Category Archives: Breakfast/Brunch

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and other stuff): Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

DAY 12 : Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

A delicious quick bread that makes great gifts for friends and neighbors. It is also great spread with a little cream cheese before eating.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pans 1

Dollar stores and Michaels often sell cute Christmas mini-loaf pans that you can bake these in. Then you can give the cute little pan to neighbors along with the bread.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pan

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (16oz) pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two regular loaf pans (or 6-8 mini loaf pans), or spray with Baking Pam.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin until well mixed.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Stir into pumpkin mixture. Fold in chopped cranberries and walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared pans. Fill mini loaf pans about 2/3 full.

For regular loaf pans: bake for 60 minutes
For mini-loaf pans: bake for 35-45 minutes

Bake until top of loaf springs back when touched gently (or toothpick comes out clean). Check bread after about 30 minutes: cover loosely with foil if it is beginning to brown too quickly.

Yield: 2 regular loaves or 5-6 mini-loaves

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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Bread

Homemade bread is a lot easier than you might think and is well worth the effort. This is a simple recipe for a Cinnamon Swirl Bread. Eggs, milk, and sugar in the dough make this a wonderfully rich bread that is perfect for toasting.

For a real treat, slice it and use for making French Toast.

If you like raisins, add them to the cinnamon filling for a delicious Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

For a fancier presentation, you can also make 3 longer, narrower dough rolls and braid the rolls and then drizzle the baked braided loaf with a powdered sugar/milk glaze.

This recipe makes three regular loaves or two braided loaves.

RECIPE:

Cinnamon Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1 Tbs yeast
¼ cup warm (but not hot) water
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 tsp salt
2 cups milk, scalded**
7 – 7½ cups flour
2 eggs
3 Tbs butter, softened
3 Tbs cinnamon
6 Tbs sugar
3 tsp water

Mix yeast with ¼ cup water. Set aside. Place ½ cup sugar, ½ cup butter and salt in a large mixing bowl; pour scalded milk over the mixture. Stir until butter is melted. Use a dough hook to mix in 3 cups of flour. Add eggs and continue mixing. Add the softened yeast and mix until smooth. Add enough remaining flour until you have a soft, kneadable dough. Knead dough into a smooth ball.

Place dough in an oiled bowl; turn dough over to coat both sides. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled.

Mix 3 Tbs cinnamon and 6 Tbs sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 3 rectangles. Spread 1 Tbs butter on each rectangle and sprinkle each with 3 Tbs cinnamon/sugar mixture. Sprinkle 1 tsp of water over the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Roll into loaves; seal ends and place in greased bread pans. Cover and let rise one hour.

Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes. If the tops start to get too brown, cover loosely with foil. Remove from pans, brush tops with butter, and cool on rack.

Makes 3 medium loaves

**TO SCALD MILK: Heat milk in pan over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge of pan and milk just begins to boil. Or microwave until milk just begins to boil.

OPTIONAL: Sprinkle dough with ¼ cup raisins before rolling.

BRAIDED CINNAMON BREAD: After dough rises first time, divide into 2 pieces. From each piece make 3 long, narrow rectangles. Spread with butter, cinnamon, sugar; sprinkle with water. Roll each rectangle and seal ends and edge. Braid the three loaves (keep seam sides down), pinching both ends to seal. Bake on a greased baking sheet at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly. Glaze with a powdered sugar/milk icing. Makes 2 braided loaves.

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Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

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The best way to start a 6:00am day? Homemade cinnamon rolls, of course.

Cinnamon Rolls 1

To keep your rolls light and airy, do not add too much flour to your dough, and knead only until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Because the dough is sticky, it needs to sit for a while in the refrigerator before rolling out the dough. To keep the rolls soft, I also roll my dough out on a buttered silicon mat (instead of a floured mat). Greased hands will help in handling the slightly sticky dough.

An easy way to cut your dough logs into rolls without crushing the dough and having the knife stick to the dough is to use dental floss (not mint!) or a strong sewing thread. See THIS POST for more details.

This recipe makes a lot: 36  large rolls. You can scale the recipe back if you don’t want as many OR Rolls can be frozen either after or before cooking.

