Monday, September 7, 2015

Mr. Man's Chicken Salad

 One of my favorite people on the planet is my good friend, Anthony (aka Mr. Man.) He's just one of those people who is always upbeat, always optimistic, always has a positive thing to say, and he'll do anything for you. He's taught me SO much about health and fitness and has truly changed my life. And I know he hates it when I tell him how much of a hero he is to me, but seriously, he really is. So whenever I can return the favor and help HIM for a change, I'm always glad to do whatever I can.
 He recently told me he was interested in switching over to the Paleo way of eating, and asked me if I would help him with some Paleo cooking. Basically the idea is to eat the way a caveman would, meaning just animal proteins, fruits, vegetables, and no processed foods. I'm certainly not a nutritionist, but it surely seems like a more healthy way of eating. And actually, the more I looked into it, the more I realized I was already practically doing that myself! Fans of the Paleo diet always say to just shop around the perimeter of the supermarket (which is where you'll find all of your eggs, meat, fish, and produce) and not to go into any of the aisles. Makes perfect sense to me!
 So anyway, when I was searching for different foods for Mr. Man, I thought of making a chicken salad. Yes, I know it's mayonnaise based, and mayonnaise is a processed food, but when you make it home made like I always do, it still falls within the Paleo guidelines. The only problem was that I always use vegetable oil when I make home made mayo, which is not considered to be Paleo. So then I had the aha moment. What if I were to use rendered bacon fat instead of oil to make the mayo??!! And there it was. The perfect solution!! I know I'm not the first person to ever think of it, but I'm still considering it a moment of brilliance. I mean, come on.. BACON MAYONNAISE. How awesome is that??? And seriously, bacon makes everything better, doesn't it??? I made it for Mr. Man and he gave it a big huge thumbs up! He said he can't get enough of it, and now eats it for lunch everyday! He also loved the addition of the fruit, which was a game changer as far as chicken salads go.
 So even if you're not choosing the Paleo way of eating, give this recipe a try. It's REALLY delicious!  I'm so glad you like it, Mr. Man!!!

1 rotisserie chicken
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 apples, cored and diced
2 cups seedless green grapes, halved
1 cup bacon mayonnaise*
3 strips crisped bacon, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Pull all the chicken from the bones and remove any bits of fat and skin. Pull the meat into shreds or chop to bite sized pieces. Add the remaining ingredients. Give it a good stir and adjust seasoning, if desired. That's it!

*to make the bacon mayonnaise:
Place one whole egg, 1/2 tsp mustard, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 tbs lemon juice or cider vinegar in a food processor. With the processor running, SLOWLY drizzle in one cup of rendered bacon fat, (or half bacon fat and half olive oil or even coconut oil).
Here's my How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise video that I did with with my friend, Kelsie (who just happens to be Mr. Man's sister!) Basically, the bacon mayo recipe is half of the recipe in the video, and I've substituted bacon fat for the vegetable oil. I've also omitted the sugar, but you could add 1/2 tsp or so of honey if you like a sweeter mayo.

If you don't want to go through the trouble of making bacon mayonnaise, you can just used purchased mayo. It won't be Paleo, (and the bacon flavor is really amazing here) but it'll still be delish.
I usually don't peel the apples, I just wash them and then core and dice them. If you'd prefer to peel them, go for it! You do you!
For a little extra added crunch, try adding chopped pecans and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

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