on a salad diet! I went on a trip and ate too too much! So…salad for me. But I have lots of great recipes, so if you’re in the same boat, or just love fresh dinners for summer, try The New Wedge Salad, with iceberg lettuce, beets, pancetta, hazelnuts and of course blue cheese. Chicken and Rice Lettuce Wraps are kind of a salad you can eat in your hand! I made a flavorful rice salad and you wrap your own portion in soft butter lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Recipe by Tara Bench
Photography by Antonis Achilleos
Food Styling by Paul Grimes
Prom Styling by Paige Hicks
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal May 2011

Crunchy Bacon Granola puts bacon where it should be, in everything! This slightly sweet, nutty granola is your new brunch go-to.

Crunchy Bacon Granola

By | Breakfast + Brunch, Buffets, Entertaining, Uncategorized | One Comment

Crunchy Bacon Granola puts bacon where it should be, in everything! This slightly sweet, nutty granola is your new brunch go-to.

I eat granola for breakfast. I eat bacon at breakfast. I figure why not combine the two! You’re probably wondering though, what do you eat bacon granola with? Well it’s really quite simple: It goes with just about everything.
If you’re not eating it right out of hand as a fantastic snack, your imagination is your guide.

Crunchy Bacon Granola

I like it with plain tangy yogurt. The sweet maple comes in to play here, but the simple yogurt flavor works well with the more savory taste of bacon. I also love it sprinkled on top of hot cereal. It is to die for over cream of wheat, with just a little extra drizzle of maple. MMM!
And one of my favorite ways to eat it is over grits. Cheesy or not! Again you get that sweet and savory situation going on that is quite delicious.

Crunchy Bacon Granola

It’s a very simple granola recipe. Most granola starts with plenty of rolled oats as a base, but I bulked this recipe up with coconut chips and nuts. I only used 1 cup of rolled oats because I wanted this granola to be a great topper for hot cereal. It is! Pure maple syrup and coconut oil give the mixture a sweet flavor and crispy texture. I cooked the bacon before roasting it with the rest of the granola. That extra bake in the oven crisps it perfectly.

Crunchy Bacon Granola

The granola can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but I suggest keeping it in the fridge just as a food safety precaution thing. Enjoy!

For other brunch buffet recipes, try my Easy Cinnamon Rolls and World’s Best Bran Muffins.

Crunchy Bacon Granola

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 9 cups

Crunchy Bacon Granola

Serve with tangy yogurt or sprinkle it on top of grits or hot cereal.


  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup coconut or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, sliced


  1. Heat oven to 325ºF. Cook bacon until done, but not crisp and chop into small pieces.
  2. In a large bowl mix the bacon, coconut chips, flaxseed, oats, sunflower seeds and nuts.
  3. In a small saucepan heat the oil, syrup, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the nut mixture and combine. Mix in the egg white and spread granola on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 min, then let cool 20 min. Stir in dates. Store in an airtight container, int refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
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Recipe by Tara Bench
Photos Peter Ardito
Food Styling Paul Grimes
Prop Styling Penelope Bouklas
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal April 2014


Asian Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing

By | 4th of July, Buffets, Chicken, Easy Dinners, Entertaining, Healthy + Diet, Holidays + Seasons, Main Dish, Meat + Poultry, Mother's Day, One Dish Meals, Salads, Side Dishes, Spring, Summertime Favorites, Vegetables | No Comments

It’s so easy to slice veggies for an Asian slaw and whisk up Sesame Ginger Dressing, that dinner will be ready before you know it.

Sesame ginger vinaigrette tossed with colorful Asian slaw veggies like cabbage, snow peas and peppers, has got to be one of my favorite salads. This vinaigrette is easy, and so good, you’ll want to drizzle it on everything in sight, if not drink it! But please don’t ACTUALLY drink it, because drinking salad dressing is weird and probably off-putting to your loved ones. Save some for the rest of us!

Asian Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing

I like to add chicken to my salad to make it a meal, but I regularly make this slaw without the chicken as a side; it’s also one of the best salads to make for potlucks. No one will be complaining it’s on the table!

This video I made for my post on shows how I made this salad in three minutes. Okay, okay it may have taken me a bit longer than three minutes in real life, but not much more. For more fun cooking videos subscribe to my YouTube channel Tara Teaspoon Official, here.

