Ah, summer. There is only one thing that means summer to me. Swimming. We moved to our house on the lake the summer I was 8 and it was the weekend of the moon landing. Grandma and Grandpa had come to help us move and get settled in, and we took a break to watch it on our scratchy black and white TV. I know that both sets of grandparents were worried about us and the water, but little did they know, my sister and I were water babies and we would never come OUT of the water in the summer. This photo of me was taken before we moved to the lake (before my sister was born, even) and you can see that I was already a water baby!
Yep – never out of the water. I still have problems with my ears in cold weather from the constant swimmers ear I had from those days. I’m totally not kidding – we were NEVER out of the water in the summer! We’d only come out of the water to run up the 78 iron steps to the house for the bathroom or to eat, eating fast so we could get back down to the lake and swim until dark. If ever there was proof that you don’t have to wait an hour after eating to swim – we were it! We swam on sunny days, we swam on cloudy and cool days, we swam in the rain, we swam in the dark. My sister and I just loved the water so much!
Summer is also the perfect time for salads, and by salads I don’t always necessarily mean salads that have veggies or Jello or even pasta. This Best Ever Chicken Salad is a bit different. It has chicken and fruit and Rice-O-Roni. It comes from one of my sisters-in-law who made it for us years ago and it’s become one of our family’s summertime favorites. We make it several times each summer and it’s really good. Really, really good. Addictively good. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Here is the recipe as I made it:
Best Ever Chicken Salad
5 cups cubed, cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken for this batch)
3 Tablespoons salad oil (I used canola)
3 Tablespoons orange juice (I used the juice of 1 orange)
3 Tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon salt
Let stand while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Combine in a large bowl:
3 cups Chicken Rice-O-Roni (1 box cooked)
1 1/2 cups small green grapes, halved
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 1/3 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
Add chicken mixture and gently toss.
This recipe has quite a few ingredients and does take a little time, but it’s so worth it – trust me!
It’s a beautiful salad.
My oldest daughter has become quite famous among her friends with this recipe. She has requests to make it for every big event: birthdays, wedding showers, baby showers, Saturdays.
You’re going to want this recipe in your summer salad rotation. It’s so unusual and so amazingly delicious. This salad is just the best – the best ever!