chicken salad sandwich
I hate budgets. I do. Even the word, budget. Boo!
I have this idea that being on a budget is restrictive and limiting. It brings me back to childhood images of powdered milk and cutting up dryer sheets to make them last longer.
But the fact is budgets are crucial to staying in control of your finances, rather than having your finances control you. And the idea of being in control? That, I like.
The summer months require a tightening of the purse strings as my students in France take a luxurious (to me) and totally merited (to them) month off of work, leaving me without students as half are gone in July and the other half in August.
With a view to embracing the needed adjustment, I set about creating… a budget. Something realistic, and something in writing.
Making our budget work for us means walking to several shops, finding the best deals rather than one convenient run to the supermarket. It means making meals stretch beyond the obvious use. And it means speaking about the budget daily as a couple, celebrating the victory of sticking to it.
Which brings us to the chicken salad sandwich. It’s the kind of thing I would usually dismiss as a boring potluck contribution, but on a budget, it’s a darn fine sandwich! Especially when it came from one simple chicken. A chicken which yielded a pasta dish, a barbeque chicken pizza, a hearty soup, plenty of chicken salad sandwiches, and finally a broth.
Saving pennies can come down to simple changes, like preparing lunches rather than relying on easy fast-food restaurants. So having some ready-made chicken salad in the fridge to pile into a sandwich was a good solution. Especially when I knew it was packed full of flavor!
This recipe was not based on going out for specific ingredients. Other than the chicken, everything else was already in the fridge or pantry. But that does not mean it isn’t fabulous! Trust me, I’m a chicken salad sandwich convert, and a budget believer.
1/2 whole chicken, roasted and shredded
1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large green onion, sliced
1 long red chili pepper, seeded and chopped
handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup aioli
1/4 cup cream cheese at room temperature
1 tbs capers, finely chopped
1/4 tsp smoked hot paprika
juice of half a lime
cracked black pepper, to taste
To make the dressing, combine aioli with cream cheese. If you find that lumps are difficult to smooth, you can use a hand mixer to smooth it out. Add the capers, paprika, lime juice and pepper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, green pepper, green onion, red chili and cilantro. To that, add dressing and stir to combine.
Place lettuce leaves onto buns and pile chicken salad on top.
Bite. Chew. Swallow. Enjoy. On a budget!