To freeze before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

RECIPE:

Cinnamon Rolls 2

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

2 ½ cups buttermilk*
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp salt
9 – 9 ½ cups flour, divided
1 ½ Tbs instant yeast

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2-3 Tbs cinnamon

Place buttermilk, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl (stand mixer) and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Mix in eggs and salt. Add 4 cups of flour and the yeast and mix until smooth. Add additional 5 cups of flour and knead until smooth. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make a soft dough that barely pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough with plastic wrap touching the dough and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, or until the dough is chilled and not sticky when touched.

Lightly butter rimmed baking sheets or 9”x13” pans. Mix brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Divide dough into two halves. On a lightly buttered surface, pat each dough half into a rectangle about 12”x18”. Spread 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) on each dough half and sprinkle with half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Starting from long edge, form a roll. Pinch long edge to seal. Use a knife to lightly score dough into 18  sections about 1” apart. Place a strand of dental floss under the dough and cross over the top of the dough at the scored marking. Pull dental floss to cut through dough log. Place in prepared pan. Cover with a thin towel and allow rolls to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Spread warm rolls with cream cheese glaze.

Makes 36 rolls

*Buttermilk substitute: Scald 2 cups milk (bring to boiling point) and stir in ½ cup plain yogurt

 

Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz cream cheese
6 Tbs heavy cream
3-4 Tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Use a hand mixer to mix all of the glaze ingredients. Add additional milk or cream if needed to make a smooth glaze.

 

To freeze rolls before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

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How To . . . Make Your Own Pie Crust Shield

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Getting ready to bake a ton of pies for Thanksgiving? Tired of burnt edges to your pie crusts, but don’t want to spend major $$ to buy commercial pie crust shields? Frustrated with trying to arrange foil strips and then nursing burnt fingers when the strips fall off in the oven?

Making your own pie crust shield is super easy, cheap, and will keep your fingers blister-free. And you won’t be tempted to curse in frustration at foil strips that just don’t stay put. Oh- and you will end up with perfectly browned pie crusts.

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To make you own pie crust shield you need the following: aluminum foil, scissors, pencil and the pie plate you will be baking in.

Set your pie plate, right side up, on a square of foil that is 2-3” larger than your pie plate.

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Trace the bottom of your pie plate (the smaller side).

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Set pie plate aside and cut out the inner circle.

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You can trim the corners on the outside edge, but I usually just leave them. Fill your pie crust, then set foil ring over the edge of the unbaked pie. Gently fold down outer edges, being careful not to squish all of that edge-crimping you worked so hard on!

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Bake pie, or quiche, with the pie shield on. Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, carefully remove shield. If the edges are not brown enough, leave shield off and bake until edges are golden brown. If the edges are browned, replace shield and continue cooking until quiche/pie is cooked through.

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Uses for Pie Crust Shield:

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Lime Glazed Raspberry Sweet Rolls

Raspberry Rolls 3

Starting with a traditional cinnamon roll dough, these rolls use raspberry jam as a filling and are iced with a lime glaze.

I used this Homemade Raspberry Jam for the filling.

This recipe makes a lot: 36-40 large rolls. You can scale the recipe back if you don’t want as many OR Rolls can be frozen either after or before cooking.

To freeze before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

Raspberry Rolls 2

RECIPE:

Raspberry Rolls 3

Lime Glazed Raspberry Sweet Rolls

2 ½ cups buttermilk*
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
zest from 1 lime
2 tsp salt
9 – 9 ½ cups flour, divided
1 ½ Tbs instant yeast
1 cup raspberry jam

Place buttermilk, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl (stand mixer) and let mixture cool for 15-20 minutes. Mix in eggs, lime zest and salt. Add 4 cups of flour and the yeast and mix until smooth. Add additional 5 cups of flour and knead until smooth. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make a soft dough that barely pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough with plastic wrap touching the dough and refrigerate for 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter rimmed baking sheets or 9”x13” pans.

