Macaroni Salad with Chicken & Apples

MACARONI SALAD WITH CHICKEN AND APPLES
6 servings

  • 3 cups diced or bite-size pieces cooked boneless chicken breasts (see note)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package elbow or shell macaroni
  • Boiling water as needed
  • 2 to 3 crisp apples, unpeeled, core and seeds removed, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • ½ cup sliced pitted black/ripe olives, well drained
  • ½ cup toasted sliced almonds (see note)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (see note)
  • Few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
  • Salt, freshly ground black or white pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
  • Crisp leaf lettuce as desired
  • Paprika and additional toasted sliced almonds (see note) for garnish

Cook chicken (see note), allow to cool, and dice or cut into bite-size pieces; set aside.

Cook macaroni in boiling water according to package directions; drain thoroughly and allow to cool. 

In a large bowl, combine cooked chicken pieces, cooked macaroni, apples, celery, olives, and ½ cup toasted sliced almonds.  In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, cream, and lemon juice, if desired, blending well with a wire whisk.  Season dressing with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste, blending well.  Pour dressing over chicken/macaroni mixture, mixing gently but well.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

To serve, line a large serving bowl or individual plates with crisp leaf lettuce.  Spoon chilled chicken/macaroni mixture into the lettuce-lined bowl or divide onto the individual plates.  Garnish

with a sprinkle of paprika and additional toasted sliced almonds. 

Note: About 2 to 2¼ pounds uncooked boneless chicken breasts provides 3 cups diced/bite-size pieces cooked chicken.  To cook chicken, place chicken breast pieces in a medium heavy saucepan; add enough water to cover chicken pieces.  Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and continue simmering, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until chicken is fork tender.  Cool thoroughly before cutting into bite-size pieces.

Note: To toast almonds, arrange nuts in one layer on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated slow oven (300 degrees F.) for about 8 minutes or until almonds are a light ivory color.

Note: May omit heavy cream, if desired; use ¼ cup half-and-half or milk or reduced-fat milk.  However, the flavor will not be as rich and the consistency not as thick

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