Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Chicken Salad with Grapes

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!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cori---
Be careful what you write! The internet is EVERYwhere. This is Shirley Nagel, maker of chicken salad with GRAPES! :) Gregg's wife, Allison, forwarded your post to me and I had a good chuckle reading about the old days. I am still a "foodie," of sorts...now with 4 grandchildren and 1 on the way. (Amanda has 3 boys aged 4, 3, and 1, as well as a brand new baby girl; Brad (who has matured JUST a bit) and Sarah are expecting son #1 in Sept. Guess what I'm making for the shower this weekend? A chicken sald...but, an oriental one with candied almonds, mandarin oragnes, etc. I'm going out of town this coming week, but I'll leave a note to send you the recipe.

It was very fun to read your post!

Fondly,
Shirley Nagel

Gregg said...

I'm glad someone was enjoying it - I was always mortified that my mom insisted on preparing home-made food for youth group get-togethers. What a chump!

"EVERYONE ELSE JUST ORDERS PIZZAS!...WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE GROSS FOOD!...NOBODY WANTS YOUR NASTY CHICKEN SALAD"

Now, I make my wife prepare chicken salad the way my mom did!

The Gammons Family said...

Great post Cori! We love Nagel food too.

Andy

Charis & Judah's Mom said...

Wow. I never in my wildest dreams expected to get a comment from THE Shirley Nagel! I'm nearly famous! (And, frankly, really really looking forward to the recipe...) Come to think of it, I always wondered why the food at the Nagel's was so fancy; yes, everyone else DID order pizza--I always wondered if Mrs. Nagel just had leftovers from a swanky party she had thrown, because SURELY no one would go through so much effort to feed a bunch of teenagers who thought nacho-flavored Combos were the height of cuisine. I guess now I know the truth. Gregg, sorry you were so mortified (we all were mortified by our parents back then, about something), but your mom's cooking ROCKS. Which I guess you know by now. And so does Andy!

Carmina said...

Been looking another variation for this dish and finally found it, i'll try this one.