Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Leaving for Pennsylvania and The Secret to Great Chicken Salad

It's a busy day today. I am getting ready to leave for Pennsylvania. My dad's surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.

This is what I have to do before I leave:

Finish the laundry - ha! What a joke. The laundry is never done in this house. I squeezed in two loads yesterday - washed and dried. I just have to fold it and put it away. I HAVE to do this because I need to take clean underwear with me. Otherwise, if I get in an accident and have to be taken to the emergency room... well, you all know the rest...

Take the dog to the vet. Holly Bear has ugg.. I hate to say this. Diarrhea. She's just 7 months old and can't seem to shake this intestinal bug. I've been feeding her chicken and rice (yes, I cook for the dog) but every time I try to wean her back to dog food, oops. So off to the vet. That will only cost me a gazillion dollars so I better go the bank too.

Take the dog for a run. Holly Bear HAS to run everyday. If she doesn't get a run in she will drive everyone crazy. Lots of puppy energy here. Yes, even though she doesn't look it, she is a puppy. I'll do this before the vet, otherwise she will drive everyone at the vet crazy too. This means I will have to wear my dog walk/run/jump mud clothes to the vet - maybe they'll think I'm indigent and give me a discount.

I guess I'll have to fit a shower in somewhere before I go. And change my clothes. Glad I have clean underwear.

Leave notes everywhere around the house for everyone. Notes like, please feed the dog. Please run the dog. Please remember the dog has Diarrhea and if she rings the bell (yes, she rings a bell when she wants to go out) leave her out immediately!! PS. She rings a jingle bell. Her name is Holly, she came to our home at Christmas - get it?? I do love a theme.

Pack my clothes - no biggy. I'm good at that and they are actually clean.

Pack some food I will be making. It's all bought, but I have to pack a cooler because it's all perishable. Yes, I will be cooking in PA.

Wrap my grand daughter's birthday present. Hannah turned three yesterday and she informed me she wants to eat at a restaurant, (wow, apples don't fall far from trees, do they?) so I'm taking KidAdult #1 and family out to dinner. Oh, so I'll bring my camera. ps. KidAdult #1 is Anthony. Last middle is Zachary. Everything from A to Z. Get it? Like I said, I do love a theme!

Kiss the best husband in the world goodbye. Even though I'm still mad at him, well, maybe not THAT mad anymore. Already kissed middles goodbye before they left for school. Hug KidAdult #2 goodbye if he is awake by then (3:00 pm??)

Call my sister, S, who is on her way from Virginia.
Call my sister M, because I call her (or she calls me) everyday.
I suppose I should also call my mother since I'm staying at her house.

Which reminds me, I think I'll pack some Old Yeller from The Cellar.

The Secret to Great Chicken Salad:
I promised I'd give you some cooking tips and tricks on this blog and so far I think I've been remiss in that promise. I've posted a lot of recipes, but anyone can put a recipe together. There are, however, secrets and tricks that really good cooks (and chefs) know that can take a recipe from good to great. Here's one:

Most people make chicken salad from leftover chicken or they quick cook up (however) some chicken, cut it up and use their favorite ingredients. This is okay. But to get really, good, tender, moist chicken, do this:

2 Whole Chicken Breasts (bone in, skin removed)

Poach the chicken breasts by putting chicken in pot big enough to add water to cover chicken by 1 inch. Gently and slowly (this is an important part) bring water to a simmer. Continue to SIMMER (do not boil) chicken until done - about 30 minutes.

Another important part coming up:

Cool chicken IN the poaching water. That's right. AND when it has cooled down enough, put it, pot and all, covered in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, remove chicken from poaching liquid, take off bone and cube. Reserve the poaching liquid - this is a nice light broth. Freeze it, or add a little to your dog's kibble. You can also reduce it (by boiling) to a stronger broth and viola! you have chicken stock.

Back to the chicken salad:

You can add whatever you like to the cubed chicken, but I like the following:

1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced (that's called a chiffonade)
1/4 cup lite sour cream or greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper

This is good mounded on a large lettuce leaf (low-cal)
Great mounded in the center of mixed greens.
BEST on a buttery croissant (but not for me, because I AM ON A DIET and have will power and besides I don't have time to buy or make buttery croissants today)

Whatever you add to the chicken or however you eat it, I promise you will notice the difference. The secret is in the poaching and cooling in the liquid.

Bon Appetite. Let me know if you make this.

PS. Do not add any herbs, salt or flavoring to the poaching water. Just plain old water. And start with COLD water. It makes a difference. Phew - I almost forgot that part.

PSS. I am also making Mediterranean Seafood Stew at my mom's house. It anyone wants that recipe it is on my website, www. on the recipe tab.

Now I've got to fold that wash.....


  1. I am going to make this have a full day!!!!


  2. Thanks so much for the recipe - hope all goes well with the surgery.

  3. Thank you for your good thoughts. Enjoy the recipe!


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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