As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Salad On Tuesday: Week 4 {Chicken Salad Deluxe}

This week I am sharing one of my "go-to" salad recipes.  

I make this for our Christmas buffet every year.  Sometimes it shows up along with the ham on Resurrection Day.  

It is a definite for baby or bridal showers where I usually serve it in phyllo cups with a sprig of thyme or a slice of fresh fruit on the top.    

It travels well, so I sometimes take it to a new mother or to someone who is sick.  

If you come to my house for lunch, you just might be eating this salad on a croissant.

And of course, I serve it to my own family throughout the year.

I like that chicken salad can be made ahead.  I like that it can have different add-ins to fit the season.  I like that it is simple to make.  And I really like that everyone in my family loves it!  (Don't you love it when everyone at the dinner table is happy?)   

This is one of those dishes that I kind of make as I go, so I do not have an exact recipe to share. But I'll do my best to tell you what I do...okay?  (If you have any questions, ask away in the comments section!)  

Here goes...

    • 5 or 6 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
    • Miracle Whip (You can use mayonnaise if you prefer, but I'm a Miracle Whip girl!)
    • 2 or 3 ribs of celery, chopped
    • 1 cup red grapes, halved
    • 1 15-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
    • 1/2 cup pecans 
    • lots of dried thyme  (1 tablespoon?  more?)
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    1. In a large bowl, toss together chicken, celery, grapes, and pecans*.  
    2. Add salad dressing or mayonnaise and stir till moist.  This is where you want to err on the side of too much.  Dry chicken salad just isn't cool.  (Ask me how I know**.)  
    3. Stir in thyme, salt, and pepper.  Taste and adjust.  Add more thyme (probably).  
    4. Fold in mandarin oranges.  I do this last because mandarin oranges will break down with too much handling.  Although that's not the end of the world either.  
    5. Chill for several hours so that the flavors have a chance to meld.  

    * I prefer pecans that have been toasted for 4-5 minutes at 350°.  But if I'm in a hurry (or just lazy), I toss them in as they are. You can use pecan halves or wholes or pieces.  I kind of like mine in bigger pieces, so I chop them coarsely.

    ** The last time I took chicken salad to an event, I had had an extremely busy day, and I did not double check to see if it was moist enough.  I had made up a bunch of sandwiches on small biscuits and they. were. dry.  They didn't hold together like they were supposed to.  And guess who got choked trying to eat one while yakking away carrying on a conversation?  You guessed.  

    The sort-of-recipe above is my family's favorite chicken salad variation.  But when I serve this to my extended family at holiday meals, I make a more basic version, omitting the fruit and nuts.  

    In the fall, I sometimes substitute dried cranberries and chopped unpeeled apple for the grapes and mandarin oranges.  

    I have also made it with dried blueberries and dried cranberries, and used walnuts instead of pecans.  

    Do you have a "go-to" salad recipe?


    1. I make a similar one (never quite exactly the same either) but have never used thyme. Occasionally I "curry" it! Not everyone likes curry powder, but I enjoy it now and then in this salad!

      Glad you survived that "too dry chicken salad" experience! :)

    2. I've never used thyme, either!

      I do use the grapes, and we use red onion, and celery if we have it, but I don't use mandarin oranges as Tim doesn't prefer them in chicken salad.

      I love chicken dishes so versatile.


      ps - I am a mayo girl - you and Kay are my Miracle whip friends! :)

    3. It's sounding so good to me right now that I may have to switch from egg salad to chicken salad. I am a Miracle Whip gal for egg salad and tuna salad, but a mayo gal for chicken salad. Go figure!

      Thanks for another terrific sounding salad!

    4. Chicken salad with fruits and nuts, my favorite, Your recipe is similar to mine, my favorite way to serve it is on croissants. Thanks for sharing.

      Enjoyed your Sunday snapshot, reminds me of when our family gets together for special occasions, Olive Garden is a favorite but this year we have found a new restaurant, Aspen Creek!
      Hope you are staying cool, our weather is very hot and humid, today was one of the most hot and humid days we have had so much so that I had to come in early. This is the reason I am able to visit in this afternoon.
      Wishing you and your dear family a most blessed and Happy 4th of July celebration.

    5. Always Miracle Whip here too :) Your chicken Salad sounds delicious!


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