Spring Chicken Salad with Arugula

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A rare glimpse of April blue sky… blink and it’s gone!

At the moment it looks as if it might actually be spring here in Portland.  It’s been a rainy, stormy April, but with the start of May tomorrow, I think things are going to shift.  I don’t know why spring makes me think of chicken salad, but it does — a springtime picnic on a blanket under a flowering tree … sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, white wine with sprigs of just-picked lemon balm, carrot sticks and homemade chocolate chip cookies with lots of walnuts.  Doesn’t that sound nice?  Sigh.  Sadly, none of that is happening on this Sunday afternoon, but I am prepping some good healthy food for a busy week.  In case you ever have to do that too, I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to get it done …

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Gratitude to the chickens for all they give us — what powerhouse nutrition treasures they have been for the human race and have not always had very good lives themselves.  Thank you, thank you, Chickens!!! 

Today’s recipe accommodates the need for convenience and planning ahead — and reducing food waste!  Chicken salad also makes me think of my mom, bent over carcasses, making sure to get every single last scrap off to make salad before tossing the carcass into a pot for soup.  Nothing was wasted.  (Actually, not even the bones, which got tossed into the woods after simmering, and finished off by the local coyotes or foxes … or possibly my dog, Marley — whoever managed to get there first.)  If you want to make broth or soup, here’s how: https://doctorjenny.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/basic-bone-broth-moms-chicken-soup/

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Start with a chicken …
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… then add some veggies … LOTS of them!

You can roast your own chickens — or do as I’ve been doing recently and grab a rotisserie chicken.  I pull the meat off, which takes no time at all, then start a pot of broth  simmering, which I either use during the week as a soup base or just to sip with herbs and spices — or store in the freezer to have on hand.  Meanwhile, I make this chicken salad, which I then eat all week with various veggie and fruit accompaniments for lunch.  This recipe is light on the mayonnaise and heavy on the vegetables, herbs and spices.  We fortunate Americans typically get much more protein than we need, but we don’t get enough VEEEEEEGETABLES!  Pile this chicken salad onto a huge mound of greens — you will feel satisfied and full of energy 🙂

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See that stethoscope and white coat?  That’s my colleague, Dr. Wong, helping me get a photo of this lovely arugula.  Yes, all doctors think you should eat MORE GREEN VEGETABLES!  Spicy arugula is full of vitamin C and potassium.

Spring Chicken Salad:  (I make many versions of this salad with different spice and herb combos — below is one that leans toward more Mediterranean flavors — Experiment!)

  • meat from one roast chicken
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 4 to 6 scallions or one red onion
  • 1 large apple (or a handful of grapes, halved)
  • 1 or 2 dill pickles
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts
  • at least a cup of chopped fresh herbs of your choice — cilantro, parsley, dill, mint, a bit of rosemary …
  • several cloves garlic, minced — or 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons veggie seasoning blend such as Spike or Mrs. Dash (or a mix of your favorite dried spices — cumin, basil, tarragon, etc.)
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
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1-2-3 .. all into the bowl, and you’re done!

Shred the chicken with your fingers in a large mixing bowl.  (This makes a LOT.)  Chop all the veggies & herbs, and mix everything together with mayonnaise, mustard, nuts and spices.  Add the lemon juice and salt at the end a bit at a time, to taste — and more spices if you need them — I do always add a dash of chili.  Serve on greens or make roll-ups with lettuce or swiss chard leaves … or stuff into bell peppers or cabbage leaf “bowls”.  Enjoy outside if possible!

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Look, how Pretty!  Shredded red cabbage or carrots look beautiful on top … and add even more vitamins.  Eat the rainbow!

 

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