The Original Secret Ingredient
I told everyone the secret was in my dressing, but I smugly thought my secret ingredient was love. I deeply loved all of these people, and I wanted them to feel loved. Unfortunately, that is a huge responsibility to put on such a humble dish of chicken.
Worse than that, I was putting even more pressure on mysel. I thought to be loved I had to first show love. Sounds more like earning love, doesn’t it? I might have added love to my dish, but while it sat there on the table waiting, my love turned into expectations. Those expectations quickly soured.
Was I Giving to Get Back?
To be fair, I didn’t know I had expectations. I really just wanted to be loved. I thought I was being a “good” friend, daughter, neighbor, and Christian by putting others first and following the golden rule. Ironically, my religious upbringing focused so much on others that I missed a bigger concept – Love your neighbors as yourself.
Many times, I would make my most delicious salad and not save any for me or my family. I was doing the same thing with love. I was serving love to everyone else and starving myself, and it doesn’t take long for unidentified expectations to turn into resentment. Hurt and still looking for love, I quit making my chicken salad.
The New Improved Secret Ingredient
A few months ago, I dusted off my recipe card and made this salad for my Celebrate Recovery family, and last week, I made a batch for my son’s teachers. Thanks to recovery, I’ve made two important changes to the recipe, which make the salad even better. First, I serve this salad with gratitude instead of attitude. I no longer offer up this dish or any other with expectations of approval or love. Second, I make sure my little family enjoys the first serving. I am learning to take care of myself first. Wise friends in recovery tell me, “Self-care isn’t selfish.”
Co-Dependent’s Chicken Salad
- 40 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed)
- 1 stick of butter
- 5 stalks celery
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cups seedless grapes
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup Dijon mustard
- ½ cup Ranch dressing
Add the stick of butter and chicken to a large skillet and cook on medium high heat until chicken is cooked through and a golden brown. Let chicken cool then cut into small chunks. Wash celery, grapes, and onion. Chop celery and onions into small chunks. If grapes are large, cut them in half. I prefer to use red grapes and a red onion because it makes for a prettier presentation.
Mix the honey, Dijon mustard, and Ranch dressing into a small bowl and then stir into salad. Serve with crackers, croissants, or Hawaiian rolls.
A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Pam Carver