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Michigan Cherry Chicken Salad

You could use Cranberries in this salad, but I wouldn’t. Nothing against the berry of Cran or anything. I just think dried cherries give this Chicken Salad that perfect sweetness with just the right amount of tart. I use dried cherries in everything, cookies, granola, chili, pork roast, you name it. I’m partial to the dried Cherries from The Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, Michigan, , they are super easy to order online. They put together great gift boxes too! See you thought I was all about strawberries, but I heart cherries too!

My hubby likes to get his partners out of the hospital and into a more relaxing atmosphere for their quarterly meetings, so we have it at our house, and I always make lunch for them. I have made soup, and some other things over the years, but this Cherry Chicken Salad is always what I get raves for, and subsequent emails from spouses asking for the recipe. So even though the weather outside is more soup weather than salad I’m going to share this recipe anyway. It makes quite a bit, you can cut it in half easy enough. It does keep for up to 5 days in the frig.

Start by chopping 1 cup of celery, and finely chopping 1/2 cup of sweet onion. Put that in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Boil 5-6 chicken breast or combo of breast and thighs. I personally like dark meat. It’s moister, more flavorful, and is less expensive. Boil meat and cut into small cubes, you will need approximately 6 cups. Add this into your bowl with celery and onions. Note: You could boil your chicken the night before, put it in a container, in the refrigerator, to cool and then chop it up the next day to make your salad.

Mouthwatering, dried cherries….I should tell you too, that dried cherries are bigger and plumper than cranberries, they add the perfect chewy texture to any salad. You will need 1 cup of dried cherries for Cherry Chicken Salad.

Take a sharp knife and give them a little chop. You don’t need to mince them just cut them through a few times. Toss into mixing bowl with other ingredients.

The Dressing

Start out by giving your lemon a little roll slash squish. Cut in half and squeeze juice…..

in to bowl where you have added 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sour cream.

Now add 1 teaspoon of sugar and,

1 teaspoon seasoning salt. ( I use Morton’s Natures Seasoning Salt)

Take a fork or a whisk or whatever is handy, your finger….and give the sauce a good stir.

Until it looks nice and smooth, taste…does it need more salt, or a shake of pepper. Feel free to make it your own. If I have fresh dill I sometimes add a tablespoon. Pour every last drop of this over your chopped ingredients, and fold it all together.

I like to add toasted nuts to add yet another texture to this salad. Crunchy celery and onion, sweet chew of the cherry, and the nuts add a toasty crunch! I happened to have almonds handy, you could use pecans, or walnuts as well. Spread 3/4 cup nuts on a baking sheet slide into a 350 degree oven for 3 minutes. Watch nuts closely, they go from toasty to burnt quickly. Sing a song do a dance in front of your oven, or you could just set the timer…that would be a good idea too!

Toss those toasty babies in and fold them in to the mix.

Cherry Chicken Salad

6 cups boiled, and cubed chicken breast
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup dried cherries rough chopped
Combine above ingredients in mixing bowl.
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
juice of a 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
In smaller mixing bowl mix together above ingredients, and fold in to chicken mixture.
3/4 cup nuts, slivered almond, chopped pecans, or walnuts toasted
Toast nuts in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for approximately 3 minutes. Fold into Chicken Salad.
There you have it. Wasn’t that easy? This is the perfect meal to bring someone who just had a baby. It’s chocked full of healthy fixins’, and it’s something that can be eaten at anytime of day.
Ah the day/nights of standing at the kitchen counter, babe to breast eating, because I was FAMISHED when I was nursing my babies, whatever I could get my hands on I would eat, dropping crumbs on my pour kiddos.
Then you could make them some of these, and these and they will never ever forget that lady that brought them Chicken Salad, that they ate in the middle of the night, while crumbing on their nursing babe.

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BY THE WAY: The Cherry Republic has no idea who I am neither does Morton’s. I just love them and use them and wanted to share them with you!

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  1. I always go the extra mile to search out dried cherries for our turkey stuffing and I will do the same for this recipe. YUM! This recipe is not only bookmark worthy, but also print worthy. Yes, I totally printed it with photo (don't tell my husband, he says I'm an ink waster) and I'm going to make is soon. Thanks!

  2. My hubby's parents are coming for a visit TOMORROW! I am sick and haven't begun to meal plan/make grocery list/shop. This recipe sounds like a super great lunch/es! So thanks!!!! I'd love you to join Saturday Swap with some of your great recipes. You have a super start to your weekend Friend!!

  3. Kudos to Cherry Republic for introducing me to what I am sure will become a favortie blog!

  4. Cherry Republic- yes! I think cherries in salad are a very Michigan thing— loved the Square Dance salad at Food Dance in Kalamazoo with dried cherries. Around here, I settle for Costco dried cherries, use them in salad often. You are right about the starving-hungry-while-nursing-babies phenomenon, I remember that well. Scrounging around the house for anything…….

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