Friday, April 9, 2010

There's a party in my tummy...

Like many of you out there, I too have an affinity for food that isn't the best for my waistline. Pasta, bread, cheese, ice cream, get the picture. I'm starting to crave donuts just thinking about it all!

Chicken salad, the mayonnaisey kind,  falls right into that category. So delicious but not so low in fat. One of my favorites is Waldorf chicken salad. The creaminess of the mayonnaise, tang of lemon, sweetness of the apple and the crunch of the celery make this a extraordinary meal. Talk about having a party in your tummy.

The original Waldorf Salad was created in 1893, by Oscar Tschirky, the maître d'hôtel of the famous Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Apparently, the original was simply made with apples, celery and mayonnaise. Ingredients were added as time went on. Today you will find many different versions. This is my version that I whipped up for dinner tonight.

Waldorf Chicken Salad

  • 2 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts, rinsed in cold water and dried well with paper towels
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 cup of red apples, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup of red onions, small dice
  • 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • lettuce leaves (whatever kind you prefer), rinsed and dried well

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over them and rub with your fingers to evenly coat. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper on top of each breast.

When the oven reaches 400 degrees, put the chicken in and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. After 5 minutes of letting it rest, cut into the thickest part of the chicken to make sure it is cooked through.

To make the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size cubes (about 3/4 inch).
Add the chicken, celery, apples, onions, half the walnuts and mayonnaise/lemon juice mixture to a large bowl. Fold together gently until well mixed and everything is coated in the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper if you like.

Arrange some lettuce leaves onto a plate and spoon the chicken salad mixture onto them. Sprinkle some of the remaining walnuts on top. Serve immediately.

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