Divide dough into two halves. On a lightly buttered surface, pat each dough half into a rectangle about 12”x18”. Spread with raspberry jam. Starting from long edge, form a roll. Pinch edge to seal. Use a knife to lightly score dough into 18-20 sections about 1” apart. Place a strand of dental floss under the dough log and cross over the top of the dough at the scored marking. Pull dental floss to cut through dough. Place in prepared pan. Cover with a thin towel and allow rolls to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.

Bake at 350ºF for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Spread warm rolls with lime glaze.

Makes 36-40 rolls

*Buttermilk substitute: Scald 2 cups of milk (bring to boiling point) and then stir in ½ cup plain yogurt

Lime Glaze

4 Tbs melted butter
3 Tbs heavy cream
2 Tbs lime juice
2 tsp lime zest (zest from 1 lime)
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Use a whisk to mix all glaze ingredients.

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Orange Rolls

Orange Rolls

These sweet rolls are light (not in calories, unfortunately) and soft with a slight tang from the addition of sour cream and fresh orange juice. A nice change from a traditional cinnamon roll.

To keep your rolls light and airy, do not add too much flour to your dough, and knead only until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. I roll my dough out on a buttered silicon mat (instead of a floured mat). Greased hands will also help in handling the slightly sticky dough.

An easy way to cut your dough logs into rolls without crushing the dough and having the knife stick to the dough is to use dental floss (not mint!) or a strong sewing thread. The (really out of focus) picture below shows the floss in action.

Cutting Rolls 2

I like to first make shallow knife cuts in the dough so that I have a cutting guide. Then place the floss UNDER the dough. Cross the ends of the floss over the top of the dough (lining up with the knife cuts) and pull crossed floss ends until the dough is cut through.

RECIPE:

Orange Rolls

Orange Rolls

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
3 Tbs butter
1 cup sour cream
½ cup sugar
3 eggs
about 4 – 4 ½ cups flour
1 Tbs instant yeast**
2 tsp salt

Filling:
6 Tbs butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 tsp orange zest

Glaze:
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs butter, softened
3 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbs heavy cream
1 tsp orange zest
dash salt

Combine orange juice, 1 tsp orange zest, 3 Tbs butter and sour cream in a small saucepan or microwave safe bowl. Heat slowly until butter melts and mixture is warm to touch, but not hot (do not allow mixture to boil).

Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer with a dough hook attached. Mix in ½ cup sugar. Add eggs all at once and mix well. Mix in flour (start with 4 cups), yeast and salt. Knead dough, adding additional flour if necessary, until dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl, but is still soft and slightly sticky. Cover and let dough rest 10 minutes.

Combine filling ingredients in a small bowl; stir well.

Divide dough in half. On a buttered surface, roll each dough half into a large rectangle about ½” thick. Spread each with half of the filling. Roll dough beginning with the long edge; press edge to seal seam. Slice each dough roll into about 12 rolls (use dental floss or sewing thread for easy cutting). Place rolls in a buttered pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Bake at 375°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until barely golden brown. Cool at least 15 minutes before spreading with glaze.

Combine glaze ingredients and mix well. Add additional cream or orange juice if glaze is too thick to spread. Spread on warm, but not oven-hot rolls.

**NOTE: If you are using regular, and not instant yeast, proof yeast for 5 minutes in 1/4 cup of the orange juice (or water), warmed, before mixing into the dough. Allow dough to rise in a covered bowl until doubled before rolling and shaping into rolls.

Yield: about 24 rolls

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Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread: where summer and autumn collide in a great tasting snack. This is a great way to use an over-abundance of zucchini from your garden (or local farmers’ market) and incorporate the great fall flavors of pumpkin and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.

You can also make these in muffin form for a delicious on-the-go breakfast or lunch box treat. There is no easier way to get your kids to eat their veges. Chocolate chips are optional, but always appreciated (unless you are a certain son of mine).

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffin

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
2 cups shredded zucchini
½ cup butter, melted
1 Tbs vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground ground nutmeg (or cloves)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 medium loaf pans.

Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add pumpkin, zucchini, melted butter and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into 2 loaf pans.

Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

FOR MUFFINS: Line muffin pans with paper liners (or grease pan). Bake at 375°F for 15-18 minutes.

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Pumpkin Oat Waffles with Cinnamon Syrup

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Happy Halloween!

