Chicken Curry Salad {Road Trip: Mackinac Island}

I’ve always loved a good chicken salad. I think the best ones have just the perfect amount of creamy dressing to cover the tender and plentiful chicken. And they’re loaded with flavor and a variety of textures. Fruit – fresh or dried – and some nuts to lend a salty crunch…these are all essential ingredients in my book.

This Chicken Curry Salad could be the spokesperson for chicken salad aspiration. The dressing steps away from the standard all-mayo base by incorporating Greek yogurt. I learned about this tasty (and healthier) combo from making my friend Amy’s delicious Rosemary Chicken Salad with Smoked Almonds. Thanks, Amy!

If you like your chicken salad with a bit of a kick, save this recipe right here and now. Thanks to a generous amount of sweet curry and a bit of cayenne, there is nothing bland about it. Add in some chewy golden raisins and pepitos (pumpkin seeds), and it’s everything chicken salad is supposed to be. Well, in my book anyway.

I enjoyed a fabulous chicken curry salad a few weeks ago while our family was on vacation to Mackinac Island, Michigan. That salad haunted me (in a good way…I really don’t like scary stuff) after we got home and gave me a hunger to try my hand at recreating it. Inspiration for the recipe in this post comes from the Seabiscuit Cafe. Read on after the recipe for photos and a bit about our visit to Mackinac Island, a simple, yet vibrant little piece of America that charmed every one of us.

Chicken Curry Salad

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:


  • 1 large roasted chicken or 3 to 4 medium-sized roasted chicken breasts, cut into 1'' pieces

  • 1/3 c. golden raisins, plus more for sprinkling over the top

  • 1/4 c. pepitos (pumpkin seeds), plus more for sprinkling over the top


for the curry dressing:



  • 2/3 c. plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise

  • 1 tsp. honey

  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

  • 3 tsp. sweet curry, plus more for sprinkling over the top (I LOVE the sweet curry from Penzeys!)

  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling on top


Directions:

Gently fold the chicken, raisins, and pepitos in a large bowl. Combine the curry dressing ingredients and mix well. Add the dressing to the chicken mixture and gently fold to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Top the finished salad with a sprinkling of additional raisins, pepitos, a couple pinches of curry, and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve over a bed of fresh crunchy lettuce greens or in a tortilla wrap.


From a farmgirl‘s dabbles, inspired by a menu item at Seabiscuit Cafe on Mackinac Island, MI.


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Road Trip: Mackinac Island

Acting on nudgings from a co-worker/world-wide traveler, my family booked a few nights at the famous Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

First things first. If you’re not familiar with the pronunciation of this island, think of it as being spelled “Mackinaw”. Then you’ll be sure to say it like a local.

I didn’t do much pre-planning for this trip, which is so not me. I didn’t even have a good sense as to exactly where Mackinac Island sat on the map until just a few days before departure. So I thought I’d throw in a visual to get you acquainted.

Located in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, this island sits just a few miles to the east of the Mackinac Bridge, in the waters of Lake Huron.

We arrived by ferry to this scene.

Mackinac Island is comprised of just under 4 square miles, with much of the island having undergone extensive historical preservation and restoration. The entire island is a National Historic Landmark, with only 600 year-round residents.

And 500 horses.

There are no cars. If you want to go somewhere, you hop on a bike, wait for a horse and carriage to amble your way, or simply hoof it on your own.

Grand Hotel is the world’s largest summer hotel, with rich history evident wherever you wander. It was truly charming and begged us to unplug it all and relax. The tweeting, the facebooking, all the usual computering…it was flying below the radar as we took a few steps back to enjoy some down time with family.

We swam every day under the warm brilliant blue skies of Michigan, and noshed on more snow cones than I should probably admit. But, hey, when an old-fashioned make-your-own-snow-cone cart sits poolside, to enjoy at your every whim, ya just gotta do it!

Besides the swimming, a big highlight for our girls was the evening meal in the Main Dining Room. Part of the experience in staying at Grand Hotel is getting all dolled up for their 5-course dinner. And, yes, we did see a man without a tie being turned away.

After dinner each evening, Blake and I relaxed with a cup of their evening ritual from the Parlor. I wasn’t familiar with demitasse service, which just means a very small cup of coffee, but it turned out to be one of my highlights! With tiny cups of aromatic warmth in our hands, we were drawn to the Grand Hotel’s Front Porch, the largest porch in the world at 660 feet long.

From those white rocking chairs, we breathed in the cooler air of the evening, as we unwound even further with sunset views of the Mackinac Bridge.

Our youngest is enamored with horses, so this island was her equestrian paradise. She wasn’t old enough to ride at the stables, so we opted for a horse-drawn carriage tour. This mode of transportation turned out to be a very relaxing way to take in the island.

Mackinac Island is very wooded, with miles of narrow tree canopied lanes that afford a peek into the lives of its residents. The homes and the land they sit on have been lovingly tended to. Homes such as these were on the cozier modest side…

while larger homes like these might be considered mansions. I found myself wishing I could step inside those front doors. To acquaint myself with Mackinac life a bit more deeply, to experience an intimacy within the walls of its long-ago inhabitants.

The island’s homes and storefronts are nestled in a beautiful natural setting. More than 80% of the island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park. Its interior is mostly shaded with mature trees and the perimeter is lined with bluffs that open up to the shoreline below. A spectacular sparkling shoreline of pure gorgeousness. This island is magical, in a historical and nature-centered sort of way. It’s the kind of place my family talks about with a very soft fondness, hoping we can return some day.

I’m linking up with the following this week:

Cheryl at TidyMom for I’m Lovin’ It (Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 lens) Allison at Alli ‘n Son for Sweet Tooth Friday (Brown Butter and Ginger Ale Apple Dumplings) Robyn at Add a Pinch for Mingle Monday Rachel at A Southern Fairytale for Mouthwatering Monday (Handmade Holidays Weekly Wrap Up)