The World's Best Chicken Salad
Maybe you have your own favorite recipe for this staple. It's actually very good with just mayonnaise and parsley, but this recipe is only a little more trouble and is festive and colorful. The original recipe is from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook by Julee Rosse and Sheila Lukins. I own both of the Silver Palate cookbooks and have made many good things from them.
Poach some boneless chicken breasts--I bring a pot of water to a boil (adding some salt is a good idea), then put the chicken in and turn the heat down to as low as possible. Put the lid on and let cook for 15 minutes, then use an instant-read thermometer to test. It really should reach 160 to be sure to kill all the salmonella. Poke the thermometer into the middle of the thickest part to be sure you're getting an accurate reading. Take the chicken out of the water and put on a cutting board to cool enough to handle, then chop into fairly small pieces, being sure to discard the tough tendons and any obvious fat.
Finely chop some pecans--1/4 cup per chicken breast half
Cut red seedless grapes in half--a cup or so per breast half, depending on how much you like them
Finely chop some celery--also 1/4 cup for breast half, or to taste. I'm not a big celery fan, but there are some recipes that require it and this is one of them. I never, ever buy a big bunch of the stuff if I can possibly help it. Instead, I buy the loose stuff, picking out the smallest stalks I can find. Go ahead and include the leaves if they're attached.
Finely chop green onions--1-2 per breast half, and you can chop up the dark green part as well as the white and pale green, up to the point where they start looking wilted. I've thrown out way too many green onion tops, thinking that they were too tough to use, but they're actually just fine, being very similar to chives.
Crumble blue cheese, to taste--I hope you don't have any guests who don't like blue cheese, as it's what makes this salad really special. Don't buy that horrible pre-crumbled stuff! It's always dry and chalky. You don't want to overdo it--again, maybe 1/4 cup per chicken breast, then see what you think.
Mix all of the above with enough mayonnaise to bind everything together and make the salad creamy. Then it can just sit in the fridge until you're ready to eat. You can serve this on crackers, but I used my homemade rolls and let everyone make sandwiches. (No one will shoot you if you use store-bought bread.) The batch I made disappeared completely, always a good sign!