Baked Chik’n Salad

this weekend is memorial day weekend.  this three-day weekend holiday is set aside to remember and honor all those brave men and women who have fought, been injured, or died fighting for our country.  it is also a favorite weekend for backyard barbeques, drinking, and swimming.  it’s a weekend that we all bask in the beautiful weather of spring and await the lazy burn of summer (you can tell by my language that i’m in arizona!)

yesterday, our friends threw a grilled pizza barbeque.  i love when people mix tradition (bbq on this weekend) with something new and totally unique (pizza instead of burgers… sweet!)  and perhaps most inspirational of all, they made their own dough and sauce and used the fresh basil from their yard. *droool* best pesto ever!

i was so inspired by their industriousness that when they asked folks to bring snacks to munch on, i decided to make this Baked Chik’n Salad from Morningstar Farms.  everytime i’ve made it, it’s been a hit! but as you’ve probably no doubt devised, i’m a little short in the confidence department and this endeavor was no different.  i’ve made it for picky friends, a picky husband, and my critical (but loving) family who have requested it a couple of times now. but this weekend i was making it for people who MAKE THEIR OWN DOUGH AND SAUCE!  i mean come on!  they can cook! and the rest of our crew can have discerning tastes as well.  add to that still feeling like the newb of the bunch, i don’t want to make anyone start asking, “Oh no! What fresh hell has she cooked this time??”  well this time was no exception… everyone who tried it said they really enjoyed it.  WOOT!!  it feels good to have the approval of more than just my too-polite-to-say-otherwise parents and husband!

the best part is… it’s vegetarian! can be made vegan, but the vegan mayo AND shredded cheese were just too expensive for my budget this time around.  but i’m eager to try it in the future!

you’ll notice a lot of blue text below.  as always i was very careful to follow the recipe exactly… NEVERRRRRR!  zombies don’t follow RULES! we use our BRAAAAAAINS!

Baked Chik’n Salad

(MorningStar Farms) 

Ingredient List

Serves 6

1 package MorningStar Farms® Chik Patties® Original
2 cups diced celery (i doubled this recipe except for the celery.  it had PLENTY of crunch without it)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup diced pimiento
1/4 cup diced green pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 cup shredded American cheese, divided (i use cheddar, mild this time… i’m a cheese snob and can’t stand to cook with american “cheese” aka orange plastic)
1 1/2 cups reduced calorie mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup crushed potato chips (i used lightly salted.  it still tasted great and reduced the amount of salt for those with high blood pressure)

Directions:

1. Place MorningStar Farms Chik Patties, celery, peas, pimiento, green pepper, and onion in large mixing bowl. if your patties have just come straight from the freezer, i suggest removing them from the packing and letting them sit on the counter while you dice the rest of the vegetables.  though the directions don’t call to do so, i chop up the patties first before mixing everything together.  if they aren’t thawed a little then they are way too rock solid to get a knife through easily!

2. Combine 1/2 cup of the cheese, mayonnaise, salt, and lemon juice. Add to MorningStar Farms Chik Patties mixture, tossing to combine. Place in shallow 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. i forgot the cooking spray but with all that mayo, it wasn’t an issue… it almost slid out of the casserole dish in the car!

3. Bake at 350° F about 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with chips and remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Serve hot. i sprinkled chips, cheese, then more chips.  also, it’s not necessary to meassure the chips, just do to taste and add enough to give a crunchy top.

Some more images to feast your eyes upon:

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