This morning I made the kids’ lunches and then started peeling the apples that we picked this weekend. I had just enough time to throw together an apple crisp for tonight’s dessert before heading out to meet my friend for a walk. The morning walk was a great way to get in some exercise for my mind, body and soul. We had a quick bite in Harvard Square and then headed over to Harvard Yard to see a new art installation I had wanted to visit. This was the calm before the storm. The rest of my day is a crazy flurry of errands. After we parted ways, I popped back into the house to take the apple crisp out of the oven. I then grabbed my empty bags, took a quick fridge inventory and I was out the door to get groceries. As I pull out of the driveway, I am mentally going through my afternoon list of 10 more “to dos” before dinner.
What is not on this list is time for me to make a tasty, healthy, and satisfying lunch for myself. I love to cook and I make some pretty good salads, but I have always said that the best salad is the one that someone else makes for you. Why would someone who loves to cook get take out?! The truth is that on most days, I either have time to get the groceries (or do some other errand) or I have time to make myself a nice lunch. I rarely have time for both.
This week, I am working with Wendy’s because they have their first ever fall salad. I don’t have a problem with the occasional fast food treat, but more often than not I don’t want a burger or fries. I am not looking for a treat, I just need something fast and ideally healthy. I want something that will satisfy me a little more than a burger or fries and for me that means I need at least a good side of vegetables.
Fall is the season of cider donuts and pumpkin spice lattés and those are just a guaranteed sugar rush followed by as sugar crash. It is also apple picking season and if you belong to a CSA you definitely have a lot of fall greens coming home with you too. On a busy CSA pick up day, you can treat yourself to Wendy’s Fall Harvest Chicken Salad and then take inspiration from it when you’re prepping your greens for dinner or school lunches.
I have to admit that I didn’t have the highest expectations from a salad from a fast food joint, but I love fall flavours and when you are a busy mom a fast food salad has to be better than the stale 1/2 eaten peanut butter crackers in the side pocket of the car door. Yes, that has been my lunch on occasion.
Wendy’s Harvest Chicken Salad was not only good in a pinch. It was actually delicious. For starters, the salad is not poured out of a bag and doesn’t have that weird bagged lettuce flavour. The greens are cut and mixed in each individual Wendy’s restaurant daily and that’s just the base of the salad! The fall salad is composed of dried cranberries, tender grilled chicken, smokey bacon, salty feta cheese and crisp slices of red and green apples. On the side was the Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Apple Cider Vinaigrette and just a tiny packet of brown sugar walnuts to sprinkle on top. The sugar and maple walnuts gave my salad just enough sweetness and crunch to make it feel indulgent. The best part is that I got a full size salad for less than $12 and I had plenty to enjoy for lunch with a little side salad left over for the next day.
I don’t live particularly close to a Wendy’s but I am already figuring out when my next errand will take me back near Wendy’s but I want to get as many Harvest Chicken Salads as I can before Wendy’s moves on from Fall to Winter. Save the date because, for a limited time, beginning on the first day of Fall, which is September 22nd, Wendy’s will give diners the chance to try the Harvest Chicken Salad for free. When you purchase any menu item through Wendy’s you will get a free 1/2 size Harvest Chicken Salad.