Leah's Chicken Salad

One and Only Son broke his leg.The break itself would not have been a major setback for my young, athletic, college student.  But the displaced ligaments presented a long and arduous recovery.  One plate, three screws and two pins later, he is still on crutches.  Yep.  On crutches all three months of his summer at home.

X-Ray of Son's additions to his leg.

The good news is that he had lined up an internship with a growing company, Sonos , and he was very excited to learn about the business.  The great news is that it was a desk job.  The other news, not necessarily bad or good, is that my nearly-twenty-one-year-old boy needed to be driven to and from work and needed to bring a lunch to work every day since he had no way of getting out to get food.  Hubby stepped up for the driving.  I was on lunch duty.

My son is no PB&J kind of guy.  He was looking for high-protein, no gluten, low sugar meals that tasted fantastic.  "No problem," I said as I started rustling through my recipes trying to figure out what I could possibly send him off with that satisfied all his desires and eased the pain of having a swim-free, surf-free, drive-free summer.  Leftovers were the mainstay of his summer lunches.  But his favorite, by a longshot, were the days I made him chicken salad from the recipe I learned from my friend Leah.

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I met Leah through the Mexico City Newcomers Club in 1990.  I had moved there with Hubby and Firstborn Daughter and she lived in a nearby neighborhood with her Hubby and her firstborn son.   (Although her accent gave away her American southern roots instantly.)  Leah is full of energy and full of fun and we became fast friends (and still are!).  I accompanied her to aerobics classes that she taught (rare to never), went on field trips to nearby factories and towns (sometimes), and we cooked and ate together (frequently).

When the Newcomers Club decided to do a cookbook to raise money for a Mexican orphanage, Leah and I jumped in to help.  The book was titled "Tote-able Sweets and Savories" and the introduction from our wonderful group of food enthusiasts stated, "It has been said that you can't be a great cook without a sense of humor and a glass of wine.  Unquestionably, a reliable recipe goes a long way too, and so we are proud to present to our members a collection of truly outstanding recipes."

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Leah's contribution to the cookbook was her family's favorite chicken salad.  I agree it is truly outstanding. One and Only Son concurs.

"Ask not what you can do for your country.  Ask what's for lunch." -Orson Welles

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Leah’s Chicken Salad

1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 4 cups cubed cooked chicken (or turkey) 1 4oz can mandarin orange segments, drained 3/4 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks) 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted* 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved Lettuce leaves for serving

 In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, lime, salt and nutmeg.  Add mayonnaise mixture to chicken a little at a time until completely moist.  I usually use about 3/4 of the mixture.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill and serve in scoops on lettuce leaves.

*To toast slivered almonds, spread them in a thin layer in a pan over medium low heat.  Give them a minute to heat up and shake the pan to mix them up.  Keep watching carefully and shaking pan every 30 seconds or so until they are golden brown.  Remove from heat and keep shaking so they don’t burn.  Cool completely.

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