Saturday, January 8, 2011

One chicken: Many Salads

Image courtesy JD Foods

I adore chicken salad. My family adores it as well. I often cook extra chicken so that we can turn it into chicken salad for leftovers. It makes for a great afternoon snack with a few crackers, a nice hearty sandwich for lunch or dinner. I can also toss it into a salad. It's really the perfect food and the fact that it's protein-packed means that it will really satisfy an appetite and not leave you feeling hungry shortly thereafter.

There are so many variations but let's start off with a basic chicken salad.


4 - 8 skinless chicken breasts (or more) cleaned and trimmed
1/4 onion finely chopped
*Light mayonnaise (I use about 2 tablespoon per breast)
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Tarragon to taste

In a large pot bring water to a ** boil.
Add chicken breasts and cook for about 20 minutes
Remove from water and let cool.
Cut into bite sized pieces. In a large bowl toss in with mayo, onion, celery, salt, pepper and tarragon. Adjust seasonings to taste if necessary.

Serve with a green salad, French bread or as a sandwich on rye, sourdough, country hearth, or whole wheat sandwich bread.

* Regular mayonnaise has 100 calories per tablespoon and light mayonnaise has just 40 calories per tablespoon. If you haven't already make the switch!

** If you live in an area where you can grill year-round or where your grill is not covered with a foot of snow, grilled chicken makes a wonderful chicken salad and adds wonderful flavors and textures. You simply need to season your chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil. BBQ'd chicken makes a wonderful chicken salad as well!

Other variations:

* Instead of the tarragon  you could add some Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasonings. I just love to use the Herbes de Provence in mine!
* My son loves to add some BBQ sauce to his.
* I have added feta, olives, peppers and oregano to give it a Greek twist
* Add a little bit of Dijon mustard
* Sprinkle a little bit of Gorgonzola, and toasted pine nuts to give it an Italian flair
* Some people like grapes or cashews or dried cranberries
* Toss in some pesto with a squeeze of extra lemon
* You can do the same with a chimichuri sauce or a cilantro sauce. I just love the flavors these add.
* Rosemary and lemon add a nice fresh almost summery flavor
* Substitute regular salt for something like Lawry's Seasoned Salt for an intense flavor
* Add an olive tapenade (good quality, store bought is fine)
* Add sun dried tomatoes
* Dill and the juice and zest of a lemon
(Use fresh herbs when in season. Dried herbs are fine as well.)

I bet with all these suggestions you'll have a lot of chicken salad from here on in as well!


sle said...

Thanks for the recipes, Jessica! Now if we can get you to eat pimento cheese we can call you a southerner!

bevy said...

Oh so easy! Have you ever had WARM chicken salad? It's great too... Serve alone or on toasted bread. Think I will make some before the big winter storm...

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Great recipes! I LOVE chicken salad in every form. One of my favs has curry and mango chutney and mayo. Add a few cashews and grapes and you are good to go. Mmmm!

Jessica Ryan said...

sle -- I'll try anything!

Jessica Ryan said...

Bevy, warm chicken salad sounds good. DO you have a specific recipe?

Preppy Pink Crocodile... love me some curry chicken salad!

Anonymous said...

Darned nice blog, designer a wonderful gentleman's gentleman! Desing is cold!

Princess Freckles said...

I think I'll make some chicken salad this wee. I always add, onion, dried cherries and chopped walnuts. I want to try something new. Thanks!