Saturday, June 26, 2010
Leslie's California Chicken Salad
I love a really good homemade chicken salad on hearty bread, a chewy roll, or with nutty crackers and crudités. This is something I never thought about making myself until a couple of years ago after my mom surprised me at work and brought me a wonderful lunch! She had packed her homemade chicken salad with salty crackers and of course freshly baked cookies. Yes I know, I'm just a little spoiled..err..loved! Thanks for that, Mom!! Anyways, after tasting her chicken salad I thought I can do this -- what an easy and delicious lunch. This is like a California chicken salad. It's made with roasted chicken breast, crunchy toasted nuts and red grapes or pineapple and mixed in with a simple creamy curry dressing. So delicious!
Start off by cooking your chicken. I like to roast mine in the oven. Usually I season it with whatever I like. This time I used some Herbs de Provence, just because I was just roasting some chicken breast to eat throughout the week. I didn't know at the time I was going to put it with a curry dressing, but it actually turned out great. Most of the time I just use salt and pepper and it's great! If you don't have much time, just pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery to use. Once out of the oven, allow to cool and shred your chicken
Next, you will want to toast your nuts. Pecan are my favorite, although I have used walnuts, almonds, and even tried cashew and they are all so good! Just spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for maybe 6 minutes or until you can smell the nutty fragrance from the oven. This makes the nuts taste like candy in your mouth! Once they are out of the oven, allow to cool and chop.
Finely dice the celery, cut your red grapes in half, and have ready with the chicken and nuts. If you use pineapple, which is just as good, used canned pineapple bits and drain well. This really gives the salad a unique sweetness.
In a bowl, put about equal portions of (light or regular) miracle whip or mayo, and sour cream. To this mixture, add salt, fresh cracked pepper, and the yummy curry powder. ( I rarely measure anything whenever I'm making one of my own recipes, but add enough curry powder to your to taste. Don't be afraid to taste your food along the way!) The curry give it a warm hue that just great. Mix all of this together and add the chicken, nuts, celery and grapes and it's beautiful and ready to eat!
Today, I served it on a bed of baby spinach with sunflower-thyme crackers and slices of red bell pepper. This is easy to make for a crowd, so invite your Mom, daughter, or friends over to lunch for Leslie's California Chicken Salad!
Pecans, or other nuts
Grapes, or canned Pineapple bits
Light Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
Salt & Pepper