Friday, July 6, 2012

My Mother's Chicken Macaroni Salad

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I have been trying to think of something to cook lately and one dish that came to mind is chicken macaroni salad. When we had a family gathering last weekend, my cousins made all the food and although the food they made was good, I'm very partial to how my Mom made macaroni salad. My thought process however was craving chicken macaroni salad. What's interesting is that when my Mom made chicken macaroni salad, it is essentially her regular macaroni salad with the addition of flaked cooked chicken. My Mom's regular macaroni salad has fruit cocktail added to sweeten this carbohydrate-loaded dessert and she found no reason to change it when the chicken version became the sensation in the late 80s.

Every Christmas, we make two kinds of dessert salads. The one that is totally required is the Buko Fruit Salad (Young Coconut Fruit Salad) which is my Dad's favorite. Any changes to this dish was made to make it less sweet which actually works well for our family who has a history of diabetes. The second salad is the macaroni salad and as I got older, chicken macaroni salad although these two have been trading places depending on our mood or budget that particular year.

As I tried to compare recipes online for chicken macaroni salad, it seems that majority only use canned pineapples. However, every thought (or maybe my conscience) in me is pushing for my Mom's version and that is what I'm presenting here. If the thought of fruit cocktail in a savory salad dish freaks you out, feel free to change it out with more canned pineapples. I have also upped the nutrient factor by the addition of celery and carrots which is a new concept for some of our family recipe.

My Mother's Chicken Macaroni Salad

2 lbs elbow macaroni, cooked as directed
2 30-oz can fruit cocktail, drained
1 30-oz can pineapple slices,drained
1 cup raisins, sultanas or golden raisins
1 cup carrots, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
1/3 cup white onion, finely minced
3 cups mayonnaise
2 cups heavy cream
1 can condensed milk
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
4 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 cup cheddar cheese, finely diced
4 cups flaked cooked chicken ( 2 lbs uncooked chicken breast)
onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
2 celery stalks, sliced into 2-inch lengths
1 carrot, sliced in half

1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook the chicken in enough water to
    totally submerge them. Add the bay leaves, the quartered onion, and
    sliced carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil
    and cook until the chicken is fully cooked. Make sure you season it well.

2. Once the chicken is cooked, let cool and flake into smaller pieces
    discarding the bones and skin. Set aside.

3. Cook the macaroni as per packet instructions. Once al dente, drain and
    rinse with water. Set aside in a large bowl until slightly cooled.

4. Add the fruit cocktail, pineapple, chopped onions, carrots and celery,
    sweet pickle relish and raisins. Toss lightly.

5. Add the lemon juice, mayonnaise, heavy cream and condensed milk and
    mix until the macaroni is fully dressed.

6. Add the chicken, and cheese and toss until just mixed. Check for flavor
    and adjust with salt and pepper. Cool in the fridge until ready to serve.

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