Monday, May 23, 2011

One Rotisserie Chicken Please: Part 3 Chicken Salad

Ok, so this is a bit of a cop out/completely food related post. My personal life has been going really well though and I feel I don't want to jinx anything at this point and for once I'm really liking having my own little thing that's separate from here. So when I'm ready, I'll discuss but until then... let's focus on rotisserie chicken. Chicken salad is really one of the best ways to make use of leftover chicken and there really truly are endless combinations, and several to mostly all of the ingredients are either fairly popular condiments or shelf items. To to be technical, this is really more like a formula and you can prepare however you like, but I'll give you 2 good recipe take-aways anyways, because that's what I do.
Maple Mustard Chicken Salad with pecans and golden raisins over arugula and toast
The Formula
Meat: Typically chicken but also good with leftover turkey. I also love seafood salads, but this is about rotisserie chickens here... so different post.

Dressing: I like a mayo based dressing, but done with low fat mayo. Also yogurt, sour cream and could even be a vinaigrette, or even simply olive oil.

Flavoring: Pesto, mustard, ketchup, pickles, relish, ranch seasoning, curry powder, rosemary, tarragon, cilantro, parsley, horseradish, citrus, soy sauce, etc.

Crunch: Chopped celery, apples, carrots, shallots, edamame, onions, pecans, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, etc.

Sweet: Dried fruits like cherries, cranberries, raisins, currents, dates, grapes, apricots, honey, maple syrup, candied ginger, etc.

Tip: Don't overpower the salad by adding too much. Typically pick one from each group and go with it. Also, combine the dry ingredients separately from the dressing, then add the dressing a bit at a time and taste as you go to get the desired level dressing. It's easier to add it in then to take out when there's too much.

This first recipe below is one of my personal favorites, encompassing ingredients I keep on hand constantly. I like to keep the dressing light and love the combinations of sweet with slightly spicy and all over nice peppery arugula. Both sweet and savory, light and filling.All placed on top of some super healthy "cardboard" bread, it really does flow well. The second is much more savory and is great over some orzo or in a wrap, also a great way to use up that little bit of leftover pesto. And if you wanted to be bad you could shave some Parmesan over or even top with thinly sliced mozzarella. And if you wanted to be good you could include some grilled vegetables like squash, zucchini or eggplant.

Maple Mustard Chicken Salad
2 Tbl fat free mayo
1 tsp. mustard- I used my horseradish mayo for a nice spicy kick
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1 c. chopped chicken
1/2 Tbl. chopped pecans
1/2 Tbl. golden raisins
Handful of arugula

1. In one bowl combine the mayo, mustard and maple syrup. Taste and add salt/pepper as necessary. In another bowl combine chicken, pecans and raisins. One scoop at a time add in the dressing and mix well until desired amount is reached.

2. Toast bread and place arugula on top. Add chicken salad. Cut in 2 and serve.

Pesto Chicken Salad
1 Tbl. fat free mayo
1 Tbl. low fat or fat free sour cream
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4- 1/3 c. pesto (depending on how pesto-y you want it to be)
1 c. chopped chicken
Boston or iceberg lettuce

1. Mix together first 4 ingredients. In separate bowl add chopped chicken and as above, add in dressing a spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Put over toast or in a wrap, with either Boston or Iceberg lettuce to add some crunch.

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