It is not feeling much like Halloween here in western Pennsylvania. On Monday, in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, school was cancelled (Tue) and delayed (Wed), trick-or-treating was moved to Saturday, and school Halloween parties and parades moved to Friday. Gratefully, we had much less of an impact from the storm than was predicted, so kids are back at school today (on time!). But with all of the Halloween activities for today postponed, it feels like just another wet, slushy Wednesday.

We were all prepared to wake up on Tuesday without power, but instead we had a great day at home together with nothing on the schedule! I love days like that. Days that can start with a great breakfast full of healthy things like pumpkin and oats and topped with unhealthy things like a thick homemade cinnamon syrup.

New at waffle making? Try these Tips for Making Great Waffles.

RECIPES:
PumpkinWaffles1
Pumpkin Oat Waffles

2 cups flour
¾ cup rolled oats
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups buttermilk
4 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix. Combine wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Use a mixer to beat thoroughly. Beat in dry ingredients until just mixed. Do not stir batter after mixing.

Use a ladle or measuring cup to pour batter evenly into hot waffle maker (about 2 cups for the 4 small Belgian waffles in my waffle maker). Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or according to directions on your waffle maker. Remove waffles from waffle maker and place on a wire rack (not a plate). Serve immediately or keep warm in a warm oven (very low heat).

Makes about 5 large Belgian waffles (20 small squares)

Cinnamon Syrup

3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

 

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

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Fall and pumpkin just seem to go hand in hand. Cream cheese, however, that is an all-season ingredient. Paired together you get a moist, delicious muffin perfect for any time of the year.

A crunchy, sugary topping on a pumpkin-pie-spiced-cheesecakey muffin. Now all we need is some hot cocoa.

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RECIPE:

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Muffin Batter:
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs buttermilk powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Cream Cheese Swirl:
8 oz (1 pkg) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs flour

Topping:
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs flour
1 tsp  cinnamon
2 Tbs butter, cold

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Muffin Batter: Using an electric mixer, beat together the pumpkin, oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, buttermilk powder, salt, baking soda and spices. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and beat until just combined.

Cream Cheese Swirl: With a mixer, beat cream cheese and egg until combined. Beat in powdered sugar and flour.

Topping: Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly.

Fill each muffin paper about 1/3 full with muffin batter (about 2 Tbs). Add a small spoonful of filling (about 1-2 tsp). Repeat layers in each muffin cup. Using a table knife, gently swirl batters. Sprinkle topping over the swirled muffin batter.

Bake at 350˚ F for 17-20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing.

Makes 15-18 muffins.

 

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Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

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This is a basic chicken salad recipe with a few extras that add a nice zing. Dried cranberries provide just the right amount of sweetness. Toasted pecans, which I always love paired with cranberries, add the perfect crunch.

This is a very adaptable recipe. I usually have shredded chicken in the freezer, so I often use that. But leftover roast chicken makes a really great salad. And you can’t beat the price and ease of pre-cooked roasted chickens these days!

You can use halved grapes instead of cranberries, but if you haven’t tried chicken salad with cranberries, it really is amazing. I have also made this with walnuts or slivered almonds. Be sure to toast the nuts first. This keeps the nuts from being bitter and helps them retain their crunch when mixed with the dressing.

Crumbled bacon is listed as an optional ingredient in the recipe below, but around here it is mandatory. My family always wants crumbled bacon sprinkled on the top of their sandwiches, but “Did you make bacon?” is a pretty standard question around here, regardless of what the meal is.

RECIPE:

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Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

4 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (about 2 lb)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1/2  cup dried cranberries  (or use 1 cup halved grapes)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or use walnuts or slivered almonds), toasted
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried dill (or tarragon)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional

In a large bowl, mix cooked chicken, celery, green onions, cranberries or grapes, and toasted nuts.

In a small bowl mix dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over chicken until salad is desired consistency. There may be a little extra, depending on how moist you like your chicken salad.

Garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon, if desired. Do not mix the cooked bacon into the salad. It becomes too soft and mushy. Sprinkle over individual sandwiches just before serving.

 

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