A Beginning Gourmet’s Chicken (or Turkey) Salad

Thanksgiving leftovers, how do you like to prepare them? Want a gourmet idea for something new and simple? Well, Dale has anticipated our need and concocted something new that might be perfect for the day after Thanksgiving.

Dale’s World:  

The Autumn of Life, Painting by Dale McClure

Chicken Salad with Raisins and Dates

I usually take a little something to work for lunch. It’s easier on the wallet and tastes better than what I can find elsewhere for the same amount of money. I hadn’t bought any sliced meats for a sandwich this week. There was cheese, but that didn’t sound very interesting. Digging around in the refrigerator (always a treasure hunt!), I discovered some fresh chicken breasts. There were a few succulent dates, some celery and a bunch of other delicious items.

“I’ll make a chicken salad sandwich,” I said to myself. My mouth had already begun to water.

You will Need:

2 or 3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts       1/3 cup Pecan pieces

8 or 9 Pitted Dates                                                1/2 cup Mayonnaise

1/3 cup Golden Raisins                                        1/2 cup Sour Cream

1 rib Celery                                                             Salt

1/4 large onion                                                       Cayenne Pepper


1. Place the chicken breasts on a microwave safe dish and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

2. Cook for four to five minutes in the microwave on high.

3. Let the chicken cool in the microwave while you prepare the other ingredients.


Delicious Ingredients

1. You can chop the dates, raisins, onion, celery and pecans in a food processor or with your chef’s knife.

2. If you choose to use the food processor, first cut the dates in half and the celery into one-inch pieces.

3. Use the pulse button to chop everything into pieces a little larger than a grain of rice, but do not puree.

4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut one piece in half to see if it’s done. The meat should look somewhere between white to a very light pink. If it isn’t done, zap it for another minute, but do not cook it until it is dry.

5. Chop the chicken into 1/4 inch cubes.


1. Stir the chicken and the chopped ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

2. Add most of the mayonnaise and all of the sour cream into the bowl. Decision time! Is it moist enough? Or does it need more mayonnaise?

3. Taste the mixture. How much salt does it need?

4. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper; stir it in and taste. This is NOT supposed to be  a spicy hot mixture. The dominant tastes should be the relatively neutral taste of the chicken and the sweetness of the dates and raisins. Use only enough cayenne pepper to get a slight tingle on the inside of your lip. It’s fun to mix flavors, isn’t it? Just like mixing beautiful watercolors on a piece of fine paper.

5. This was designed to be a sandwich spread. It also works as a great first course. Simply place a mound of the salad on a green lettuce leaf. Enjoy it any way you wish!

Gourmet Sandwich

Food for Thought:          

Spreading the Blessings

Thanksgiving is one of the Moveable Feasts, which we celebrate by spreading a table with lovingly prepared foods. Often it’s a spread of family traditions like my aunt’s frozen fruit squares, Mom’s yellow rice stuffing and smoked turkey, another aunt’s prune cake and sweet potato balls—each dish a blessing.

What else do you think of when you think of the word “spread?”

Used as a verb, Webster’s says the word means “to expand or extend.” We spread our fingers, spread the news of the terrorists attacking the World Trade Center, spread disease when we carry a flu virus to work.

A spread could be an ancestral crazy quilt used on a guest room bed. It could be a filling for a sandwich made from the chewy goodness of Great Harvest’s Dakota bread

Spreading a Gourmet chicken salad all over a thick piece of homemade bread might be compared to spreading blessings wherever we go.

Spreading means “drawing out more fully, opening or stretching so as to cover more space, causing to be known more widely.”

What about spreading the gospel? How those around us need to hear the true good news—unfettered, and powerful to stabilize in these perilous last days! Share a book, write a note, sponsor a Compassion child, live a life in which you spread the fragrance of knowing Christ intimately.

Thanksgiving is about blessing. Thursday the six of us who will gather at our Thanksgiving table will each share a happy event that blessed  them during  their past year. Now there’s a way of sharing the gospel—telling of the goodness of God!

Blessed be your Day. Happy be your conversation. May the angels be near.                                         —RuthAnn

My Thanksgiving Girl

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