Monday, February 17, 2014

Sweet As Pie: Chicken Poppyseed Salad

Things with Sweet as Pie seem to ebb and flow for all of us, and Jennifer over at Come Rain or Come Shine solicited an "open call" for picks this month.  I hate to ignore emails (I always feel like "what if no one answers?" -- it goes back to an old thing I read years ago that if everybody waits for somebody, nobody will come to help anybody ...) so I answered.  Full disclosure: I was really not timely in my response.  But, I ended up picking essentially a full meal's worth of recipes.  And guess what?  Three of my four picks made it to this month's rotation!

Up first: Trisha Yearwood's Chicken Poppy Seed Salad.

Chicken Poppyseed Salad Sandwiches
Verdict: Excellent. Pretty, flavorful, and super easy.
Cook it again: Absolutely. It's great for parties, too.
Cost Factor: $15-ish. You need celery, chicken, and grapes as the big items.

Now if you know me, you know that I love chicken salad.  (Before Chick-fil-A fancied up their chicken salad sandwiches, I used to go through the drive-thru and order one for breakfast!  Fact: CFA will make you WHATEVER you want, WHENEVER you want. So even though it was a lunch item, they'd ask if I minded waiting a bit and they'd make it. What made their CSS great was that it was on honey wheat bread, nothing fancy, and then toasted, squished flat like a grilled cheese, but not fancy enough to call it a panini!  Oh, the simplicity of that sandwich ... I'm salivating just thinking of it.  Sadly, they changed their recipe and presentation a few years ago now. I still love their chicken salad, but it's not the same. Actually, it's fancier than it used to be.)


Enough lamentations about the past and present Chick-fil-A chicken salad.

This one is a super easy, super pretty, serve-it-at-a-shower kind-of chicken salad.

What made me happy to pick this one is that we're on our February break here in Maine, and I thought it would make for a nice weekday lunch.  (Silly me, I should have known the kids wouldn't touch it. But Mick and I at least get to enjoy it!)

It also requires almost nothing we don't typically have on hand.


2 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast -- something we typically have in the freezer
celery (50/50 on whether we have celery in the house)
4 cups of seedless grapes, halved (again, 50/50. But holy cow, 4 cups!  It seems like so much, but trust me. Also trust me -- this is essentially a full bag of grapes.)
sliced almonds (strangely, this is something we typically have in the house.)
poppy seeds
salt and pepper

Mick was watching tv, the kids were playing, and I decided to whip this up for lunch.  I boiled some water with bay leaves, salt, and pepper, threw the frozen chicken in and let it cook.  When it was done, I took the pieces out, rinsed them in cold water, and cut the chicken into a big dice.  (The recipe says to let the chicken cool before cutting it but I am nothing if not impatient.)

Then I simply diced the celery, sliced the grapes in half, added a pinch of salt and pepper and the rest of the ingredients, and mixed it all together.

Some of the ingredients seem like the quantities are a bit high.  For example, four cups of grapes?!  I did about 3, 3 1/2 and was very pleased with the balance in the end. So, use your judgment.  I followed the directions on all the rest, even when I was a bit scared about 2 full cups of almonds.  I was all-in.  It was worth it.

This is my only work-in-progress photo.  Sorry about that.
I know chicken salad really should cool before you eat it, but I couldn't resist.  I dug in.

Don't mind the sink accoutrements in the background. This was snapped with a cell phone.

DELICIOUS. I loved the crunch, the dill, the poppyseed ... all of it.

It makes a lot, too, so I eagerly await the chilled leftovers!


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