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When I planned the menu for last Wednesday’s catering job, I knew that I needed something “lunchy,” something that could be prepped ahead and assembled at the last minute, something cool for summer, and something spice-less for an older crowd. I went retro, a little, making what I think of as “ladies luncheon” sandwiches of tuna, chicken and egg salad on white sandwich bread lined with butter to keep them from getting soggy.

Having made that decision, I needed recipes. I make chicken salad that I love (she said, modestly), but it contains avocados, which not everyone loves as much as we do, so I decided to find something better. Ditto on the tuna salad; my dirty little secret is that I like tuna salad made with Miracle Whip and onions, but that was not up to the standards of elegance I had in mind.  I had recently found an egg salad recipe to die for (in one of those mysteries-with-recipes that I read when I am not reading the complete works of Thomas Hardy) so I was okay on that front. To find chicken salad and tuna salad recipes in a reasonable amount of time) since I was billing by the hour) I turned to one of the most amazing resources available to me: allrecipes.com. I looked for recipes that had the highest user ratings based on many reviews, sorted through that group to weed out anything that didn’t fit my needs, and then used their quantity calculator to multiply the recipe so that I could make 30-some servings of each salad to add up to a total of 100 sandwiches. It worked like a charm.

I will admit that, in the case of the chicken and tuna salad recipes, I did not make a test batch. I usually do test recipes, particularly if they are intriguing, but I can’t get a good read on how the finished product will taste. (Or if they are complicated and multi-step and involve techniques I haven’t tried before). In this case, my excuse is that I have enough experience in the kitchen that I could easily imagine the finished product, there were no “controversial” techniques or ingredients, and each recipe had been tried and raved about by literally hundreds before me. Had I been preparing, say, an Eel and Michigan Cherry stir-fry, I would absolutely have tried it out first.

I will tell you that all three of these recipes are superlative. To die for. They are not particularly healthy, although they are really fine from the low-carb or diabetic point of view – have a sandwich on whole grain or Ezekiel Bread, or rolled up in lettuce leaves, and you’re fine. They are also a little fussy for daily cooking; I might make the chicken salad and omit the whipped cream, or skip the softened cream cheese in the egg salad. On the other hand, sometimes it is a really great thing to have something luscious and elegant in the refrigerator that is going to make you go into orbit at lunch.(In place of that sad little container of leftovers, or a carton of yogurt).

Please to enjoy:

Norman’s Egg Salad

(from The Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke)

Makes 12 Sandwiches

4 cups peeled and chopped hard-boiled eggs (that’s about a dozen)
1/2 c. cooked, crumbled bacon or  purchased pre-cooked and crumbled bacon
1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated carrot
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or minced, fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or 1 teaspoon freshly minced onion
salt and pepper to taste

    1. Peel and chop the eggs (not too fine; you want some texture), add the bacon, parsley and carrot and mix well.

    2. Put the cream cheese in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on “high” to soften it. When it’s easily stirred, add sour cream and mayonnaise, and mix well.

    3. Stir garlic and onion into cream micture.

    Add cream mixture to eggs, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste.; Chill until ready to serve.

    Barbie’s Tuna Salad

    (From allrecipes.com)

    Makes 4 Sandwiches

    1 (7 ounce) can white tuna, drained and

    flaked

    6 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing

    1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

    3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

    1/8 teaspoon dried minced onion flakes

    1/4 teaspoon curry powder

    1 tablespoon dried parsley

    1 teaspoon dried dill weed

    1 pinch garlic powder

    Directions:

    1. In a medium bowl, stir together the tuna, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and onion flakes. Season with curry powder, parsley, dill and garlic powder. Mix well and serve with crackers or on a sandwich.

    Creamy Chicken Salad

    (adapted from allrecipes.com)

    Makes 12 Sandwiches

    1/2 cup whipping cream
    1/2 cup smoked almonds
    4 poached* boneless chicken breast
    halves
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
    salt and pepper to taste
    1. Whip cream to soft peaks. Chop almonds in food processor. If desired, shred chicken or chop finely.
    2. In a large bowl combine the cream, almonds, chicken, mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve.

    *I poach chicken by placing it in a crock pot over a bed of carrots, celery and a halved onion, over “low” heat until tender and opaque, about 6 hours. You can also do this in a large pan on the stove top.