I used rice wine vinegar as the base for this dressing because it’s light and adds a tangy zing without overpowering the other flavors. As with all vinaigrettes, the trick is to get all of your flavorful ingredients together before adding the oil to them. The oil breaks into little teeny tiny parts when you whisk it. This separates the other ingredients and makes them float happily amidst the little oil parts. (Some people call that emulsification, but I prefer my more technical description.) The point being that your flavorful ingredients need to be nicely mixed and combined so they disperse evenly. Whisk together the honey, soy sauce, ginger and vinegar, and then taste the mixture. If you like it stronger, add a bit more soy sauce; sweeter, add more honey. When the flavor is just right, slowly whisk in the canola oil and let it break it into teeny tiny parts.

Savoy cabbage and Napa cabbage

Savoy cabbage and Napa cabbage tend to have leaves that are a bit curly, even dark green. They can both be used in Asian slaw because of their tender bite and mild flavor. In a pinch, you can substitute standard cabbage, but it has a stronger taste and takes a bit more effort to chew.

It only takes a few simple chops and slices to work through your cabbage, peppers, snow peas and scallions. You can thinly slice your cucumber as well, but I love these little paddle slicers. They make quick work of veggies (use the guard for safety, and watch those fingers).

The mandarins add juicy sweetness, but if they aren’t handy at your store, slice some orange segments into the salad instead.

In the cold winter months, I grill my chicken indoors on a grill pan, or electric grill like this one.


Asian Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 cup dressing

Salad serves 6 as a meal, 10 as a side

Asian Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Savor this seriously tasty salad with an authentic vinaigrette for a fresh, delicious dinner.


  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • Salad:
  • 4 cups Napa and, or Savoy cabbage, sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 2 mandarins, segmented
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • Grilled chicken, optional


  1. For the dressing, stir together all the ingredients except the canola oil until well combined. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly. Set aside.
  2. For the salad, toss everything in a large serving bowl, top with sliced chicken if desired. Whisk the dressing again just before drizzling on salad.
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Veggies in the winter are so tasty and healthy. For a great dinner try my Roasted Vegetable Pizza, or serve my Vegetable Trio with Orange Thyme Dressing on the side of your main dish.

This post may include affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure agreement.

Recipe and food styling Tara Bench
Photography Tara Bench
Video production Melanie Donahoo

Golden Rosemary Garlic Mixed Nuts

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Buffets, Christmas, DIY, Entertaining, Food Gifts, Holidays + Seasons, Homemade Gifts, Lifestyle, New Years, Party Foods, Snacks, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian | No Comments

Golden mixed nuts might be my new favorite party food. Gold makes everything a little more fantastic! I am loving all the edible gold food adornments, sprinkles, dusts and sprays that you can find now. Snacks for my Golden Globes viewing party just got…well…more gold!

Golden Rosemary Garlic Mixed Nuts
I wanted something easy, mostly store-bought to go with some of the other treats, snacks and drinks I am preparing. But I wanted it to be special. I’m very supportive of mixing store-bought prepared foods with things you may have made, or semi-made! Tricks like that let you enjoy the party instead of being completely exhausted from prep.

Mixed nuts are just the thing. You can add little bowls all over the room and on your buffet table so people can snack and mingle. But it is the Golden Globes! It must be just a bit fancier than a can of mixed nuts.

So…I took a can of mixed nuts and seasoned them with a little garlic, rosemary and pepper. Delicious. To make them gold, I sprayed a few with edible gold spray, which you can find in your area or here.

color mist-food spray


I’ve sprayed nuts to go on top of cookies before, so getting to that place of spraying nuts with gold, wasn’t a stretch. I love them all shimmery and metallic mixed into a simple bowl. And with simple seasonings the flavor is elevated to celebrity status. Ready for the red carpet!

sprayed nuts seasonings Golden Rosemary Garlic Mixed Nuts

Golden Rosemary Garlic Mixed Nuts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Golden Rosemary Garlic Mixed Nuts

Make these for a fancy party or special gathering. Edible gold spray makes for metallic shimmers in the bowl of savory mixed nuts.


