Friday, August 26, 2011

Mrs. Patsy's Chicken Salad

This southern girl loves some chicken salad, but I don't love how traditional chicken salad recipes are loaded with fat. Mayonnaise is very fattening and when paired with a buttery croissant, a chicken salad sandwich can sabotage a healthy diet. Speaking of croissants, have you ever cooked or watched someone make them? If you have, I am sure you were as shocked as I was at the amount of butter used. Croissants look so light, fluffy, and totally innocent, but a 3 oz. croissant has 270 calories and 17 grams of fat! I assure you that the law of conservation of matter which states, "mass cannot be created or destroyed", applies to croissants. All that butter goes somewhere, and for me, it’s "through the lips, straight to the hips". 

Never fear! You can still enjoy delicious chicken salad without the guilt. Here are a few tips on how to make traditional chicken salad healthier.
  • White meat contains less fast than dark meat, so try using white meat instead.
  • Use light mayo. It has 1/2 the fat of regular mayo.
  • Adding fresh fruit like grapes or pineapple to chicken salad adds bulk and flavor with no fat.
  • Dried fruit, like raisins or craisins, are good options as well, but are higher in calories than fresh fruit.
  • Add nuts for extra protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Nuts are high in fat so be careful about how much you add.
  • Eliminate the bread and serve on a bed of lettuce instead. You can cut approximately 250 calories by simply substituting lettuce for the bread.
  • If you really want bread, try pita bread (my favorite way to eat chicken salad) or a low fat flat bread, but beware of flat bread. It looks healthy but can pack as much as 9 grams of fat per piece!
This recipe is from my bff's mom, Mrs. Patsy. I got this recipe from her about 15 years ago, and it is still my favorite chicken salad recipe. It is perfect for summertime, and I like to serve it when I have friends over for lunch. Every time I make it, I have requests for the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Buon Appetito!

Mrs. Patsy's Chicken Salad
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup green grapes, halved
2 T. fresh parsley
1/2 cup mayo
1 T. lemon juice
1T. cider vinegar
1 1/2 T. mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Mix together. Chill. If you like your salad wetter simply add more of the last 7 ingredients.

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