As anyone who has ever moved to a new town knows, it’s not easy making new friends. When I first moved to Tucson in 2005 I worked from home and my daughter Gigi hadn’t yet come along.
So with the exception of frequent jaunts to the gym, Target and Trader Joe’s, my social interactions were frustratingly limited.
That is, until I joined the Junior League of Tucson (JLT). As a transfer from the San Diego league, I was instantly introduced to a great group of women, all focused on forming new friendships while helping to better the Tucson community. And through a series of board meetings, focus groups and general get-togethers I was introduced to this dish, the signature dish of JLT gatherings.
Gigi and I returned to Tucson last week for a few days with family and friends. We stayed with my dear friend Elizabeth, one of the first women I met in the JLT. You may know Elizabeth’s wit and witticisms from her blog, This Little Mama, or her reality recaps at Reality Steve. Elizabeth is my kind of girl: sassy, opinionated and a whiz in the kitchen.
Together we whipped up the JLT’s chicken curry and rice salad, using Elizabeth’s pressure cooker (I now have one in my cupboard, too) and a few other quick-to-the-table tricks, like this easy gluten-free rice mix from Mahatma. If you’re short on grapes, toss in a few raisins. Cashews can be swapped out for the almonds. And if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, take heart: this salad is perfect spooned from the container for a day or two after the fact.
If you’re doubly lucky to have friends near or far who love to cook, grab your aprons, open a bottle of Skinny Girl and relish the joy of cooking with good friends.
- 1 package rice yellow saffron rice
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichokes, minced (reserve marinade)
- 4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 4 green onions, chopped
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup red grapes, halved
- Prepare saffron rice according to package instructions. Allow to cool.
- Combine curry powder, half of the reserved artichoke marinade and mayonnaise in a large bowl.
- Add shredded chicken, cooled rice, green onions, artichoke and almonds to the bowl. Gently stir to combine with dressing.
- Stir in the red grapes.