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What You Need
Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 small bay leaves
6 whole peppercorns
2/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
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1. Place chicken breasts smooth side down on a cutting board. Pull or cut tenders from breast halves and save for another use.
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2. Place a sheet of waxed paper over chicken pieces and pound lightly to an even thickness.
3. Bring 8 cups water, bay leaves, and peppercorns to barely a simmer over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add chicken and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, keeping temperature moderate so only a few bubbles appear around chicken.
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Add a Little Flavor
4. Remove chicken when instant-read thermometer inserted in breasts registers 160 degrees. Refrigerate until cold.
5. Cut chicken into 3/4-inch cubes, stir together with mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, and then with one of the following flavor combinations.
Curried Chicken Salad
Stir in 1/2 cup chopped golden raisins, 1/4 cup slivered almonds, 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
Stir in 1 Gala apple (cored and cubed), 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 2 teaspoons cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon sugar.
Classic Chicken Salad
Add 2 ribs celery, trimmed and chopped, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, and 2 tablespoons mustard.
Originally published in the April 1, 2008, issue of Family Circle magazine.