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  #1  
Old 07-25-2015, 10:57 AM
JenniferM JenniferM is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Eastern NC
Posts: 156
Default Tim's Hot Chicken Salad

Long time, no CI cook! I've been away for awhile because I moved, and had packed up almost all of my CI in prep for the relocation. We're all settled into our house now, and I am just getting back into the swing of things. I hope all of my fellow CI friends are doing well.

This recipe has special meaning to me. It's a dish I was introduced to by a colleague when we were corporate weenies, and used to have meetings catered; he always had this brought it, and ordered 'a little extra' because he knew I loved it. Sadly, this same colleague of mine passed away this past spring.

I used to buy this dish from the caterer on occasion to the tune of @ $28/pie plate, which as a main dish, was only enough for 3 ppl unless you are a bird. We just moved back into the town where the caterer is earlier this month, I picked up a tin of this, but something was off/different/quality wasn't the same - SADNESS! I set out to find a recipe close enough to what it was that I could try, adapt here and there to make it right. I found a few that were kinda similar, but kind different also. I took the parts I knew were right, and changed some to make it more like what I'd had so many times before. So, I'm posting my version of it below, with pictures.

Admittedly, this morning was THE first time I made this. The house was quiet, I'd had plenty of coffee, and I felt like giving it a whirl. And I'll tell ya, I swear my old colleague was watching over me, telling me 'you got this buddy!' as I was making it and wondering if it'd be okay. There is NO other way it could have come out this good ... so much so, it's what I had for breakfast!

With that, in memory of my colleague, Tim, I hope you'll enjoy this as much as we do if you decide to make it for your family!

Pre-bake:


Post-bake:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipe to follow ...
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  #2  
Old 07-25-2015, 11:01 AM
JenniferM JenniferM is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Eastern NC
Posts: 156
Default Re: Tim's Hot Chicken Salad

This recipe makes a LOT … like enough for a large family gathering buffet! It’s enough to fill approximately three #8 or #9 cast iron skillets, which is great because it’s a bit of a process to mix this altogether. It’s so delicious … you WILL want to have some again. I baked one #10 skillet meal, and divided up the remainder into two freezer bags to freeze for future quick meals. You can also make this a day ahead, and put it in fridge until you’re ready to bake it.

If you don’t want as much as this recipe makes, cut the recipe in half, bake it in a 9x14 dish, and that should produce plenty for 7-10 servings (or leftovers, if feeding fewer people).

Lastly, some people may want to call this by the dreaded ‘C’-word ([SIZE="1"]casserole[/SIZE]). I despise that word, and have a phobia about eating anything called by that name. Call it whatever you want … but don’t use the ‘c’ word if you’re serving it to me, please.

Ingredients:
• Two - 12.5 ounce cans white meat chicken breast, drained & slightly shredded and chunks broken apart (people who like lots of chicken can use 3 cans)
• Four cups instant white rice
• Two cups celery, diced
• One 22 oz can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (undiluted) (Campbells ‘Family Sized’)
• Two cups mayonnaise (I used Dukes, and it was ‘da bomb!)
• One medium onion, diced
• One tbsp lemon juice
• One tbsp dried rosemary, crushed
• One tsp pepper
• One tbsp salt
• Two 8 oz cans sliced water chesnuts (I further diced these up also)
• One cup slivered almonds
• One cup shredded cheese (we used Mexi-Taco blend, but mild cheddar would work well also).
• One stick unsalted butter (don’t use margarine – PLEASE!)
Process:
1. Cook instant rice per box instructions; set aside to cool while working through next steps.
2. In a large skillet (I used a #10 cast iron skillet), melt the entire stick of butter over medium-medium/high heat (get it sizzling but don’t let it burn). Once melted and slightly sizzling, add diced onions & celery, and sauté until about 50% softened/translucent. At that point, remove skillet from heat, and allow to cool while proceeding to next step.
3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise & cream of mushroom soup, and stir well to mix together.
4. In a VERY large bowl (an oven roasting pan or comparable would be great so you don’t whip chunks of rice around when mixing it together), combine: chicken (drained), rice (cooked), celery & onion mixture (and butter), water chestnuts, almonds, lemon juice, and dried spices. Add the shredded cheese last just before starting the next step (otherwise, the heat from the warm ingredients will start to melt it, making the next step a little harder).
5. Pour the mayo & cream of mushroom soup mixture onto contents if the large bowl, and carefully mix this together. (I found a wooden spoon to work well, and a spatula to keep scraping the sides and ensure all ingredients were well combined.)
If you’re baking one meal for 3-6 people (or fewer, with leftovers), spread enough mixture to fill up a 9” pie pan, #8 skillet or other similar sized, round baking dish; sprinkle a little extra cheese on top, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 mins (ovens vary, so check it at 30 mins). You want the center hot and the cheese on top melted, but not burned.

If you’re planning to bake ALL of this at once for a very large family or gathering, spread it into your baking dish/es (or cast iron skillets, which work great!), sprinkle a little extra cheese on top of each dish, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees. One skillet/pan takes about 35-40 mins. Baking multiple pans may take a little longer, so you’ll have to check it at 35 mins, and determine if more time is needed, as ovens vary.

To freeze remaining, unbaked mixture, divide up into freezable pie tins with lids or freezer bags; label, and freeze. Not sure how long it will keep in the freezer; I doubt it will last long in mine, given how much we love this! When you want to bake a frozen meal, just thaw and follow baking instructions above.

Serve hot & enjoy!

CI tip: when I baked the first batch this morning, I did not pre-heat my skillet in the oven. It was still a smidge warm from sauteing the onions & celery. I noticed that - post-bake - the edges were just the littlest bit crunchy. Next time, I think I will pre-heat my skillet, and see if I get more of that crunchiness to the edges.
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  #3  
Old 07-25-2015, 01:32 PM
Bonnie Scott Bonnie Scott is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 1,692
Default Re: Tim's Hot Chicken Salad

Yay! You are back, I missed you.
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  #4  
Old 07-25-2015, 03:44 PM
JBPoole JBPoole is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: East Central Georgia.
Posts: 191
Default Re: Tim's Hot Chicken Salad

I never met a chicken I didn't like! Welcome back Jennifer!

All hail the queen of cast iron cooking !!!
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  #5  
Old 07-25-2015, 08:28 PM
W. Hilditch W. Hilditch is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Talking Rock, GA
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Default Re: Tim's Hot Chicken Salad

I agree with your take on the 'C' word. What's ______ ______ is 'CSC' - Campbell's Soup Casserole. I guess you can call it fried chicken if you like.

Hilditch
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  #6  
Old 07-26-2015, 06:04 AM
JenniferM JenniferM is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Eastern NC
Posts: 156
Default Re: Tim's Hot Chicken Salad

Thank you all for the warm welcome back! Believe you me, it was painful having the majority of my CI packed up in storage for two months. Looking forward to getting back to cooking and sharing what I think others may also enjoy.
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