There’s hundreds of variations of chicken salad recipes. This is my go-to.
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, baked and shredded 4 large eggs, boiled and diced 2 large white onions, diced 2 tbsp celery seed 4 tbsp dill pickle relish 2 cups low fat mayonnaise
Of course, you may feel free to adjust the ingredients, but once you have collected them all, simply put them in a bowl and using a large spoon, fold everything together, making sure you don’t make mush out of the chicken breasts.
Serve on toast, with crackers, as sandwiches, or even corn chips.
As a variation, you can add 1 package of Ranch style dressing/dip powder to the combination.
It’s been a while since we’ve engaged in a meaningful chat, dear readers of The Wannabe Gourmet. Pull up a chair and I’ll pour a cup of coffee for you.
Most people find Autumn/Winter to be a time for descent/death and spring to be a time for Rebirth. While I feel that way, too, I also see beauty in the rebirth brought during the Autumn/Winter timeframe, when the slate is proverbially “wiped clean,” giving us the ability to create, to find ourselves again.
Since I started this website in October 2008, there have been many ups and downs in my life. Sometimes the gardens have blossomed in beauty and life has been better than I could ever imagine. Other times, the weeds took over and an occasional tornado has blown it all away. I’ve been catfished, I’ve been married, I’ve been divorced. I’ve gone through hades in employment, but kept on travelling and, after a period of almost 17 years outlasted a supervisor whose sole intent it was to either terminate me or make it so I’d resign. I’ve had health issues culminating in a heart attack due to stress. Through it all, however, has remained the desire I have of assisting others in learning there’s more to life than just take-away food and UberEATS.
We’re at the start of a New Beginning for The Wannabe Gourmet. To be pendantic, I, Jonathan Everyday, am looking forward to this continued journey. My love for photography and cooking has never waned…though it had been severely curtailed due to circumstances. The kitchen should never be a place that scares you. So you have a dish that doesn’t turn out the way you’d like…. we’ve all had that. The important thing is that you learn from your experiences. Grow from life. Move beyond what didn’t work…into what allows you to shine. Maybe you’re not meant to be able to make beautiful desserts. Maybe main courses just aren’t your thing. Maybe…just maybe…you’re like me and can’t cook in small amounts. (The solution to that is simple: either get a freezer, or feed your friends and extended family!)
Join me in the voyage to new beginnings. Feel the sparkle. Embrace the magic!
2 cans black beans (no salt added) 1 8oz brick of Neufchâtel cheese 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream 1/2 cup hot salsa (or as hot as you like) 1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning 2 cups shredded reduced fat 4 cheese Mexican blend 1 bunch diced scallions (divided)
In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, add everything except 1/2 of the scallions. Process until semi-chunky. Place in baking tin and cover with remaining 1/2 of scallions.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Enjoy with tortilla chips, veggies, or crackers.
This dish makes for perfect two-bite hors d’oeuvres. The roasted garlic lends a nutty taste instead of a pungent garlic flavour. These will disappear quickly at your next party!
1 lb 16-20 shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced 1 tbsp olive oil 3 large scallions, cut into matchstick size 1/4 tsp Kosher salt 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (or more to taste) 16-20 roasted garlic cloves 16-20 toasted French bread rounds, seasoned with butter and Italian seasoning shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
Heat olive oil in wok or large heavy skillet. When the oil begins to wisp smoke, add the garlic and allow it to infuse the oil with flavour, but do not brown. This should take about 60-90 seconds. Garlic will soften slightly. Add scallions and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, until they begin to get wilt. Add shrimp and toss until they are cooked (they will turn pink and curl slightly to let you know they’re done). Remove from heat, sprinkle salt and cracked black pepper over all.
Take each toasted round and place several shavings of Pecorino Romano cheese, then a sautéed shrimp, and in the curl, tuck a clove of roasted garlic.
Makes 16-20 appetizers.
Option 1: Take 1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise and 2 tbsp of prepared horseradish (not horseradish sauce) and combine in a small bowl. Omit Pecorino Romano cheese, and spread a thin layer of spread on the toast round to hold the garlic and shrimp in place.
Option 2: Omit garlic but wrap individual shrimp in thin slices of prosciutto.
