The Best Chicken Salad You Ever Ate

Always a hit, and you can make it the night before a big party. In fact, making it ahead of time allows the flavors to meld even better. I like to serve it on individual plates along with some grapes, a strawberry dipped in chocolate, and a little relish skewer with an olive, a pickle chunk, and a hot pepper. 5 cups diced and cooked chicken 5 cups cooked bite-size pasta (elbows, shells, spiral, farfalle—your choice—cooked according to package directions) 4 cups diced celery 4 cups seedless grapes—green, red, or half and half 10 hard-boiled eggs, chopped One 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries 1 cup sliced almonds (optional) 1 tsp. each salt and pepper, or to taste 3 Tbsp. beau monde seasoning 2 cups mayonnaise or mayonnaise-type salad dressing 1 cup sour cream 2 cups nondairy whipped topping ¼ cup lemon juice ¼ cup sugar 2 tsp. grated lemon rind Combine chicken, pasta, celery, grapes, eggs, pineapple, dried cherries or cranberries, almonds (if using), salt, pepper, and beau monde seasons in an extra-large bowl. (If you don’t have a big enough bowl, try a roasting pan or even a stockpot.) Mix together remaining ingredients and fold into chicken mixture. Chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. (Can make up to 24 hours ahead of time.) Serves up to 25.  
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