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    About imagineannie

    I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

    14 responses »

    1. These look amazing–thanks for sharing them.

      I am obliged at this point to say “Miracle Whip? Blech!”.

      When I was in grade school, my mom made me a bologna sandwich with Miracle Whip every day. As children are wont to do, I traded half a sandwich with another child in search of something better. One day, I traded my bologna & MW for chicken roll on Wonder Bread. It was delicious. I went home, asked my mom to buy chicken roll (she did) and I marched off to school with my delicious new sandwich in my lunchbox.

      When I got to lunch, I sat down with great anticipation and took a bite… Blech. Tasted almost the same as bologna. I found my friend with the delicious chicken roll from the week before and traded again. Again, her sandwich was delicious. I asked her what it was–she replied, “chicken roll and mayonnaise”. Hmmm…. “What KIND of mayonnaise,” I asked. “Hellman’s, I think.” AHA!

      And thus, I discovered as a child that Miracle Whip sucks and real mayonnaise rocks.

      One day, I’ll tell you about my margarine/butter epiphany.

      Reply
      • You must be accept that in another demension, the exact opposit experiance happened. Once I found the right child to trade bologna sammichs with, life was never the same.

        In the interest of marital bliss, we mix MayoWhip 50:50 and have come to love the compromise. But then we, are not shallow people……..

        Reply
        • Still taking this in. I am a huge proponent of marital compromise, but MayoWhip…I dunno.

      • Okay, I know that you are right about Miracle Whip – I don’t actually have any in the house, haven’t for years, but for a long time I just didn’t like mayo, and Miracle Whip has that sweet thing going on that makes it appealing to…the immature? It does make everything taste the same, though, and mayo does not. In my real life I often make homemade mayonnaise, and that just makes me incredibly happy with the world.

        I do want to know about your margarine/butter epiphany, but if you are going to come down on the side of margarine, I’m telling you right now that I will be shocked and disappointed.

        Reply
    2. I just want to say that I am impressed with your use of math here.

      Reply
      • I’m not sure if you are being sincere, in which case “thanks,” or if I have made one of my typical, bone-headed errors, in which case “you’d better tell me right now what I did, so I can fix it.”

        Reply
    3. Miracle Whip is poison. But, with enough butter and/or bacon…….

      Reply
      • As I said, (she said patiently) there is none of this “poison” in the house. It lives on only in my dreams…..

        Reply
    4. You read formulaic mysteries too? God, we really were separated at birth.

      As for the Miracle Whip issue… there is only ONE food in which MW is allowed – the holy Curried Chicken Salad made by our mutual pal VW. Otherwise, it’s homemade mayo or Hellman’s for this girl. (Tangent: why is it that most of VW’s recipes end up being called the “holy” this, and the “holy” that? God, now I’m craving her meatballs and that Shrimp Creole that she makes but won’t give me the recipe for and how about Gorp? I’ve recreated Gorp sort of but it isn’t quite the same.)

      Anyway… your ladies luncheon sounds delightful and I shall go forth and make the chicken salad very soon.

      Reply
      • I read them as Literary Valium. A recipe is a bonus.

        VW doesn’t cook for me. What am I doing wrong?

        Enjoy the chicken salad. I think you will.

        Reply
    5. Found this just for you, Annie:

      http://www.facebook.com/miraclewhip?v=app_7146470109&viewas=570198644

      (It came up as a link in Gmail when I opened the replies to my reply.)

      P.S. And OF COURSE butter. Always butter. When I discovered the wonders of butter in high school, my uncle (who owned a restaurant) gave me a carton of butter pats for my birthday. It lasted a long time in my freezer. 🙂

      Reply
      • That’s actually a pretty cool thing, that Zinger. If I can use it for good instead of evil, I’m all over it. Thank you. 🙂

        A carton of butter pats was a fabulous gift for the developing gourmet. It is, in my opinion, a miracle food. (Not to be confused with Miracle Whip).

        Reply
    6. Miracle Whip? That is a dirty secret. We have Hellmans and Miracle whip in our house, but the Miracle whip is NOT for me. Ugh. Whipping cream? Interesting. I just realized I’m hungry….

      Reply
      • I think I just liked Miracle Whip because I didn’t like the real taste of tuna, which is why I ONLY put it in tuna salad. I don’t even do that, anymore. It’s just a fond memory…..

        Reply

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