When I was a Junior in High School, I was hanging with a bunch of youth group friends at the Nagel's house--Gregg was a Junior, too, and Amanda was, I think, a freshman. Brad was still an annoying little punk. Now everybody is all grown up and married with families and careers and stuff--how time flies. It should take longer to get old.
Anyway, Gregg's mom, Shirley, is a very good cook. She had already introduced me to the wonderful world of Quesadillas, but on this particular day, she opened a much more significant door for me--the door to Chicken Salad.
It looked funny; it had chicken and celery, but also...grapes? And mayonnaise? Gross! Naturally, never having tasted any sort of chicken salad, I was skeptical, and curious why anyone would combine these ingredients, much less enjoy them. But I took some to be polite ('cause that's how my mama raised me), and I'm glad I did--it was a taste sensation. I'm pretty sure I went back for seconds and thirds, probably rearranging the remaining salad so it didn't look as if I had just eaten half of it. Which I had.
I didn't ask for the recipe, but over the years, I've developed two Chicken Salad recipes of my own. This particular recipe, while it's not Shirley's, at least channels her chicken-salad-making spirit. It's a very summery combination of chicken, celery, onions, seedless red grapes, and a tangy dressing. I hope you enjoy it as I did so many (many, many) years ago.
Chicken Salad with Grapes
3 c. diced cooked chicken
1/2 c. diced celery
1/4 c. minced onion
1 c. red seedless grapes, halved
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1-1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Paula Deen's House seasoning (recipe follows)
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
Combine the chicken, celery, onion, and grapes.
In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients, mixing well.
Thoroughly combine dressing with chicken mixture, and chill at least 1 hour before serving. Serve on bread or rolls as a sandwich or over greens for a lovely salad. Serves 4.
Paula Deen's House Seasoning
1 c. salt
1/4 c. ground black pepper
1/4 c. garlic powder
Mix well, and store in an airtight container. Useful for seasoning just about anything!