Claremom: Bad Bunco and Hot Chicken Salad

diceI hosted the neighborhood Bunco game at my house last month. Never mind that I was on the schedule to host in February. Here’s the email I sent out to the girls to explain the situation:

“Grab a tissue for this tale of woe…It was January 31, 2011 when I received the Bunco Bag from CF. The next day, 20 inches of snow fell…and then another 15 inches of snow fell…and then I forgot…and then I slept (a lot)…and then in early May, I cleaned the guest room in preparation for international guests…and unearthed…THE BUNCO BAG!

So here it is, June 15, 2011 and I’m sure we’d all love just a smidgen of that snow we had mere months ago as we swelter in the 90-degree heat. And, before you cuss me and call me a bad Bunco host (which I am), allow me to make amends by inviting you to mi casa on Monday, June 27, 2011 at 7 p.m. for Bunco. Yes, I know that many are on vacation or getting ready to go on vacation, but take a break and come on down.

I will be serving dinner…Hot Chicken Salad and all the trimmings…and wine, beer, and dessert. You will not want to miss it. Dinner and BUNCO…what a deal! RSVP, please…don’t make me call you.”

Normally, the Bunco hostess makes the dessert, provides the beverages (lots of beer and wine), and puts out snacks at each table. But this was not nearly enough prostration to make up for my stunning failure as a Bunco hostess.

I had to pull out the big guns. I had to devise a spectacular menu that would get me out of the doghouse with women who know precisely where I live. Not to mention that one is my doctor. You don’t mess with Bunco babes, man. They’re serious about getting out of the house at least once a month and by my count, I had deprived them of five months of gambling. My goose was cooked!

So, with sweaty palms, I went to my recipe box and found my Grandma Remke’s Hot Chicken Salad recipe. Then, dug until I found a recipe for Strawberry Pretzel Salad that I’d had at a club meeting, and then I made Dilled Green Beans, another Grandma Remke recipe.

The food was superb, if I do say so myself.

Grandma Remke was an excellent cook, but she didn’t think so. She taught me lots of handy hints and tips in the kitchen and shared more than one winning recipe with me. This Hot Chicken Salad recipe was one she took with her to Bartlesville Garden Club meetings. The recipe originally called for potato chips crushed over the top of the casserole, but Grandma was always looking for ways to make things healthier and lower in fat, so she substituted crushed corn flakes cereal instead. I like the corn flakes just fine, so I’ve kept the recipe just the way it is.

I’ve made this for many ladies luncheons myself over the years and it is always a hit.

GRANDMA REMKE’S HOT CHICKEN SALAD

1/4 c. oleo or butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained
6 ounces sliced almonds (or slivered)
1/3 green bell pepper, diced
1 c. chopped celery
4 c. diced cooked chicken
1 c. mayonnaise
1 can (10 3/4 ounce) cream of celery soup
1 tsp. salt
1 c. crushed corn flake cereal

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, pimientos, almonds, bell pepper, and celery. Saute until vegetables are tender. Place in a bowl and add chicken, mayonnaise, soup, and salt; stir well. Spread mixture evenly into an ungreased 13×9″ baking dish. Sprinkle with crushed corn flakes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 8.

I am happy to report that my friends, neighbors, and Bunco friends enjoyed the food and are no longer staring icily at me as I roll down the street.

Thank the good Lord above I’ve got mad skills in the kitchen!

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