It’s been a while. I know. I have broken so many blogger rules by simply peacing out but hey, I am getting over all of those shoulds and embracing real life. My family needed me. I needed me. So, the blog, it had to wait. But, I am back and we are day three into a brand-new school routine. Hudson started kindergarten this week and after months of worrying about how he was going to deal with the transition…he is all smiles and I am the one that is exhausted. Ha! Now that we are out the door in an hour in the mornings, planning ahead has become more essential than ever. I get a pass on packing Hudson’s lunch for now (he has to eat at school which is a whole rant in itself) which gives me a bit more time to pack my own. No, I am not making chicken salad from scratch at 7 am, but I am making a batch at the beginning of each week and you can too!
Chicken salad is one of those basic recipes that I think we should all have in our back pockets. Back in the day (5 years ago), when I had my cafe, this chicken salad was one of the best selling sandwiches we prepared, and we made killer sandwiches. That being said, I am not sure why it has taken me this long to share the recipe. Maybe because it felt too basic but, then again, I survive on the basics. Don’t we all?
Just say yes.
Let’s talk about the chicken. First, I use bone-on, skin-on chicken breasts. I rarely buy the boneless, skinless guys anymore. The real deal has so much more flavor. Even better, we signed up for a chicken share as part of our CSA (Lancaster Farm Fresh) this year and it has been magical. The chicken actually tastes like something, well, like chicken! Proof that a pastured, well cared for chicken is worth it for so many reasons and the most important being that they are happy chickens. I digress. The point is, we have been eating a lot of chicken. Yummy, flavorful chicken and this chicken salad has made the to-do list almost every week.
Chicken salad is not known for being healthy but I am here to tell you it can be. Yes, you can have a little mayo and your health goals will not fall apart. Moderation people!
Cooking Tip! I poach the chicken similar to the way I hard boil eggs. I bring the water to a boil then simmer the chicken on low (a roaring boil dries it out and makes the chicken rubbery–not good), finally turning off the heat and allowing the chicken to finish cooking in the hot water (lid on of course). It takes a bit more time but the texture is worth it. Trust me.
The mayo! I actually hate mayo so I tend to use it sparingly but that doesn’t mean this chicken salad is dry and bland. I use a bit of mayo (I have been purchasing avocado oil mayo as many of the brands use soybean oil which is very inflammatory and cheap), a bit of full fat strained yogurt, and some mustard to balance it all out. The mustard makes it if you ask me, but unlike mayo, I love a really flavorful mustard. Yum.
Yes, you could stop there and call it a day but instead I amp up the flavor with a fresh herbs and in this case, sweet, juicy grapes which add texture and a delightful flavor. Fresh grapes from California are in season from May through January so this is a great time to purchase them at a reasonable price. Crisp, juicy and naturally sweet they contain a number of nutrients including fiber antioxidants and polyphenols. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals to help prevent the process of oxidation that damages cells that has been linked to a number of diseases.
We serve this chicken salad on a sandwich or salad, snack on it with crackers or simply enjoy it with a spoon. It tastes great with a few apples slices too.
Before I go, here is a peek back at a post I wrote last year about morning routines. I revisited this post before school started so I thought it might be handy for you too–whether you are dealing with “school” or not.
I’m a work in progress…but aren’t we all!
- 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1 medium sized, finely chopped shallot
- 1 cups halved seedless green grapes
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup full-fat strained yogurt (like greek)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill (tarragon works well also)
- 2 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring 4 cups water to a simmer in a saucepan. Add chicken and simmer on medium, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cover, then let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Cool the chicken. Remove from the bone and skin. Dice and place in a bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- I use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts as the chicken tends to stay more moist and less rubbery. Plus, it has more flavor!