Cooking Feed Me Phoebe’s Lemony Tarragon Chicken Salad

It’s hot as heck here in New York, so you know what that means: time to look for new chicken salad recipes! Feed Me Phoebe has become a new favorite food blog with lots of interesting dishes. Since I hadn’t exploited the site for chicken salad recipes, it was the first to pop into my mind. My mom actually makes a tarragon chicken salad that I really like, which is why I chose this one for Lemony Tarragon Chicken Salad.

I fully intended to follow the recipe and pick up a rotisserie chicken like the recipe suggests, but my daughter and I ran to the grocery store early and there weren’t any available yet. So, I grabbed some chicken breasts and gave them the ol’ olive oil-salt-pepper treatment and cooked them up on the cast iron.

While the chicken cooked I made the dressing which was super simple. Earlier that week I had made some mayonnaise to go along with the Bangin’ BLTs and used that when putting this meal together. This was all part of my menu master plan for the week. I love homemade mayo because it’s so awesomely rich, but it doesn’t last a super long time, so if you’re not a sandwich fiend, it might make sense to have a chicken salad recipe or something that will use up a good portion of the delightful condiment in line for that same week. In other words, don’t waste all that goodness!

With the dressing made, I got to chopping up the herbs and veggies. For the tarragon, I turned to our mini herb garden — look for a mini-post on this down the line  —  golly that’s a unique, bright and bite-y flavor. I also threw in a few diced pieces of celery because I’m used to that in chicken salads and had a few sitting around.

I went with a really small, cube-y dice for the chicken on this. My wife noted that it didn’t stay on the bun very well, so you might want to go with a larger chop. I wasn’t quite sure how far the two chicken breasts I had allotted for this meal would go, hence the smaller cut.

For serving purposes, I didn’t go with the lettuce leaves as mentioned. I intended to, but while walking through the grocery store, I stumbled across some pretzel buns and thought they’d go really well with this cool, tangy dish. I topped the chicken salad with some fresh, clean spinach and was good to go.

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Cooking Mediterranean Chicken Salad

A few months back I started looking around for new recipe websites to check out for dinner ideas. One that I came across was Simply Recipes which posted a new recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Salad a few weeks back. That sounded not only like the kind of dish I’d like to make, but also one that wouldn’t heat up the house too much. Thankfully, it turned out to be both.

As usual, I don’t have cooked chicken breasts just hanging around, so one of the first things I did was get a few breasts cooking. I think I had two or three in the freezer and got them out to thaw a few days before making this dish. Aside from cooking those in salt, pepper and olive oil, the only other thing you have to do that involves heat is make some pasta which is more of a suggestion that necessary  I went that route to fortify it a bit though I would also suggest getting some pita and using that as a delivery system.

Aside from those two things you’re just soaking onion in some red wine vinegar (I had yellow on hand instead of red), chopping up some olives and getting your herbs together. Since it was still pretty early in the season I went with all dried, but I’d recommend going the fresh route if you can. I liked how the finished product came together, but there’s a different texture when you use dried over fresh herbs, kind of like you’re eating food that was out during a confetti shower.

Regardless of what ingredients you use, though, the process is the same. Shred the chicken when it’s done, drain the pasta and toss with all the other ingredients in a big ol’ bowl until well mixed. I’m a big fan of pickled type flavors, I like tart, sour things, so this was a big hit with me between the olives and capers. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that those flavors really developed between the first serving and lunch the next few days, so, if you have time, make this one in advance and let it sit. Next time, I think I’ll go with some pita, fresh herbs and maybe even a bit of feta to round things out.

Cooking Fruity Curry Chicken Salad

Chicken salad’s one of those great meals that doesn’t usually take too long to make and also has an incredibly amount of versatility. Earlier this summer I tried making an Asian Chicken Salad that turned out pretty well, but I’ve got to give a major shout out to Fruity Curry Chicken Salad I found on All Recipes. Like most chicken salad recipes I’ve seen, the only real cooking you have to do is the chicken, which I just cooked in olive oil, salt and pepper in a pan.

The rest of it is just cutting stuff up and mixing things in a bowl including grapes, golden raisins, a green apple, curry powder and toasted almonds. I’d never had golden raisins before, but I liked their taste because they were less bitter than the traditional purple ones. Also, the curry we have is straight out of Sri Lanka from when my wife went to visit our friend from college there, so it’s top notch stuff (I assume, I really have no idea, but it’s tasty).