Option 3: Cook bacon just until done but not crisp. Wrap each shrimp in a piece of bacon, place on toast round, and grate Pecorino Romano cheese overtop. Place under broiler just until bacon is crisped up (be careful not to burn!)
Option 4: If Bay Scallops (the small scallops) are in season, sauté them in a small amount of dry white vermouth. Tuck one scallop inside a shrimp and serve on toast. Top with shaved Romano cheese.)
9 ounces chocolate, divided 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks 1/4 tsp. salt 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 3 tbsp bourbon, combined with 2 tbsp hot water 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened, sifted cocoa powder (nonalkalized) 2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup chopped pecans 1/4 cup all purpose flour 7 large eggs, room temperature Fudge Glaze (recipe follows)
Position rack in the middle of oven preheated to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan (which is at least 2 1/2 inches deep). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Generously grease the paper and sides of the pan. Dust with flour and tap out any excess.
Coarsely chop 6 ounces of the chocolate. In a heavy saucepan, combine the chopped chocolate, butter, salt and vanilla. Warm over low heat, stirring frequently and watching carefully to prevent scorching. When chocolate and butter are completely melted, remove from heat. In a thin stream, stir in the bourbon-water mixture. Add the cocoa powder and mix well. It may appear slightly curdled. This is okay!
In a food processor, combine the sugar and pecans. Process until the nuts are ground to a powder but not oily (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 minutes). Transfer the pecan mixture to a large bowl. Wipe out the food processor with a paper towel. Coarsely chop the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate. Process the chocolate in the food processor until chopped fairly fine. Add the flour and process until the chocolate and flour are blended and the chocolate is very fine, about 45 seconds.
In large mixing bowl with whisk beater attached, beat the eggs and pecan mixture until well blended. Turn speed to high and beat 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is lightened and almost doubled in volume. Reduce the speed to medium and beat two minutes longer. The mixture will deflate but will be stable. Remove 1 cup of the egg mixture from the bowl and stir it into the melted chocolate mixture until well blended. Add the melted chocolate-egg mixture and the flour mixture to the large bowl. Using a whisk, combine the ingredients just until well blended, but don’t over mix. Turn the batter out into the pan. Rap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Set of a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees F and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes longer, or until the center springs back when lightly tapped and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean except for some moist crumbs at the bottom.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack. Let cool completely 1 1/2 hours, or more. Run a knife around the cake and gently remove the pan sides.
To glaze the cake, which has been carefully inverted from the pan following complete cooling, place back on the 8 inch round cake pan bottom.
Pour a generous two thirds of the fudge glaze over the top of the cake and lightly spread it out to the edges using a long bladed metal spatula. Keep your strokes even and smooth and spread remaining glaze over the sides of cake.
Yields 10 to 12 servings
Similar to the fudge making process, the challenge is determining when the glaze is done (soft candy stage, unset, unlike fudge). It’s an excellent glaze for brownies and any type of cake you want to top with chocolate.
1 cup heavy whipping cream 1 cup sugar 3 tbsp light corn syrup 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks 1/8 tsp salt 4 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract Hot water, if required
In a heavy 2 1/2 to 3 quart saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Cover he pot with a tight fitting lid and boil for 2 minutes to allow the steam to wash the sugar crystals from the sides of pan (this eliminates possible graininess). Wash any sugar remaining on spoon.
Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium. In any sugar remains, wash down the sides of the pan with a damp paper towel or a pastry brush dipped in warm water. You may wish to use a candy thermometer to test for doneness. Gently boil, stirring, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pan until the mixture reaches 227 to 228 degrees F. This will take about 1 ½ minutes. Remove from heat.
Gently stir the chocolate, then vanilla, into the mixture until just the chocolate melts and the glaze is completely smooth. If it looks oily, you have over mixed it and must thin with a bit of hot water until it is glossy, and smooth. Set aside for 2 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the glaze thickens and cools slightly. If too thick, add a bit more hot water until a pourable, spreadable consistency is obtained. If it is too thin and runny to spread, allow to cool further so it will stiffen.
Yields enough for a 9 x 13 inch pan of brownies or a 9 inch cake. (Recipe originally appeared on “Gourmet A Go-Go” blog pre-2007.)