Car picnic season is in full swing! My daughter had her first cross country meet. She’ll be starting her quick-recall Bible quiz team practices soon. Church activities are on the schedule. What and when are we going to eat?
While lunch meats/cold cuts/deli meats are quick and portable sandwich fillings, they are also expensive and often less than healthy choices. I’ve come to rely on this quick and easy chicken salad recipe to stuff sandwiches when I don’t have other good options and often when I do. It’s tasty!
Now to be clear, this is not the chicken salad I would serve for a ladies’ luncheon. This is the throw-together-and-go chicken salad that I can make from pantry ingredients. The ingredients aren’t all shelf-stable but they are all things I keep around as a matter of routine.
Quick – check!
Easy – check!
From the pantry – check!
Enough chat, then! Let’s go!
Quick & Easy Chicken Salad
Makes enough chicken salad for 3-4 sandwiches.
- about a cup of cooked chicken, either cooked at home or canned will do
- about 2 “table spoons” of mayo, or whipped salad dressing if you like it like I do
- about a “table spoon” of sweet pickle relish
- about a third of a “table spoon” of instant minced onion, or chop up a bit of fresh if you have the time or inclination
Note: If I’m making this chicken salad, I’m probably in a hurry. I’m not going to dig out measuring spoons or generate any more messy dishes and flatware than I absolutely must. So when I say “table spoon” in this recipe, I’m referring to the larger spoon in the following picture. The smaller spoon is a “tea spoon” that I would use to eat my breakfast cereal or my pudding. The larger one is a soup spoon or “table spoon” and not a serving spoon. So one spoon, one bowl, mix and done!
What to do:
Start with about a cup of cooked chicken. I cooked it fresh because I had time, but leftovers are fine, as is a can (drained) of cooked chicken breast. You can use any amount of chicken if you adjust the other ingredients accordingly. Dump the chicken into a cereal bowl, or obviously a larger bowl if you’re using more chicken.
Add the mayo, relish, and onion. My family likes onion, but if you’re not a fan then adjust it down or leave it out altogether.
Stir it up until everything is evenly mixed.
Now you have a choice. If you used fresh onion then you can slap the chicken salad on bread and eat it right away. If you used the instant minced onion then you really need to let the chicken salad sit so the onions can rehydrate. If you’re packing a car picnic then the sandwiches will probably sit for a while anyway, so you can make and pack your sandwiches and head out the door. If you used instant minced onion and you’re planning to eat right away your chicken salad will be edible but maybe a little crunchy. Or if you have one of those great days when you’re planning ahead you can make the chicken salad now and make the sandwiches right before you head out the door so your bread doesn’t get soggy. And don’t forget your cooler!
How easy was that?!? Pull four ingredients from the fridge & pantry, mix in one bowl with one spoon, and you’re done. It’s quick and easy and it creates very little mess to be cleaned up. If you want to get fancy you can substitute ranch dressing for the mayo and onion, skip the relish, and then add a little minced bacon and shredded cheddar cheese to make bacon-cheddar-ranch chicken salad. Or leave out the pickle relish and add a splash of soy sauce, a bit of mustard, and a pinch of ginger powder to make an Asian-inspired chicken salad. Or just stick with the classic. You could also make this recipe with tuna instead of chicken if you like seafood. I hope you enjoy your quick & easy chicken salad in whichever form you try it!
Where do you think you’ll take your quick & easy chicken salad?
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