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Too hot? Keep food quick, cool

Thursday, July 26, 2001

We love to cook and we love to bake, but even Kitchen Mailbox needs a break in summer.


Today's recipes will get you out of the kitchen in plenty of time to putter in the garden, play a round of golf or just relax.

Chicken and Artichoke Salad fits the bill for a it's-too-hot-to-cook day. We were eager to try it because of one ingredient -- Rice-A-Roni. We've made plenty of chicken salads but none that called for a packaged rice dish. Chicken and Artichoke Salad is a mixture of cooked cubed chicken and vegetables, such as artichokes, black olives, green onions and mushrooms, and the rice. The ingredients are blended with a mayonnaise-based dressing. We followed the suggestion of Audrey C. Quetsch of Washington, Pa., and made the salad the night before so the flavors blend. It was delicious and beautiful.

Another version of chicken salad is a bit easier to prepare. This salad is made with chicken, raisins, water chestnuts, chopped celery, seasonings and mayonnaise.

We served both salads on a bed of greens and tomatoes with warm rolls and iced tea in frosted glasses.

Audrey C. Quetsch of Washington sent this recipe for Artichoke and Chicken Salad.

Artichoke and Chicken Salad

4 chicken breasts, cooked, chilled and cubed
1 package Rice-a-Roni
2.25-ounce can sliced black olives
4 ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained or 4 ounces fresh (we used fresh)
12-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced (not mari nated)
1 bunch green onions tops (the green stems)
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup oil (we used olive oil)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
Pepper and lemon pepper to taste

Cook rice according to package directions, set aside to cool. Combine olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, green onion tops and green pepper. Mix together vinegar, oil, mayonnaise, lemon juice and seasonings. Add to first mixture. Chill for two hours or overnight before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Mary Dunn of West Mifflin did her own detective work and found the chicken salad recipe she requested. Here it is:

Chicken Salad

2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed and chilled
2 cups raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
McCormicks Salad Supreme (we used 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Walnuts (we used about 1/2 cup chopped)

Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh PA 15222; or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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