I am very lucky. My new friend Joyce has agreed to give me cooking lessons. So many people here in Paris have raved about this tiny little lady's ability to whip up a delicious dinner party. She often prepares dishes for charity events and balls at the Heritage Manor (next door) so I certainly could not resist an opportunity to learn from her. We decided to begin with a few of her favorite and most requested creamy comfort dishes, perfect for a warm Sunday afternoon! I guess I am not surprised that we ended up serving five instead of just three. Now that I have tasted a few of her famous recipes I too will be dropping by around dinner time - just to see what she's making! I was thrilled to meet a few new friends and invited to tour two historical homes of our drop-in dinner guests. I am just kicking myself for being so eager and running out the door without my camera. I did snap a few shots on my iphone but it didn't do these homes justice. I am hoping for another invitation and from now on I vow not to leave my house with out a camera. Living in the historical district is making me oh, so happy today!

HOT CHICKEN SALAD

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IMG_8229 - Version 2

Begin by mixing 1 cup of Mayo.

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IMG_8232 - Version 2

1 cup of sour cream. I just noticed this is a light version... hmm, whatever makes you feel better - I really could not tell this was light so, if it makes you feel better - use it!

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2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice.

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One can of cream of mushroom soup.

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Salt and pepper to taste. I don't always know what this means so try 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper if you're still learning like me.

Mix these items well and set aside to add later.

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Joyce actually had me use the potato peeler to remove the outer layer of each celery stalk. I have never seen this done before but I loved the way it removed the pesky strings and made each bite of crunch more enjoyable.

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Now its time to take out all of your aggression chopping the naked celery into small bites, you will want at least 2 cups.

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Side note** If you would like to cook your 4 chicken breasts ahead of time - go for it! Pull them out of the fridge and slice into small to medium sized chunks depending on your preference.

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1/2 cup slivered almonds.

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Toss chicken, celery, almonds and a drained 8 oz. can of water chestnuts into a large mixing bowl.

Not pictured... 4 oz of fresh sliced mushrooms - toss in!

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Add creamy mixture.

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3 hard boiled eggs sliced both ways.

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Stir in sliced eggs.

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Joyce grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots... add an entire package of shredded cheddar cheese on top after spooning mixture into a 9x13 pan.

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IMG_8273 - Version 2

Disregard the contents of this photo!! Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. We both are too chatty and didn't notice until after I snapped the pic that the temp was too hot. I better stop asking about French Macaroons and pay attention!

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I snuck into the formal dining room to snap a few shots. Each room in Joyce's sprawling home is filled with beautiful antiques so naturally I was drooling all over.

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Another dining room detail.

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OK, back to our chicken salad. Slide the pan out of the oven to add 1 can of fried onion rings. Back into the oven for 15 more minutes.

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IMG_8299 - Version 2

Adding a side of asparagus to our meal - yum!

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Whew! And that, my friends, was our first class. I typically am not a fan of casseroles but this one is so creamy and delicious, I will definitely be trying it again soon!

xoxo, Laura

P.S. e-mail me at laura@everydaycharming.com if you would like the printable recipe.

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