Since you got a bonus post yesterday, which you undoubtedly utilized today for your Thanksgiving feast, and you’re probably about to slip into a carb-coma, (and I’m probably not far behind), and the frights of the holiday shopping season are not quite upon us all yet, I decided to write a little post. The end.
Just kidding! As I’m sitting here, Hubby is begging me to go make some chicken salad. Yes, MY Hubby that hates all poultry loves my chicken salad. It’s one of the recipes I like because it’s easy, and has laziness built in. I’m going to get it started, then come back and pass my wonderfulness onto you minions. I swear, you must be the luckiest minions ever to exist.
I start off with chicken breasts. I don’t get the boneless, skinless ones, because they cost way more. It only takes a minute to rip the skin off, and since we’re making shredded chicken, the bones don’t matter. I did a very early post about shredding chicken, and making soup, but I’ll just reiterate here. Since my only goal is to make chicken salad, this will be a bit simpler. Remove the skin from the chicken, put it in a pot of boiling water, cook until you can easily pull the meat off the bones with a fork, of course playing video games in the meantime. Once you can pull the meat from the bones easily, take the chicken out of the water and set it on a plate to cool. Play more video games.
Once the meat has cooled, I rip the big chunks off the bones, and use a knife to cut it into smaller pieces. I personally don’t like cubed chicken in my chicken salad, but whatever floats your boat. I do put cubed chicken into soups, because it’s less labor-intensive than shredding everything by hand. For this, I take the smaller cubes and shred them into a tupperware.
**At that second, I heard my pot boiling over and raced into the kitchen to prevent a mess. Obviously, I was way too late, and the water had put out the gas burner, plus coated the stove. I turned off the burner, and scooped out about 4 cups of chicken water. Let that be a lesson to you all not to over-fill the pot, especially if you plan to be 40 feet away from the stove while it’s cooking. This thing is called “My ATTEMPTS at Cleverness” for a reason, people.**
The other day, I was shredding a bunch of chicken at once, and decided not to make the chicken salad right then, but I didn’t want the shredded chicken to dry out. I stirred mayo and ranch dressing into it, and put it into the fridge that way, planning to add the other ingredients later. It worked out well, because the chicken soaked up a lot of the dressing, and was flavorful, and moist, even though it’s all breast meat.
Once you have your chicken shredded, chop up some celery and mix it in with the chicken, ranch and mayo. Ranch dressing gives this stuff more flavor than plain mayo. You can add some garlic salt and dill as well. The other thing I like to add is cooked frozen peas. They make it even tastier. I usually just eyeball the amounts on all of the ingredients, and taste it several times along the way. If you can, add the celery and peas at the last minute. This will help the celery stay crisp, and prevent the chicken salad from getting watery.
**Yep, just had to race into the kitchen again, swearing the whole way. You’d think taking about half the water out of the pot would help, but no. Now I have the lid off and the heat down some. I’ll be heading in there to read at the kitchen table in a minute so I can keep a closer eye on the death-chicken.**
This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. You can eat it by itself, in a sandwich, in lettuce wraps, or on top of a salad. While the chicken is boiling, I have one chicken breast in the oven for myself, and a butternut squash for dinner. If it weren’t for all my overflow issues just now, I would be one smug chick, with all this multitasking going on. The dryer is going, and I even gave the dog a bath today! I am awesome, other than the chicken water coating my stove, making the whole house smell like cat food a bit. And I was feeling so clever, too.