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When I think of a good warm-weather dinner, one of the first dishes that comes to mind is my husband's grandmother's hot chicken salad. I got the recipe years ago and ordinarily tweak recipes through the years, but this recipe is one I never change.

In fact, the original recipe is so perfect I get requests for it every time I serve it. It's so simple to make and, better yet, anytime you have leftover chicken, you can put it together in no time.

It's great for any leftover rotisserie chicken, or better still, if you have the time to boil your own, do so and save that delicious broth for another use. Chicken broth freezes perfectly and lasts for quite some time, so you'd have it handy to pull out when you need to make soup and other casseroles.

But back to the hot chicken salad. Don't let the amount of lemon juice scare you. Unlike other hot chicken salad recipes that call for just a scant bit of lemon juice, this one calls for 4 full tablespoons. But the lemon flavor doesn't overwhelm the other tastes going on in the mixture — toasted almonds, crisp celery, cheese and chips, not to mention the chicken and mayonnaise.

It really is a delicious idea for brunch or dinner. And I've even made a chicken salad sandwich with leftovers the next day.

 

Hot Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked chicken

2 cups chopped celery

1 cup mayonnaise 

1/2 cup toasted almond slices

4 tablespoons lemon juice

Topping:

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup crushed potato chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine chicken, celery, almonds and lemon juice, and blend well. Transfer mixture to a 9- by 9-inch baking dish. Toss together cheese and chips, and sprinkle over top of chicken salad. Bake for 30 minutes or until chips are golden brown and mixture is bubbly.

Email Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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Anne Braly
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