Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crunchy Chicken and Fresh Pear Salad With Dried Cranberries

When my grandchildren return to college, I will return to cooking for two. It isn't easy. I often mis-judge the serving size and usually have leftover food. This week it was leftover chicken. Originally, I baked the chicken in the oven with a bread crumb and Parmesan cheese topping. What could I do with the remaining two chicken breasts?

I decided to make chicken salad. The crumb topping was easy to remove and I cut up the chicken. But white chicken needs color, so I added green celery, red onion, dried cranberries, and green, unpeeled pears. Thanks to the onion, the salad had some "zing." Thanks to the pears and dried cranberries, the salad had some sweetness.

Though I love mayonnaise, I wanted thinner dressing for the salad. When I peered into the refrigerator, I found some slaw dressing and it proved to be just right. You may make this salad with turkey instead of chicken. If you don't have any chicken on hand, cooked chicken strips are available in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Dried apricots or peaches, cut into thin strips, may be substituted for the cranberries. Add some crackers or bread sticks and you have a satisfying lunch. With warm bread and dessert, this crunchy salad becomes dinner.


2 cups cooked chicken (grilled, roasted or poached), cut into half-inch cubes

1 large rib of celery, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 fresh pears, unpeeled and sliced

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Salt and pepper to taste (Omit if you're watching your salt intake.)

1 bag washed baby spinach (or torn butter lettuce)

16-ounce bottle slaw dressing, such as Marzetti

12-ounce package chow mein noodles

Combine the chicken, celery, red onion, pears, and cranberries in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pile some baby spinach on each plate. Spoon chicken salat in the middle of each plate. Drizzle with slaw dressing and garnish generously with chow mein noodles. Makes four servings.

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