I really liked how all these flavors came together. The curry is a chicken one, of course, and worked so well with the grapes, apple, nuts and mayo. There’s also a lot of interesting textures going on in there too, from the crisp apples to the chewy raisins. As far as I’m concerned, this recipe takes the cake and will definitely make it into my regular rotation, assuming I actually start having a regular rotation.

Cooking Food Network’s Asian Chicken Salad

I’m fairly convinced that there’s no good meals to prepare when it’s beastly hot out. Maybe something you can just throw out on a grill and check occasionally, but considering we’re in a place where that’s not an option, I’m sure it’s impossible for me. Unless you just want to eat salad all summer. I thought Food Network’s Asian Chicken Salad would have made for a nice, cool meal to put together and eat, but was definitely wrong on the first half of that idea.

This is actually a super easy meal to put together. You make a dressing, marinate some chicken, grill it, chop up some veggies and you’ve got yourself a meal with plenty of protein and veggies that also happens to be tasty. You can see how the recipe is prepared and that’s basically what I did. I got the dressing together first which was just whisking a bunch of stuff together. Part of that went over the chicken for ten minutes.

While that was going on, it was time to chop up the veggies. You’re working with carrots, cabbage and snow peas here, so it’s nothing too complicated. I tried to get all that done in the ten minutes it took to marinate, but am honestly not sure if I accomplished that. One thing I have to deal with on the regular is a very needy one year old wanting to be held while cooking. I do remember having to chop the cabbage one handed, no small task.

I grilled the chicken on a cast iron grill pan until they were done, then chopped them up, put it in the bowl with the veggies and added the rest of the dressing and the chow mein noodles. Boom, you’re done. I will say that, since I’ve made some Thai and other Asian dishes here and there, I felt the flavors were a little lacking. When I ate this as leftovers the next day, I warmed up some peanut butter and poured that in as well. I would also add some lime next time. And there will be another next time because it is so easy, I’ll just make a few tweaks to make it even better.

Cooking Chicken Salad Veronique & Tomato Feta Pasta Salad

Like I said before, it was over 90 degrees last week and I was desperately looking for dinners that would not blast heat throughout the house. I came across a pair of Ina Garten recipes for Chicken Salad Veronique and Tomato Feta Pasta Salad that looked cool and both featured elements I could make earlier in the day and use during dinner. It was supposed to be an easy, relaxed dinner spread out over the whole day, but I wound up needing to make mayonnaise, so things got a little hotter than expected.

It started out well, though. I tossed four chicken breasts covered in olive oil, salt and pepper in to the oven and let cook for 40 minutes like the recipe suggests. When that was done, I let the chicken cool and then put it in the refrigerator until I needed it later. When it got closer to dinner time, I got to work on the rest of the salad which only really needed some cut up grapes and celery tossed in a bowl with the chopped chicken and mixed with mayo and tarragon from the herb garden.

Then I realized I didn’t have any mayo, but did have all the things I needed to make it again and decided to do that. I started out trying to make a half batch because we don’t really eat that much mayonnaise in our house, but I think I screwed up the ratios and had to then make closer to a full batch. This was a bit of a mess and I had to do it twice and busted out the electric whisk, something I’ve never used before, but it got the job done. In went the homemade mayo, out came chicken salad.

While I was sweating bullets mixing this at first by hand, a pot of water was boiling on the stove for the Tomato Feta Pasta Salad. This helped add an extra side to the menu, but also use up some of the pasta we got for Lu’s birthday party after my wife and the inlaws went shopping at BJ’s. Anyway, aside from the boiling pasta water, this was easy peasy to put together. Make pasta, throw a bunch of stuff for the dressing in a food processor, cut up some veggies and you’re done. I accidentally put some of the cheese into the processor, so the dressing came out kind of chunky instead of smooth, so I had to really mix it more, but it turned out really tasty.

I enjoyed both of these dishes and will definitely make them again. The chicken salad reminded me of the kind my mom used to make, especially with the grapes and celery, so it not only tasted good but also had a nice memory to it. Definitely give these recipes a shot if you don’t want to heat your house up too much this summer or want to take an easy dish to a cook out with friends.