Chicken Salad

It took me 5 days to make chicken salad.

First, it's all about the chicken. Breast only. Not the big fat breasts that are good for supper, but thin, small breasts that cook quick. No bones. I chose 7.

I do not know how I became such an overachiever. Each volleyball parent was required to sign up for one meal. We could sign up for sandwiches, fruit, or drinks. Anybody else's dad would have signed up for drinks. Not me.

Next, that chicken has to be marinated. I put it in a ziploc baggie while still frozen and let it thaw in a marinade of Italian Salad Dressing. Just thawing and soaking up the flavor...I imagine them like chicks, sitting around a cold tub.

Anybody else's dad would have just signed up once. That's all that we were required to sign up. But, I've seen these parents. Some of them can't sign up once and that's no reason for their girls not to get to play or for there not to be supper for the team or for them to be embarassed or put on the spot. Sign up once. Just once. Not me.

Now, normally, I'd plop that chicken on a hot grill and listen to it sizzle and smell good, but our grill is out. No fire. We've got gas, but it's not getting through the assembly. Rob's taking care of that, but I needed to cook chicken on Monday. So, I put it in a hot, non-stick skillet without any oil and just cooked it and cooked it and added more dressing until it was all brown and crusty and caramelized on the outside. Yummy.

This week, I needed to bring sandwiches to the game. I really didn't think that through enough to realize that it meant making 15 sandwiches. I pulled one loaf of bread down in the grocery and thank goodness Rob was there to ask if that was enough. I said I thought so, but we counted and it was way short. Imagine how upset I would have been this morning without bread.

Tuesday, I cut the cold chicken into bite size morsels. So tender and flavorful. Sweating inside a plastic container and the water carrying flavor everywhere. And, I boiled 7 eggs. Who else hates peeling eggs??? Five of them peeled easy-peasy. Two of them...nearly half the egg went out with the shell.

I got a lecture about how the other parents put sandwiches on white bread. Nobody else uses wheat bread and won't I "please, please, please use white?" No. I am not the other parents. We get white bread as a treat, but these girls are playing ball tonight. It's all about protein and slow burning carbs. I am not the other mothers.

Wednesday, I chopped the celery and the grapes.

Thursday, I put it all in the biggest bowl I own with all the sweet pickle relish I had and two hugely heaping spoonfuls of real mayonaise and a healthy dose of black pepper and a pinch of extra salt and I stirred and I stirred and I picked up stuff off the counter and put it back in my too small bowl. And, I stirred.

Sydney and I ate breakfast in the kitchen, which we may never have done before, and we made sandwiches. I spread a hefty scoop of chicken salad on and topped it with another slice of honey-7 grain bread and handed it off and Sydney zipped it in a sandwich bag.

We packed that in a grocery bag and I took it to work, where it sat, cold in the bottom of an office fridge. I left work early because I was supposed to be there at 3:30... "when it's your night to feed the girls, I don't care what comes up. You are responsible and you'd better be at that door with food at 3:30 ON THE DOT."

The coach got there later.

Now, there's just anticipation of the sweet adoration that we all know I will receive from a bunch of 13 year old girls. Right. Could have been spam on white bread with american cheese and mustard and would they have noticed the difff? Prolley not

Next week, I have to bring water for 30 girls.

And, next month, I have to bring fruit for 25.



Coloradolady said...

Great post~ I used to do the same thing...always the one who went above and beyond. I don't know if it was really appreciated, but my daughter appreciates me and has fond memories. I was the room mom for both my son and daughter at one time. Made favors for both for all parties....just about did me in, as simple things would never do!!

Oh, and I have found...through experience. Boiling NEW eggs or Fresh eggs result in the shells sticking like mad. Plan if you can and use older eggs...they peel like a charm....I always know a bunch of mindless junk, but that is the trick!!

Have fun at the games!!

Michelle said...

Your chicken salad sounds heavenly. Those girls are truly blessed, but I'm sure they don't realize it.....NOW. Later in their lives they will. Good job, Dad!

Unknown said...

Well, to add to the mix: if you only have fresh eggs; add apple cider vinegar to the cold water, add the eggs, bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes.

Shells will separate easily ... or mine do. Sis gives me eggs fresh as can be, so I know it works for me.

Hmmm... quilting blog. I am thinking about fabric. Does that count?

Congrats on being a great dad.

Pauline said...

Ohh that sounds delicious! Tip: I nuke my eggs for salad in a special microwave egg cooker, of course I only do a couple at a time. You chop them up anyway so they blended in and who can tell? Spray Pam in the holder, break the egg into it (look Dad, no peeling!) Then you can take a knife and chop them right in the container.
Another tip: Cheese keep a long time if you wrap it tightly in foil. Rarely molds.
Good job Lane!

Tammy said...

An excellent chicken salad recipe, sure the girls appreciated it. I add about a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water for boiling eggs and they always peel easily fresh or not. You and Rob are the best dads Lane. Sydney is a lucky lady!

qltmom9 said...

Ooo...that sounds like yummy chicken salad! I've never marinated my chicken, but everything else is my recipe! And, because 3 of my boys are teens, I'd make MUCH more than that for every meal. LOL. I cook for an army everyday.
When I have to do carry-in, my kids LOVE it, they get what is leftover the minute I walk through the door. You'd think I had starved them, but I ALWAYS make them as much as I take.

If they ATE, you did well. Kids can be so stinkin' PICKY sometimes!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

I so enjoyed that post. I smiled all the way through and what a great recipe.

lw said...

Mmmmm...healthy and delicious! White bread doesn't taste like food to me, even at 13 I preferred whole wheat.

Kathleen said...

Who'd have thunk it?? Google 'how to peel hard-boiled eggs' and there's pages and pages of tricks...http://oldtips.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-to-of-peeling-hard-boiled-eggs.html

amazing! you really CAN find anything on the web...

great post. nice job, dad.

vivian said...

I definitely want some homemade chicken salad now! My Mom always made the best (go figure!). Hey-you ought to order that thingie they have been advertising on TV-the Eggie (I think thats what it's called). You crack the eggs before you boil them. :)

Lynette said...

You're awesome. And don't you worry - they notice! They don't act like it at the time - it just gets vacuum-sucked up, but they do notice. I spent many many days at sport meets and band events (and all the practices getting there), and every now and then you overhear or are blessed with a direct comment expressing appreciation for the not-mediocre something that you or some other parent did.

mtquilter said...

Your daughter is so lucky to have great Dad's like you. I don't think I ever remember my Dad doing anything like making lunch for a school group although he did give me a Mary Poppins birthday party when I was 8!
I saw on tv a great way to get boiled eggs out of the shell, cool boiled eggs to where you can handle them but not cold. Crack shell with a spoon and peel. I think I only had one that sort of stuck using this method. I always used to soak them in cold water and then into the fridge befoe I peeled them. Thanks to the Barefoot Contessa, I now know I was doing it wrong.

Megan said...

Well done that man!

Lane - I think love is demonstrated in lots of ways, but one way is to give of yourself to others. You probably could have gone to a supermarket on the way to the game and snapped up sandwiches on white bread (with the American cheese as you described), and the girls wouldn't have minded one little bit. But Sydney has seen that you're willing to take time to prepare special sandwiches, even though no one will notice or think anything of it. You do it because she's worth it and because you like to do things 'properly'. Both of those are fabulous messages for her to 'hear'.

Sydney, Australia