My husband always tells me when I make food he likes, that I put some love into it. I guess I put some serious love into my chicken salad because I make it all the time and every time, he acts like it’s the first time I made it for him. I like to make things for the week when I think of it and chicken salad is just nice to have in the fridge for lunches or a snack. I would encourage you to use what you think sounds good and I will say that I change out some of the ingredients from time to time….maybe that’s why Derrick always acts like it’s the first time I made it!!
The chicken you use for your chicken salad sets the tone of the recipe, so try to choose ingredients that will go well with the seasonings on your cooked chicken. Sometimes I just use canned white chicken meat…in that case I’ll definitely stick with the staple ingredients and I may even add a little more spice. This past time I used chicken that we grilled outside with a Mexican spice marinade. In this instance, it’s nice to add some kind of pico de gallo mix, maybe some canned (washed) black beans and a little southwestern sour cream mix. Or if you had Italian style chicken maybe you could add some flat leaf parsley, olives and pepperoncini. Of course if you do any of these variations, I would use these things in place of some of the items listed below. Let me know if you want additional details! The staple recipe I tend to stick to…and the one that always gets me a million requests for because I make it for parties, is as follows:
- 2-3 chicken breasts or 2 large cans of white chicken breast
- 1-2 small green apples (or honeycrisp)
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 2 table spoons of dill relish
- 1/2 cup good quality, reduced fat mayo
- course ground salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- First chop up your chicken. I cut the breasts into large chunks and then throw it in the food processor. If you would like your chicken salad a little more chunky, you can cut it yourself. I like my chicken well chopped. Place chopped chicken in a large bowl.
- Cut red onion and apple into large chunks that are similar in size, then throw into the food processor as well for a good chop, then add this to the large bowl of chicken. Note here – if I don’t have dill relish, I’ll add a few chunks of pickle here to get that taste.
- Add remaining ingredients and don’t take my measurements so seriously. Start small with the salt, pepper and cayenne…then add more to your liking. Do the same with the mayo, I usually try to use as little as possible to keep the fat down, oh and some of the brands that I like to use are Duke’s Reduced Fat or Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil. If you’re looking to get this close to what I make, I do use a LOT of black pepper and probably more cayenne than you would think. I like a nice kick!
- Blend together and serve it a million different ways:
- For parties, I usually buy miniature croissants and green leaf lettuce – then put together adorable little sandwiches.
- For small gatherings or an afternoon of snacking, I place it in a bowl alongside some wheat thins or ritz crackers and celery sticks.
- For Derrick’s lunch, I either put it on some sandwich bread or in a small container with a baggy full of crackers.
- It’s also yummy scooped on top of a green salad
Use your imagination and whatever you have in your fridge, but this is a great thing to throw together and have for the week. It will be my lunch today!