1. I NEED….some recipes for Chicken Salad. I’ve never made it before, but seeing as how it is the second item in my listing of favorite food groups (right after chocolate, of course), I’m DETERMINED to try it as part of testing of my new Ninja. Here’s what I do and don’t like in my Chicken Salad:
    • The smaller the chicken pieces, the better. Shredded (like Zoës) is best. No chunks of dry tasteless meat for me!
    • Fruit and nuts are acceptable ingredients, but not required.
    • Nothing that tastes like it could be Chicken salad, but it might be Egg Salad or Tuna Salad (a la Chick Fil A’s Chicken Salad – YUCK!). It must clearly be Chicken Salad.
    • Nothing too fancy. The simpler, the better.
  2. I NEED…to know what I want for my birthday. It’s next Friday (store that fact in your most important short term memory bank!). Chris has been asking me for WEEKS what I want and I just can’t come up with anything!!

    (We practice practical gift-giving in our house – you say what you want so you get what you want. Romantic guessing games of giving each other surprises, we feel, have more potential of leading to disappointment than simply giving what the other person requests.)


    • I don’t think I need clothes, but hey – clothes are always fun and a good standby.
    • Chris asked me if I needed any new domain names (Yes, I’m THAT geeky. Yes, he bought me a domain name for Christmas), but I can’t think of anything blog related that I need…
    • I COULD use a secondary camera battery (mine always runs out at inopportune times), but that just doesn’t seem very exciting to open up on one’s birthday…although maybe if it were paired with something else…

Okay. So you have your assignments. I need your Chicken Salad Recipes and I need you to read my mind and tell me what the PERFECT 28th Birthday present is. Get to work, people!

p.s. – because I’m anal retentive and have a great (though quirky) need for symmetry, I have a post of all pictures on B-Sides to counteract this visually lacking post.

25 thoughts on “I NEED….

  1. You have to have some element of surprise, no? We are fairly practical, too, but I do like it when my husband picks something to surprise me. But that's just me. For my birthday, he got me an iPod Touch that I had asked for. Then he bought me some chocolates when he was in Ireland that he knows I like.

    How about a couple of gift cards to your favorite places?

    My friend once made chicken salad for us when we went over there for lunch. She used canned chicken from Sam's club and it was fabulous. I know that Swanson makes canned chicken breast, too. If you are interested in a recipe with that, I'd be happy to pass it on. I usually make it with cut up grapes, dill, and onion powder, with Hellman's mayo, of course! You can use fresh chicken cut up with the same ingredients.

  2. I haven't tried this recipe yet but it sounds good. It is from The Pioneer Woman-http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/05/chicken-salad-the-way-i-like-it/

  3. Chicken salad is an ever-changing item at our house, dependent on what I have and how much health I am shooting for. Apples, grapes, Mandarin oranges, toasted pecans or almonds, Craisins are all add ins. I always try to have a balance of crunch and mush(!). Tiny dice of celery. Not too much mayo, sometimes some soy sauce if the chicken is not very flavorful. Sometimes dill or even Durkees to substitute for 1/2 of the mayo. My daughter worked at Big Mt Coffee shop and learned to drizzle poppy seed dressing on the top as serving. Amazing! Have fun experimenting!

  4. I like the practical element as well, but one of my favorite surprise gifts was a copper bird bath. My husband just went to one of my favorite stores and got inspired. Do you have a store where you like almost everything?

  5. Rach-

    There is no true "recipe" for a good chicken salad. Shred some chicken (I prefer baked) Add mayo (kraft lowfat olive oil mayo is best) very little by little. I like tiny minced onions, celery, quartered grapes, tiny pcs of apple or nuts. You could do sweet, savory or a combo of both. I'm like you though, I like everything in tiny pieces. You could almost do it as a dip w/crackers if the pieces are small enough

  6. I made chicken salad once with the rotisserie chicken from walmart. I don't like chunks of chicken either, and that chicken has a good flavor and is tender. I would suggest using either that or the canned chicken from sams. I usually add in craisens and walnuts.

    As for your birthday, maybe something with the battery you need like a bigger memory card or even a scrapbook for all the pictures you take(if you like to scrapbook.)

    Hope it helps!

  7. So, if you do not know what you want how are we supposed to do something really likable? Time is running out. I cannot help with the chicken salad.

  8. Here's my fave chicken salad. I stumbled into it one day while experimenting with a leftover rotisserie chicken and i love it!

    — Shredded rotisserie chicken (make sure you get all the skin off)
    — mayo (add a little at a time so you don't get it too "mayonaisey")
    — a little squeeze of dijon mustard (maybe 1 tblsp)
    — sliced grapes
    — walnut pieces
    — a small drizzle of honey
    — a splash of balsamic or apple cider vinagar
    — a dash of garlic powder
    — salt/pepper to taste


  9. P.S. – Your basic "simple" chicken salad recipe (since you said you don't like the fanciness) is just chicken, mayo, and salt/pepper. Other standard ingredients are chopped celery and/or green onions, but I'm not personally a fan of those. You can really add anything you want after that. I kind of like the basic recipe with a little dash of curry powder. It's not fancy, but it adds a little bit of an interesting flavor twist.

    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat
    1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
    1 stalk celery, chopped

    Place almonds in a frying pan. Toast over medium-high heat, shaking frequently. Watch carefully, as they burn easily.
    In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and pepper. Toss with chicken, almonds, and celery.

