When my bf asked me to make it years ago, I pretty much refused to make it as it is, like I said, SO boring. I eventually caved and begrudgingly set in to make it did but was very obsessed with tweaking and making things healthier so I had to make it in my own way.
Rating: 4 forks out of 5
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*note removed items are not in bold
3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup celery chopped 1 large stalk celery chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar shredded cheese
1 handful non-fat shredded cheddar
2/3 cups potato chips crushed
1 handful BAKED potato chips crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice juice of half a lemon
+ small jalapeño diced
+ 1/2 cup pesto*
1/4 cup pine nuts
8 cloves garlic
4 cups fresh basil leaves torn
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup pecorino romano cheese
Preheat oven to 400°
Pound and slice your chicken breasts into strips. Place in foil and bake for 20 minutes. While it cooks, put the dry ingredients in a food processor. "Process" them on Low and then slowly stream your olive oil in that hole-things at the top. Measure out 1/2 cup of the pesto and put the remaining amount in a container to use for another recipe. (You can even add some olive oil to the top and freeze it for a later date.)
When the chicken is done, set aside to cool. While it cools, put the celery, lemon juice, jalapeño salt and pepper, cheddar and almonds in a large bowl. When the chicken is cool, add the chicken to the bowl and cover with the mayo and pesto and mix well. Spread the mixture into a glass baking dish and crush a handful of the potato chips evenly over the top of the chicken salad. Pop in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool a little and pop into the fridge. Let cool to your liking (it's even good hot).
I take a lot of the celery out. This is selfish. I do it because I just don't like celery-texture nor taste.
I add some lemon juice to curb some of the sharpness of the pesto.
I added jalapeño 'cause I always like a little heat.
I take out a lot of mayo and substitute a healthier pesto.
I use less cheese altogether and also fat-free cheese.
I use low-fat mayo and less mayo
I use baked chips.
(All of these changes lead to a lower cholesterol, lower calorie and lower fat dish)
You can just buy your own, already made pesto in a jar and use.
This is one of my guy's favorite things to eat. We don't eat this very often, but we could. It's a pretty middle ground recipe in the effort category.
We tend to make great sandwiches out of this (see above) but are also known to eat it right out of the oven, scooping it up with pita chips, water crackers or bread.
This recipe is available in the CrOOK BOOK