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Picnic Basket Part 3: Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Chicken Salad Sandwich is a picnic classic… one that I love.

My favorite recipe is not your typical Chicken Salad however… this recipe is lighter and fresher.  And of course it’s packed with flavor.

Just a word of warning to the foodies out there… this recipe contains Miracle Whip.  And while it’s not my usual sandwich spread, I’m happy to use any ingredient that tastes really good when the recipe is done.  I love that it only uses 1/3 cup of Miracle Whip for 4 cups of chicken.  Unlike other recipes I’ve made that are simply swimming in mayonnaise (Don’t get me wrong, they can be good too!)

The more saucy chicken salads always seem at home in a buttery croissant, but this recipe is wonderful and very fun served in a hollowed out baguette cup.  Wrap them up in a little plastic wrap and they will keep for hours, very nicely I might add, without getting soggy.

Serve them at your next picnic and I think you’ll love them.

Here’s how I make them:

My original recipe called for boiling the chicken to precook it.   But where’s the flavor in that?  For pretty much every recipe I have that calls for cooked chicken, I marinate it, and cook it on the grill.  Grilled chicken is where the flavor’s at for me.

I marinated the chicken in Italian salad dressing for several hours.  Once grilled, I let it cool completely before making the rest of the salad.

You need 4 cups of chicken which was 3 breasts of chicken when I made it yesterday.  It all depends on how big they are.

Throw the chopped chicken into a large bowl, along with the following ingredients:

1/4 cup of slivered almonds.  They give the salad some nice crunch.

For more crunch, add 1 cup of chopped celery.

And 1/3 cup of chopped green onion… for flavor, of course.

What the heck are pimentos?  It think they are some kind of sweet red pepper.  What ever they are, they are good.  I looove roasted red peppers. You need pimentos in your chicken salad.  Add a 2 oz. jar.

Next comes 1 cup grated cheddar cheese.  I prefer sharp.  It really adds a punch of flavor.

I use a fork to squeeze my lemons.  It’s the best, fastest low-tech way to get all the juice.

You need about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, which is usually one juicy lemon.

Here’s the 1/3 cup miracle whip.  Foodies avert your eyes.

You also need 1 teaspoon of salt,  1/2 teaspoon of pepper and 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt.

Stir it all up in the large bowl.  Notice it’s not swimming in sauce.  But trust me there is more than enough.  And this salad really packs a punch of flavor.  It needs several hours in the refrigerator to chill before serving.  Or you can make it a day ahead.

Here’s how to make the baguette cup.  I like to slice one end flat, so my sandwich stands up.  I slice the other end at an angle, so it looks pretty.  If you cut it right, you can go right down the length of the baguette, cutting once straight and next at a diagonal, repeating to the end of the baguette.  And you waste nothing but the little rounded ends.  Put a dollop of salad on the ends and eat them… just to make sure it’s all good before serving…. yah, I’m just looking out for my family… that’s what it is.

Then pick the bread out of the center of the baguette.  You can run a knife around the edge to make the removal easy.  I pick out the bread, leaving a small amount at the bottom, so the baguette forms a cup.  It keeps the salad from falling out the bottom onto your lap…. that’s a good thing, Martha.  Don’t worry, I never waste the discarded bread.  My kids or husband usually stand around waiting to make sure nothing goes to waste.  Or you can save it to make bread crumbs.

Spoon it full of chicken salad.  And it’s ready to go.

It’s a neat-o little sandwich for a picnic.  And if your picnic gets stormed out, like ours did… they taste just as good at home.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 cups cooked diced chicken
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 – 2 oz. jar of chopped pimentos
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and chill for several hours before serving.  Serve on your favorite bread or roll.  Our favorite is a hollowed out baguette cup.

Here’s the link to the printable recipe on Tasty Kitchen.

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