My sister sent me this recipe more than a year ago, and then made it for us on her trip here for our wedding in September of 2005, (which was potluck and the best wedding food we've ever had). The salad is really good and very easy, and the leftovers were fantastic. It was great to be able to munch on in the post-wedding, wrapping paper strewn, chaos. The salad is flavorful and, as she mentions below, easy to customize. I think it would be fine without chicken, as well.
My sister, who lives in Flagstaff, is a fabulous cook. I think we both inherited the cooking gene from our mother, who always seems to have loved cooking, although what she cooks has changed a lot over the years, to adjust to changing tastes (and a husband with cholesterol problems). The food of my childhood was often classic 70s food: homemade macaroni and cheese (which I hated), spaghetti with meat sauce (ditto), turkey tetrazzini (ditto-I was a picky child. Love 'em all now)-side dishes of canned pears on a lettuce leaf topped with grated cheese. But we also ate things like homemade wontons and chile rellenos and Grecian chicken. My mom, and Rachel and I, all love to bake. One shining childhood memory is of the night dinner was a bowl of meringue. I blame my childhood for my deep ingrained feeling that I haven't finished my evening meal if I don't get dessert at the end of it. Nutritionists who recommend treating yourself once or twice a week to a dessert make me laugh.
And back to my sister's salad! Thanks for this, Rae.