Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Go-to Chicken Salad Recipe

by Ann

What a busy week this has been.  Lots of sadness with the passing of Sheila's dear friend, Tami who you hopefully read the tribute to last Wednesday on our blog.  Throughout the years Tami became a friend to all of us in the book club, and will be greatly missed.

Sheila hosted a memorial gathering at her home on Saturday, to which well over a hundred people from all walks of Tami's life came.  Everything about it was perfect, and we are convinced that Tami was looking down at the many, many people who care so deeply for her, and that she was pleased, but not surprised that Sheila put on such a lovely event.

With busy lives it is hard to avoid conflicts, and coincidentally the same day was the bridal shower for my dear niece, Megan.  I had previously agreed to make chicken croissant sandwiches for the party, so figured that since I would be in the salad-making-mode, I should make the same thing to bring to the memorial.

When people say, "I want your chicken salad recipe," my thought is that "chicken salad is chicken salad -- how hard can it be?"  Yet originally finding this recipe was a process for me a few years ago when I was hosting a baby shower for Sheila's daughter, Liz.  My goal at the time was to make one similar to what Costco sells in the big tubs, so through an Internet search, I found a recipe that someone had developed to mimic Costco's, as well as the one I prefer which is similar.  The difference I remember is that the Costco knock-off had honey in it, which was good, but not needed in my opinion.

I used to collect cookbooks.  Each time we'd go someplace new I'd look for a regional book from that area.  Now I have a large book case filled with almost nothing but cookbooks, yet when I need a recipe or inspiration for something new to make, I look online, which is how I came across the original version of this recipe on years ago.  I have since tweaked it, but it is definitely my go-to chicken salad recipe!  When I dug it out for this round of salad-making I was hesitant about the recipe calling for a cup of mayonnaise, yet by the time all of the other ingredients are added, a cup is not "too-mayonnaisey" at all!

Chicken Salad

4 c cooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes (1/2 - 3/4 inch)
1 c mayonnaise
1 t paprika
1 c dried cranberries, chopped a bit
1 c diced celery
2 green onions, sliced thinly
½ c diced bell pepper (any color works)
½ - 1 c chopped pecans (depending upon taste)
1 t seasoning salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a large mixing bowl combine mayo, paprika, salt and pepper.  Blend in remaining ingredients to mix well.  Chill at least one hour.

A full recipe fills 12 large croissants very generously.  

For the two events I made this recipe four times.  I have learned that when I double (or heaven forbid quadruple) recipes I tend to get into trouble with mistakes.  It's a safer bet to make the recipe over as many times as needed than to try to deal with quantities that are too cumbersome.  I cooked the first of four batches of chicken in the crock pot, which turned out to be a mistake.  Once cooled it shredded rather than cut into nice, consistent cubes, so I put that aside for chicken enchiladas.

The theme for Megan's shower was "Eat, pink, and be married!" 

Three generations of the women in our family: Amanda, my niece; me; Megan, the bride; my mom; and my sister Susan, the mother of the two beautiful young women.  (Note the pink attire!)

Megan and Amanda
Oh yeah, I'd made the chicken salad for Amanda's bridal shower two years ago.
It is definitely the "Go-to recipe"!


  1. Thank you for sharing that recipe- it's going in my recipe box.

  2. Ann, it was great talking to you at Megan's shower. Your blog is beautiful. You and your friends are definitely more talented than I am! Thanks for posting the Chicken Salad recipe, it is the best! Terri

  3. These look so great! Can't wait to whip some up it soon. Thank again for posting another great recipe