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Tis the season, baseball season, and our oldest is ramping up for his first year of machine pitch baseball. Those shiny red cleats he’s sporting are screaming, “I’m brand new!” And the twice-a-week baseball practices have officially begun. Twice a week isn’t so bad, but when practice goes from 6 to 8pm, dinner has to be ready to eat at 5pm for him (with a quick snack when he gets home) and at 8pm for dad, the coach. Luckily, both of these boys like sandwiches, because they’re a simple solution to odd dinner times. Our classic fallback is the BLT, but a simple roasted chicken salad always pull through in the clutch, and I love that I can make it ahead of time!
Easy Roasted Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is super versatile since it can be eaten in a sandwich, on crackers, on apple slices, or in lettuce leaves. And it keeps well in the fridge, so it can be quickly pulled out for any meal or snack. Now, I haven’t always loved chicken salad: my chicken was too chunky; there was too much celery, too much mayo, blah, blah, blah. My chicken salad was a constant disappointment no matter what I tried, until I stumbled upon the roasted chicken salad at The Fresh Market. Oh la la! And I’m not even French!
Word on the street is that The Fresh Market makes their chicken salad from rotisserie chickens, and if you’ve ever tasted it, then you can see how that would be true. The well-seasoned chicken has a light creaminess and bits of crunchy celery. Its simplicity and barely-there mayo won me over! I knew I needed to break down this recipe because 1. I couldn’t afford to buy it from TFM very frequently (ka-ching!) and 2. when I make it from home, I know exactly what’s going into it.
Now, I don’t usually have leftover rotisserie chickens just laying around, and I wanted a way to replicate the recipe without having to roast an entire chicken, pick off the meat, etc. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!) So here’s my simplified roasted chicken salad.
1.5-2lbs chicken breasts
mayonnaise (I love Duke’s)
- pan roast chicken breasts for 8 minutes on the stove top (four minutes per side) on medium high heat. Move the skillet to a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Check the temperature of the chicken to make sure it is done. An instant-read thermometer is a great tool to have in the kitchen for checking meat temps.
- Shred the cooked chicken with a food processor (no big chunks here!). It only takes 8 to 10 pulses. This is much easier than shredding by hand.
- Chop the celery into a fine dice. (You could also do this while the chicken is finishing up in the oven.)
- Mix the chicken and celery up with Duke’s mayo. I’m not a paid sponsor (not hardly), but I live in the South, and Duke’s is THE mayo to use. This is by far the least energy consuming way I’ve ever made chicken salad, but I can still make my family think I slaved all afternoon over it. My secret is safe with you, right?
While I like my chicken salad pretty simple, if you like your’s jazzed up with grapes, apples, pecans, curry, etc. you can definitely use this recipe and simply add in your favorite ingredients to make it your own. I’d love to know what other ingredients you put in your chicken salad!