Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chicken Salad

Most of the time when I am meal planning I am looking for something new to cook. I look through recipes in my books and online, and I don't make the same dish twice very often, unless my husband requests it. I guess I need a lot of variety in my diet and my cooking and am always wanting to create something new.

However, I do have my stand-bys. Enchilada casserole ends up on our table at least 3 times a year, as well as grilled venison steaks with red cabbage and spaetzle. I make a lot of different types of grilled cheese, but in a pinch I make it with onions, sunflower seeds, tomato, and mayo (and cheese, of course). There is also generally no question what I'll do with leftover chicken after we have roasted one: make chicken salad.

I also usually make it the same way every time. I do it because the first time I made it this way, my husband couldn't stop talking about it. That is really something for a guy who really doesn't care about food at all. He gets so excited when I make this simple chicken salad with big hunks of chicken, celery, and mayonnaise. Personally, I'd like to play with my chicken salad. Add some apple, grapes, and seeds. Use olive oil and lemon juice instead of mayo. However, even I agree that this is the best way to eat leftover chicken...mostly because it is so simple and soooo good!

I should also mention that when I was a kid my favorite way to make a chicken sandwich was just leftover chicken and mayo. So while I add celery now, eating this chicken salad on a sandwich is still nostalgic for me. That may be why I like it so much. I also always have the ingredients to make it.

I just take any leftover chicken I have from a roasted chicken, and dice it up. I don't like to get the pieces too small - I want big chunks of chicken in there. Then I dice up a couple stalks of celery. This is a preference thing. My husband likes an almost 1:1 chicken to celery ratio, but most people probably wouldn't want that much celery. I traditionally used Hellman's mayonnaise, but I now use my own recipe, which you can find here. I wouldn't use all olive oil in the mayo though. I used mostly sunflower oil because it has a milder, more neutral taste. Canola oil would work really well...we just don't use any soy in our house.

Big chunks. 

I added more celery after this...

Add the mayo, some salt and pepper

And pile it on!

Comfort lunch. 

Chicken Salad My Way

About 2 1/2 cups leftover chicken, roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup mayonnaise, homemade or Hellman's
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate. Put on sandwiches, on salads, or just eat it out of the bowl with a fork

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