The 🐝BeKeeper's Original Chicken Salad

I haven't created many of my own recipes, but the first one I created was a keeper🐝 for sure.  It started when I had chicken salad at a local restaurant.  Their chicken salad was so good! I ordered it each time I visited and finally decided that I wanted to make it at home.  I did my best to examine it and figure out all the ingredients.  I saw golden raisins and nuts in there. (I can't remember now which nut.  Pecans, I'm thinking, but several types work well in this recipe.) I jotted down what I thought was in there and have tweaked the amounts over time.  The result is a delicious combination that I have been making for years.  

Interestingly, when I went back and had the restaurant's chicken salad again after tasting mine, I found that they were not very similar. Not even recognizably close. But, hey, it inspired me to create a great recipe so it's all good.

The BeKeeper's Original Chicken Salad
Makes 3 cups

Combine and chill:
2 chicken breasts, cooked, deboned, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3/4 cup mayonnaise
8 oz sour cream
2 Tbsp minced red onion (optional)

I like recipes that include the instructions in the ingredient list instead of having you go back and forth from the ingredient list to the instruction paragraph, trying to find your place over and over. The initial command of "combine and chill" frees you to go to town putting the ingredients in as you work your way down the list.  Of course, you can take the word "chill" as a recipe instruction AND a personal invitation to relax after you get your cooking done. 😊 I suggest using a larger bowl to combine the ingredients so that you have room to stir them together, and then move the mixture to a smaller bowl to store and serve the finished product.

Chicken salad is great as a sandwich or on crackers.  It can be served as an entree (the main dish of a meal) by spooning it onto a lettuce leaf that has curly edges.  Very pretty presentation. Chicken salad on mini-croissants are staples at a party or reception.

You can cheat with the chicken. (That sounds quotable.) This is a great way to use leftover chicken from some other recipe or meal.  Grilled, baked, roasted, boiled, even canned chicken will work in this recipe.  Just make sure you use enough to make a thick chicken salad and not cold, runny chicken soup. 😝

Instead of "golden raisins" I could have said "any dried fruit".  My favorite is actually dried cranberries.  It adds flavor and color.  I have used dried cherries, also, but they require some chopping since they are a little bigger and tend to "bleed" into the salad if not used up quickly.  You could experiment with other fruits such as dried blueberries or apricots, or even chopped grapes.  Some friends at church have doctored (that's Southern for "messed with" 😊) my recipe by adding a little pineapple juice or even pineapple tidbits. I must admit it was a good idea.  Very yummy!

Almonds are great in this but so are pecans and walnuts.  Some of my people do not like "rocks" in their food so I often leave the nuts out.  You could always take out their portion and then add the good stuff to yours.  Just be sure you label the containers appropriately.

I list the mayonnaise before the sour cream to allow for the possibility of using one spatula or spoon for both.  If you have an 8 ounce container of sour cream OR if you are using the last 8 ounces of a larger container of sour cream, you can scrape it out with the same spatula you used in the mayonnaise jar.  Otherwise, if you had used the spatula in the sour cream first, you wouldn't want to then put it in the mayonnaise and leave bits of sour cream in the mayonnaise.  Hey, when you are the dishwasher, you look for opportunities to use fewer kitchen tools. And, remember, light sour cream works equally as well as the regular stuff. 

And why did I list the mayonnaise in cups and the sour cream in ounces? Why, how clever of you to notice! That's because mayonnaise comes in a jar from which you will need to measure the small amount and sour cream comes in an 8 ounce container so it is already measured for you. It also comes in 16 ounce containers, in which case you can either eyeball half of it or measure it out.

And, unless you enjoy tasting and smelling like red onion for the rest of the day, skip the red onion. A momentary pleasure is rarely worth a lasting displeasure.

So that's the scoop on my chicken salad!

Now, I could have just given you the recipe and kept all these details to myself. However, if you want to learn to cook, you need to read the details and understand how you can change things and get tips on smarter ways to do things. You can learn a lot just from reading detailed recipes. If you print or copy this recipe, you may want to go back and make notes about these suggestions.

Oh, and one more thing.  Just replace the chicken with shrimp and adjust a few of the measurements and you have my delicious shrimp salad.  It's good on crackers or, my favorite, a fork!

The BeKeeper's Original Shrimp Salad
Makes 3 cups

Combine and chill:
12 oz bag small frozen shrimp, thawed, rinsed, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp minced red onion (optional)


This post is featured on Christy Jordan's Southern Plate, Meal Plan #4.