I have fond memories of chicken salad.
6 years ago - when Adam and I lived in a one bedroom apartment and I was just getting into cooking, I would make chicken salad every Wednesday night. Adam had just started playing hockey as an adult, and would have practice on Wednesday nights and the abominable hour of 10PM. So clearly he would need a lot of protein and energy to stay up late and skate and score goals and whaveter else they do out there on the ice.
So every Wednesday like a dutiful girlfriend I would defrost some chicken breasts, break out the mayo and celery and whatever else I had on hand that day that might be good and make a chicken salad to serve over a bed of lettuce. And even if I knew I would be busy on Wednesday, I would make the chicken salad on Tuesdays and keep it in the fridge for him. It was a tradition and I kept at it for an entire hockey season. Then when next season rolled around they weren't having regular practices and the chicken salad on Wednesdays tradition kind of tapered off. I must say I think it is NO coincidence that not long after I stopped making chicken salad on Wednesdays, he broke his ankle at a hockey game
There is power in rituals! Especially if the ritual occasionally resembles a Waldorf salad with chicken in it. Yum!
Now for the second part of the lead in which has nothing to do with hockey. I am of late, obsessed with sesame oil. A tiny amount of this amber colored aromatic goes a LONG way in adding flavor to Asian recipes. A little mixed with some rice vinegar is amazing on salads. A few drops in a marinade brings meat to new depths. It's just great!!!
So when I found this recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad, that invoved both my long lost chicken salad, and sesame oil - I pounced on it. This is a fantstic make ahead meal as the longer you let it chill in the fridge, the more the flavors blend. If you're going to have it the same night let it chill at least an hour before serving.
Chinese Chicken Salad
Serves 4, 5 pts each
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 red pepper sliced
1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
6 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1.5 cups cellophane noodles
3/4 cup fat free yogurt
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Spring mix/Romaine/Whatever green you like
Prepare the cellophane noodles
Place the dried noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for 2-3 minutes then drain.
Whisk the yogurt, peanut butter, oil, vinegar and garlic together until well blended.
Stir in the noodles, chicken and vegetables except greens.
Cover and chill for at least one hour. Serve over a bed of greens!