Chicken Salad Sandwich and Cheese Sticks

In the Philippines, a rice-less meal is a light meal. So, We decided to go light last night. Sandwiches and cheese sticks were all I planned. The kids were excited and wanted to help out in making the cheese sticks. But their dad wanted turon for dessert too. By the time cooking was done, there was so much food on the table. And we had a lot of fun. Our soon-to-be 12-year-old girl suggested we take family photos at the dinner table every night. She said we should let readers of the food blog see just how much we are enjoying what we cook. Um, good idea. I just don’t know if my bandwidth usage can handle it. Perhaps, once in a while would be alright.

Anyway, our usual way of preparing a chicken salad sandwich is by mixing chopped chicken breast meat with chopped onions and mayonnaise and seasoning the mixture with salt, pepper, and a little sugar. I like adding chopped celery to mine but since my kids did not like celery, I used to prepare a separate salad for myself. Last night, however, the soon-to-be 12-year-old girl commandeered the kitchen and did the salad herself–from the chopping to deciding what went into it. So she added the chopped celery and plenty of finely chopped parsley as well. I just adjusted the seasonings afterward. I chilled the salad then sliced a cucumber to go with it later.

Then came the cheese sticks. I’ve always enjoyed my cheese sticks a la Tia Maria–with bell peppers and a little chili powder–but my kids do not find the combination appetizing. Hence, we prepared two sets of cheese sticks last night–one set with bell peppers; another set without. It was so much fun. My two daughters and I rolled the cheese sticks and had a little contest as to who rolled them the tightest and who made the best-sealed cheese sticks. It was a very enjoyable Sunday evening in the kitchen, to say the least.

Cool the chicken breasts. Debone and chop the meat. How fine or how coarse is up to you. Some people like chunky chicken salad; others don’t. Finely chop the celery and the onion. Toss the chopped chicken breast meat, celery, onion, and pickle relish with the mayonnaise. Blend well. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Chill, covered, for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Place a cheese stick and a strip of bell pepper at one edge of a lumpia wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper with the cornstarch paste. Roll the wrapper two times, then fold the sides inward. Continue rolling as tightly as you can, sealing the edges well. Repeat until all the lumpia wrapper has been filled. Heat the cooking oil in a medium-sized skillet until it starts to smoke. Fry the cheese sticks over high heat, 4-5 pieces at a time, letting them roll in the hot oil for even browning. Drain the cheese sticks on several stacks of paper towels. Have a variety of vegetables to go with the chicken salad sandwiches. Lettuce, tomato slices, and cucumber slices are good choices. Place the vegetables on a plate beside the bowl of chicken salad. Let everyone make their sandwiches so that they can decide what to put into them.