Use up some of your food storage and spices with this flavorful and aromatic Cranberry Curry Chicken Salad. It’s perfect for dipping crackers, topping a salad, or filling a sandwich.
Well it’s down to the wire here folks. I’m in complete denial and I continue to be in this denial until someone literally drags my flailing body, kicking and screaming, onto the airplane come Wednesday night. Looks like I’ll be United Airlines next YouTube sensation.
No seriously, I am dreading the day we leave this beautiful island. I am sitting here typing away (only because I feel guilty I haven’t shared a recipe in almost a week), glancing out our window at the picturesque blue skies, wondering how I am to survive without my dear Kailua town.
These past two years really have been the best two years of my life. I have cultivated some amazing friendships, watched my girls fall in love with the ocean, learned the “spirit of aloha”, grown closer to my husband, and discovered the true sense of adventure. Nothing can replace the memories we have created on this island. I pray they always stay with us.
One thing that has kept me somewhat distracted during this past week of denial is a little game called, “Use Up Everything in Your Pantry and Fridge and Freezer and Leave NOTHING Behind!”
Have you ever heard of that game before??? Really??? Because I thought everyone was playing it these days. Yeah, okay, I guess only me.
Well, even though the rest of the world may not be playing this game with me, I find it completely challenging, exhilarating, and oddly satisfying. I actually get an emotional high seeing food disappear from my freezer and transform into something new and completely edible.
It’s even more fulfilling when Ben comments, “Where is all of this food coming from?!”, thinking that I have spent my days meal prepping and cooking. Little does he know, I’ve just been playing Chopped with all of our leftovers and food storage.
I realized I may have been going slightly overboard when I starting rationing off the milk yesterday to make sure it lasts through Wednesday, and when I scolded Ben for opening a new package of cheese instead of finishing off another that was already open. I plan on divvying up my food among friends when we leave. Nobody wants an opened package of cheese!
Anyhow, one recent meal I was particularly proud of was this Cranberry Curry Chicken Salad. I’m all about the chicken salad! And when it’s loaded with sweet apples, chewy craisins, crisp celery, and crunchy almonds…that kind of chicken salad has my whole heart.
Braelyn absolutely loved the components and flavor of this chicken salad. She asked for it repeatedly in her school lunches, and ate it by the spoonful. I don’t blame her because I found myself planning out how I was going to eat my portion of chicken salad by mid morning. Was I going to scoop it on top of a salad? Was I going to dip it with some pretzel crisps? Or was I going to slap it on some toasted bread with some fresh avocado and lettuce?
Mmmm!!! I’m starting to think making another batch before we leave is a must. I do still have apples and celery…
I love the pairing of the sweet apples and cranberries with the earthy flavor of the curry and sage. That flavor combo was just meant to be. I also tossed in some tarragon because I LOVE tarragon, but you can always opt to just amp up the sage flavor and skip the tarragon. Depends on if you have it on hand.
Also, fresh chicken would taste phenomenal in this dish, but again, I was trying to get rid of food storage. I honestly never eat canned chicken unless it’s in dire times…like moving…but the canned chicken worked out perfectly. Skip the step of cooking your own chicken if you are okay with the canned stuff. But if you have the extra motivation, fresh chicken breast would be off the charts delicious.
Oh, I almost forgot my slightly amusing chicken salad story. So, after being on this chicken salad kick, I took a trip out to Arizona to house hunt. The friend I was staying with told me about this cafe that sold a variety of chicken salad flavors. There were about 8-10 options to choose from. Excitedly, my mom and I planned one of our days to eat lunch there. We each ordered a scoop so we could share. What was the consensus???
Are you kidding me?! I mean, they weren’t bad or anything, but c’mon if you are going to have a restaurant based strictly on your chicken salad it better be, excuse my French, DAMN good! Nope, ordinary at best. So if a cranberry curry chicken salad option pops up on their menu in the near future, know that I sent them an anonymous recipe for some memorable chicken salad. Haha!
So whether you’re moving or just experiencing a stressful day and just the thought of an easy meal soothes your soul, try out this comforting chicken salad. It’s sure to calm your nerves and give you that extra boost of energy you need.
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (or 6 small 5 oz. cans chicken, drained)
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayo
- 1¼ teaspoon curry powder
- ½-3/4 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed sage
- ½ teaspoon dried tarragon (optional)*
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ cup diced apples
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup sliced almonds**
- ¼ cup craisins or raisins
- Drain cans of chicken, or shred freshly cooked chicken breasts, and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayo, curry powder, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, sage, tarragon, lemon juice, and honey. Mix until smooth. Add chicken to mixture and stir, breaking up large chunks, until well mixed.
- Dice apples and celery. Add to chicken mixture. Toss in almonds** and raisins. Stir to combine and distribute ingredients evenly. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve mixture right away, or chill in fridge for 2-4 hours to let flavors marry.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in fridge for up to 5 days.
**Toasted almonds bring out a richer flavor. If desired, toast almonds on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Allow them to cool before mixing into chicken salad.