  • 2 cups fancy mixed nuts
  • 1 can edible gold food spray
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • crushed pepper


  1. Spread ¼ cup of the nuts on a sheet of parchment. Spray with gold food spray and let dry a few minutes. Turn nuts over and spray so each nut is completely covered. Let dry.
  2. Chop 1 sprig of rosemary and leave the others intact. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the oil, garlic powder, cayenne, chopped rosemary, rosemary sprigs and pepper for 10 to 15 seconds to heat the oil. Toss the remaining mixed nuts with the oil mixture to coat.
  3. Transfer nuts to a serving bowl with the gold painted nuts mixed in and on top.
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This post may include affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

Recipe, Photo and Food Styling Tara Bench

Moroccan Shrimp With Pomegranate Sauce

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Buffets, Easy Dinners, Entertaining, Seafood | No Comments

Spiced shrimp and gloriously rich red pomegranate sauce make even the most regular of parties glam! I’m getting ready for a Golden Globes viewing party this weekend and decided I wanted even the food to be celeb-worthy. I’ve decided on a mix of apps, snacks and treats. Stay tuned the next few days for the full menu.

Shrimp as appetizers is kind of the perfect food. It’s usually one to two bites, you can flavor it a million different ways, and it can be served hot or not. With Moroccan spices it pairs well with a lemony, caramely pomegranate sauce.

Moroccan Shrimp With Pomegranate Sauce

Pomegranate molasses is a hidden treasure. In it’s simplest form it is just reduced pomegranate juice. You can purchase it at Middle Eastern markets, but it’s often hard to find, so I like to make my own.

I use it for steak and poultry sauces, vinaigrette, drizzling on roasted vegetables and swizzling into mixed drinks. It adds a bright, tangy and rich sweet flavor. When I make my own I don’t bother juicing my own pomegranates, that’s just messy! I use pomegranate juice from the grocery! I also add a little sugar and lemon to balance the flavors and help my molasses last longer in the fridge.

Moroccan Shrimp With Pomegranate SauceIt ends up being the most extraordinary dipping sauce for my Moroccan shrimp. This is such a classy dish and great for apps while entertaining, but with salad and some crusty bread, makes a great weeknight meal as well. I piled my little apps of shrimp on top of arugula for my party platter, but that’s just a pretty option.

Moroccan Shrimp With Pomegranate Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes 10 servings or 4 servings for main course.

Calories per serving: 45

Fat per serving: 1 g

Moroccan Shrimp With Pomegranate Sauce

This delicately spiced seafood dish works well as a main course or a glam starter.


  • 1 qt pomegranate juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups (4 oz) baby arugula


  1. In a pot over high heat, stir together pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice until sugar dissolves. Boil until liquid thickens and is reduced to 1 cup, about 45 min.
  2. Meanwhile, toss shrimp with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt and olive oil and stir to coat.
  3. In a bowl, toss arugula with extra lemon juice and olive oil if desired. Place on a platter.
  4. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook 2 min per side until pink and opaque; place on top of arugula. Pour sauce in a small dish for dipping.
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Recipe Tara Bench & Vanessa Seder
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Apr 2009

Photography Miki Dusterhof
Food Styling Jee Levin
Prop Styling Pamela Duncan Silver

Holiday Recipes On Studio 5

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Buffets, Candy, Christmas, DIY, Entertaining, Food Gifts, Holidays + Seasons, Homemade Gifts, Lifestyle, Meat + Poultry, Party Foods, Tips And Techniques, Tutorial, Uncategorized | No Comments

Today on tv Brooke and I talked about holiday parties, holiday recipes, food buffets, how much to serve your guests and how to make food gifts at home that look like artisan delicacies!

I love visiting the beautiful Brooke Walker on Studio 5, on KSL here in Utah. She is honestly such an amazing host. So genuine and keeps the show upbeat, positive and informative.
We had so much fun talking about (well I talked everyone’s ears off) holiday-worthy apps and bites as well as delicious sweets that are perfect gifts.
Watch below!

Spicy Grapefruit Guacamole Holiday RecipesPeanut Butter Bites Holiday RecipesWonderful-Halos-Prosciutto-Bruschetta-Bites-1024x683 (1)
palette square holiday recipesHam Gruyere Mini Turnovers Holiday RecipesGINGERBREAD Caramel Holiday Recipes

Cheeseboard Tips

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Buffets, Christmas, Entertaining, Holidays + Seasons, Party Foods, Picnics, Snacks, Summertime Favorites, Tips And Techniques, Tutorial, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | No Comments

I live on the upper west side of Manhattan. There are several grocery stores and gourmet food markets, right in my neighborhood that have the most amazing cheese counters. I’ve picked some favorites out over the years and I know a bit about different cheeses, cultures and flavors–but I’m no cheesemonger! It’s still a bit overwhelming when I go to buy a variety for a party cheeseboard.