  11. I LOVE chicken salad and I have my typical way of making that my friends say is yummy! I personaly cube my chicken but it would be EVEN better if it was shredded from rotisserie. I put real Mayo, celery, red grapes cut up, a little bit of yellow mustard and relish in it. I also add Salt & Pepper to taste. I don't have a set amount of each ingredient I just "eye" it. I don't like mine to be too dry so I add enough of the "wet" ingredients to make sure it's not. The trick for me is to not go by taste until it's set in the fridge for a few hours (I make it first thing in the morning or the night before to have for lunch). Then I taste it and if it needs "something else" I usually add a little bit more relish or S & P.
    Hope you find a recipe you love (and a birthday gift)!

  12. My chicken salad recipe is alot like Lindsay's simple one just shredded chicken, mayo, salt,pepper. I usually add curry powder and sometimes walnuts or grapes I also sometimes add black olives.

    I am in the same boat about birthday presents. Everyone keeps asking me what I want too, mine is the 23rd, but I don't know what to tell them.

  13. Honey… this seems very clear to me… For your birthday, what you need is a Chanel handbag.

    Enough said.


  14. Well, this might be redundant after looking at everyone's posts, but I think canned chicken makes the best chicken salad. I just toss in mayo/salt/pepper/dill and then chopped cashews and quartered red grapes. Yum.

    I am bad at making birthday lists too. My husband totally surprised me this year and got a beautiful dual translation bible. I love it! It is the Message and the NIV and it is also a study bible with great footnotes.

  15. I take 3-4 chicken breasts and boil/steam them with a dash of lemon extract.
    Then I use the food processor to shread the chicken and the put it in a separate bowl. I add 2-3 stalks of celery and 5-6 sweet pickles all done in the processor.
    I put in a 1/4 onion for taste – not to over do (also in the process). I like Kraft olive oil mayo also but the spice I use is Taragon or dill, just depends on which I feel like. I was trying to copy Richard's over by Briarwood and I think I got real close but theirs might be a little sweeter.

  16. WOW! Thank you all so much. I definitely have a good Chicken Salad grocery list now. And some good birthday ideas that I will definitely take under consideration…you are all the greatest!!

  17. I'm trying to find a good chicken salad recipe too for a baby shower I'm throwing in a couple of weeks. Thinking I might take the easy route and drive to Auburn for the good stuff instead of trying it myself. :)

  18. I can't believe I'm about to pass on the way I make something but since Zoe's chicken salad is my favorite too, and I think mine tastes A LOT like it….

    I use canned chicken and put it through my mini-chopper so that there are absolutely no chunks. Then I do the same thing with celery so it becomes almost undetectable (much like Zoe's). I add Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil SPARINGLY because I don't like my chicken salad to look or taste "wet".

    I made it for Bunko a couple of weeks ago and several girls asked for the recipe and said it tastes like Zoe's.

    By the way, I used my Zoe's gift card the other day that I won from you and brought home a huge container of the chicken salad. It was GREAT!

  19. Sorry — I know nothing about chicken salad (don't like it). BUT, supposedly we have a fabulous one where I work (at FarmLinks)… so here's a link to read about it and get the recipe! http://blog.al.com/living-news/2009/08/recipe_for_chicken_salad_from.html

    As far as b'day gifts, I think the new purse sounds like a great idea! ;) How about one you get to design yourself!?! Or, trust Chris to design it?!?! If not, there's always a gift card! Bspurses.com/balcazar

  20. Don't think I'd be much help with either task. I've never made Chicken Salad, but I love to eat it! How about a fun date night or day date for your birthday, some place that you don't usually go.

  21. Hi Rachel I have been reading your blog at work for about 3 months now. I look forward to your daily posts! Below is my recipe for Chicken Salad:

    3 cups Shredded Chicken Breasts (about 2-3 Breasts)
    1 1/2 Cups Diced Celery (about 5 stalks)
    2 TBSP Ranch Dressing
    1 Cup Mayonnaise
    2 tsp Lemon Pepper Seasoning
    1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
    1/4 tsp Sea Salt (optional)
    1/8 tsp Celery Salt (pinch)
    1/8 tsp Garlic Powder (pinch)

    Mix Well and Refrigerate before serving.

    *If making your own Chicken:
    Preheat Oven to 375 degrees
    Place Chicken Breasts in a casserole pan. Pour some ranch dressing on the chicken and sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. (The ranch and lemon pepper are to add flavor and keep the chicken moist)

    Cover the pan and bake chicken at 375 for 35-40 minutes (frozen chicken bake for 50-55 mins)
    Let the chicken cool down, then using two forks you can shred the chicken. (Or you can cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes and toss in a food processor for a fast super-fine shred.)

    **Want your chicken salad really fast – buy a rotisserie chicken at the deli**

    I like to eat my chicken salad on the BIG ChezIt crackers, but equally delicious on some toast with lettuce and cheese.


  22. Either I'm older than you or we're both going for that "28 was great–let's do it again" thing. . .Happy Birthday early. I say go for a pampered day–manicure, pedicure, haircut?, etc.

  23. Haven't read the other recipes so I hope this isn't a repeat of all the other recipes you've heard but I've FINALLY posted my recipe. It's on my "thoughts" blog. :)

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