Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken Salad Days With the Yank

Remember this stuff?

It's called "Snow".

We don't have any this year, so I thought I'd post this pic in fond remembrance of 2010, 09, and 08...

For those of you with snow, feel free to have a hot chocolate on the house today! Or coffee, latte', whatever you'd like. In honor of your shoveling, snowblowing, plowing moments, the Cafe is giving out free drinks to anyone in a 2012 snow belt!  You guys rock!

Okay, on to chicken salad. We have chickens for eggs. I don't eat our chickens. We have in the past, but now life's a little busy to be spending summers putting up chickens... (note how carefully I did not use the word "butchering" so as not to offend anyone. Yes, I'm that sensitive to my friends' delicate needs)

Anyway, I'm fussy about chicken salad, too. I don't use canned chicken because it's got bits of ...stuff in it. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts and I pop them right into the kettle from the freezer, no need to thaw because we'll trim off any of those 'bits' of vein, fat, cartilage once they're cooked. It's way easier then.

Simple ingredients:

2 or 3 quarts Water
Chicken base or bouillon cubes (amount depends on how much water you use, follow label directions)
2 (or more) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Celery, chopped
Salt, pepper to taste
Hellman's Mayonnaise

Easy-peasy, right?

Boil the chicken in the broth.  You can use the broth later to make chicken soup or as a base for some other soup stock. Remember that a lot of soup stocks blend chicken and beef to make a heartier broth. Yum!

When chicken is fully cooked (a fork will pierce it easily), remove from broth, rinse in cool water, and set aside to cool. Trim away any bits of fat, vein, cartilage until all you have left is white meat chicken. This is like a fifteen second job when chicken is cooked and you have a decent knife. Or you can borrow one of Missy's new knives. She's dangerous with them.

Chop up chicken. I like mine in small pieces but if you like chunks, that's fine. Add about 1/3-1/2 cup of chopped celery. Feel free to eat some while you chop, I love celery. If a few bits of celery leaf jump into the knife and then the bowl, this is perfectly okay, but not too many.

Add mayonnaise. Do this a little at a time to see how "moist" you want your salad. Tasting for quality control is encouraged.  Add salt and pepper to taste. We go heavy on the pepper (you might not need any salt because you boiled the chicken in a salt-water environment, very eco-friendly) and that flash of  heat brightens up the more bland taste of chicken.

I LOVE chicken salad on a lightly toasted buttered bagel, but if I'm low-carb I eat it on a bed of chopped lettuce and pray that my jeans will zipper the next week.

A side of broccoli/cabbage salad makes a nice "crunch" alongside the chicken chewiness.

I make this for Luke (finance boy in Boston) whenever he comes home. It was a favorite at Bridal Hall, too, the sweet bridal store where I sold wedding gowns for seven years.... Great family business and one of these days I will be doing a series with a bridal industry background, because it's HYSTERICAL...  you have no idea! I'm grinning, just thinking about it. Or maybe because my teeth really are too big for my head.


And I'm living a dual life right now because I'm working on a Christmas book.... While the world is morphing into Valentine's Day.  So I have to keep my head in "O Holy Night" while others are thinking "Lady in Red"...


So if you hear rumors of Christmas music in Ruthy's house, they're all true!

This gratuitous pic is just to remind me of Christmas and how much I loved this cover on Matt and Callie's story.  Sigh...

And yes, that's a live link to take you straight to Amazon to get your own copy, LOL!


  1. You're welcome to borrow my knife! I finally braved using it again the other day--for the same sausage-kale soup! I was a bit nervous but extremely careful. All was well! I'll be glad to loan it out now. :)

    This recipe sounds great, Ruthy! I'm bad about using the canned chicken. I'll have to do more authentic homemade next time. :)

  2. whoa... I NEED to know... WHEN did you sell for Bridal Hall??? At what is now Greece Ridge Mall, by some small-and-slim margin? I really need to know. Why? Because that's where I bought my wedding dress!

    And you're a Hellman's girl? LOL Miracle Whip all the way here! I don't believe I have ever made chicken salad... Egg salad for my hubby (I don't like it on bread but can eat it by the spoonful), yes. Tuna, of course. But not chicken. (I don't buy canned chicken either--have a recipe for chicken crescents (which is how I ended up with my homemade crescent roll recipe) that can use canned chicken, but, nope, cook extra chicken breasts.)

    And it has to be a Snow Belt in 2012, huh? Do huge lake effect flakes that barely stuck this afternoon count? 'Cause you know northern Wayne County is normally a huuuuuuge (apologies--or not--to Billy Fucillo) Snow Belt location. That's okay, I'll stick to water. ;)

    Love the cover of "Yuletide Hearts"--about as much as I loved the story hidden within. :)

    Gotta go--daughter-in-law says we need to work on menu planning and thus grocery lists. Ugh. Dislike. :(

    1. Melanie, I went to Bridal Hall when they opened their store on Ridgeway, about a year after they moved from the mall. So I wasn't in the mall location, but I loved working for the Hall family. Great people. A true family-run business and it gave me so much experience from the inside. I could see the underpinnings of the bridal industry but also how a successful family business integrates and moves over time. Wonderful experience to put into books. And some of the gals I worked with at Bridal Hall became my first readers... How cool is that? They read Ruthy books long before they were polished. It's kind of amazing that they ever read more than one, right???

  3. Ruthy,

    Well, in hot 'Lanta today it's like 73 degrees. So - definitely no snow. In fact, raining rather heavily right now with more bad weather for tonight.

    Love your chicken salad recipe. I also like to add apples (with skin still on) and grapes. Very colorful and full of flavor.

    Now, about those wedding stories. I've been a wedding coordinator for more years than I care to confess to and I've got stories that will have you rolling on the floor laughing or ready to murder one of the bride's family members (take your pick - they all deserved it.) So when you get ready to write your books, give me a call. I'll share my stories with you. :)

    1. Edwina, I'll do that! Isn't it the funniest thing? And some time the dearest? And some times so sad, when brides wish they had a mother with them and she's been called home to heaven?

      Ah, so many stories! I'll enjoy sharing them with you.

      Hey, I have chicken salad with grapes and walnuts in His Mistletoe Family coming out in December... You'll have to read it and laugh, because that's such a girly sandwich. Which the poor hero has to make on his clean panini grill!

      Poor guy. ;)

      I like to add fruit to mine but my kids scowl and growl and act as if I've just murdered someone. I think they over-react a little, don't you, dear??? ;)

  4. Ruthy,

    I think I'd do a side of red cole slaw or serve it on red cabbage. Just for the extra splash of color.

    This looks easy enough to pack for lunch when I work on painting the new house.

    Our closing is scheduled for Monday afternoon. Yay!

    1. Andrea, Monday!!!! Oh, send pics, please, please, please!!! I love the joy of a new home, honey, and if I was closer I would come over and help paint because I love painting. Just love it to pieces and it's so much fun to see things all bright and fresh and new when they're freshly coated!!! I like the idea of this on the cabbage or with a side of slaw. I keep cole slaw (made up with dressing) in the fridge regularly. It keeps me from eating too many cookies and has almost no carbs... But I'm missing cranberry splash, Andrea. My kids.... whom I love.... mostly.... finished the last of mine this week. I'm a little sad.