Cheeseboard Tips
If cheesemongering isn’t your expertise, then this guide will help you. I’ve included some of my faves and others that make for a good variety and beautiful presentation on a cheese plate. Because…that’s what I’m into.

Party pointers for serving cheese:

• When you shop at your local cheese counter, or gourmet food store, ask to sample the cheeses you’re interested in buying – they expect you to.

• How much should you get?  Figure on 1-to-2-oz of each cheese per person. It’s sold by weight so you can add up the numbers.

• Have labels for each cheese on the platter so people can remember the ones they especially like. You can make your own, write it with wax pen on a slate or buy those cute little reusable labels.

• Cheese doesn’t taste its best when served too cold, so take it out of the fridge an hour or so in advance.

•Find a variety of cheese boards, cutting boards, slate, etc if you don’t have one large serving platter.

Putting together that board:
Publication: Ladies Home Journal Year: 2010 Issue: Nov

  1. You can’t go wrong with a Swiss-style cheese like Uplands Pleasant Ridge from Wisconsin, or even a classic Gruyère.
  2. Goat’s-milk chèvre, with its tangy flavor, is a crowd-pleaser.  I like spicy Majorero Pimentó, rubed withpaprika – or try Cypress Grove Chèvre.
  3. Every board should contain at least one buttery-soft cheese like Brillat-Savarin, Brie or Camembert Châtelain.
  4. For an adventurous crowd, choose a pungent cheese that has been “bathed” in salt water or wine for added flavor.  Try Stanser Rotelli or an Époisses.
  5. Not all cheddars are created equal.  Include a crumbly English-style variety, such as Grafton Special Reserve Clothbound Cheddar, from Vermont, or a French Cantalet.
  6. No board is complete without a sharp, fragrant blue.  I like Oregon’s Rogue River Blue and Grassland Blue from Minnesota.

Cheese tips:

Cheese tips

• To keep and store cheese, wrap it first in parchment or waxed paper, then loosely in plastic wrap or place in a ziptop bag.  Many will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

• Don’t throw out the rinds!  Toss them into soups, stews and sauces when you’re cooking for extra richness and flavor.

Entertainers tip:

Entertainers tip• A dollop of chutney or jam tastes great with salty, tangy cheeses, while a drizzle of honey delivers sweet balance to sharp cheeses like aged cheddar.  Dried fruits and nuts are delicious with many types of cheese and it’s always nice to have rustic bread and plain crackers to nibble on.


This post may include affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

Originally published in Ladies Home Journal November 2010
Prop Stylist: Jen Everett
Photographer: Paula Hible

Baby Broccoli with Hazelnut Butter

By | Buffets, Christmas, Easter, Entertaining, Fall, Healthy + Diet, Holidays + Seasons, Side Dishes, Thanksgiving, Vegetables, Vegetarian | No Comments

Baby Broccoli with Hazelnut Butter

Holiday Dinner Comes Together

Whether you have a traditional roast, meatballs, ham, turkey, fish, tamales or goose (hello Tiny Tim) for Christmas dinner, this gorgeous side will be pretty perfect. Or pretty and perfect. Depends on how you like to look at it.

The perfection comes in the special little hazelnuts sizzled in butter that browns into a tasty golden sauce. It’s just fancy enough for a Christmas Eve, day or holiday dinner, but easy enough that you might just want it on a regular Wednesday.

Tip: Baby broccoli is dark green with tender long stems and tiny tree tops. If you can’t find it in your market, broccoli rabe is a great substitution. I like the mild flavor of baby broccoli though, so I suggest you ask your grocer to order it!



Baby Broccoli with Hazelnut Butter

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Take advantage of a delicious seasonal vegetable for this beautiful side dish.


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (3oz) skinned roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb baby broccoli, trimmed
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon


  1. For hazelnut butter, in a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add nuts and cook until butter begins to brown and nuts just start to turn golden, about 3 min. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, bring ¾ cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and cook, turning occasionally, until just tender, 8 to 10 min. Using tongs, transfer to a platter. Stir together nuts, butter, salt and zest; spoon over broccoli.
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Baby Broccoli with Hazelnut Butter2






Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Dec 2007
Photography Quentin Bacon
Food Styling Tara Bench
Prop Styling Bella Foster