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Cranberry Apple Almond Chicken Salad

I need your expertise!


My little boy is smitten with a little girl.

This is serious.

So here’s what happened. Andrew came home from school and told me that he likes a girl; she asked him to friend her on Facebook (okay, so that’s not the serious part). I told him no computer until he finished his homework.

You have never seen any kid do quality homework so fast. I know. I checked.


So after they became Facebook friends and chatted it up there for awhile, Andrew summoned his nerve to ask me this question:

“Mommy. Is it okay if I Skype with my friend?”

Ummmm… I guess so? Is that a thing? Is that what 12-year-olds do now? This makes me feel old. Except I’m only 32… but Skype-ing a girl you like before a real phone conversation seems awkward, right?


So he set a time with this little girl, fiddled with getting Skype to work on his tablet, and called her. My little boy called a girl.

So me being the nosy mommy that I am managed to peek over his shoulder as he perched on the couch . She is completely adorable. They talked for what seemed to me like a reeeeeally long time about nothing.

The next day Andrew asked if it would be okay if they Skyped again? And also, could they hang out sometime?

Wait. Back up a minute.


Is hanging out like a date? Because he’s 12. Annnd 12-year-olds don’t date. They just call someone their boyfriend or girlfriend for like 3 weeks and then break up via notebook paper in the hallway at school. So. Because Andrew rarely requests activities with friends, I figure I’ll just go with it. I asked him what would they do? Where would they go?

When I was 12 I was allowed to go to the mall with my friend and walk around. We probably made the sales girls at Claire’s completely crazy. And we always ate tacos because they were super extra cheap.

Here’s the problem: our mall is THE LAMEST MALL EVER. I’m not even kidding. It’s the WORST. The whole thing is carpeted, most of the storefronts are empty, there is NO COFFEE. Whoever is in charge of purchasing for our Belk should be fired. Repeatedly. And there are hordes of mall walkers. You’ve never seen so many mall walkers. Mall walking is such a popular activity that they advertise it on the giant light up sign outside the mall. Maybe they’re hoping the mall walkers will patronize one of the 5 awful shoe stores?


Cranberry Apple Almond Chicken Salad

Our mall is the opposite of fun.

I drew on my ability to think fast and suggested they go out for ice cream? I was met with a way less than enthusiastic response. Apparently that is not cool.

She said he could come hang out at her house. And to that my response is um, hell to the no.

Am I being ridiculous?  This is the question burning in my mama brain. I asked, “What would you do at her house?”

He said, “Ummmm, I don’t know…. go for a walk?” I’d like to think that is a wholesome activity, and maybe it is, but this girl is a little older than Andrew. And when I was just a few years older than Andrew we did dumb things on walks with friends. Like (Mom. Stop reading.) smoke cigarettes.

Cranberry Apple Almond Chicken Salad

I offered to drive. To let them order ice cream and stay far away from them. And, in my opinion, it is much nicer to take a girl out somewhere than to just hang out at her house. I think if she lived next door it would be different (except if she lived next door I would not like her at all because those puppy-abandoners/snatchers have tied the baby puppy to the porch and left her unattended in the cold since they ran off with her the other day. They are on my list.). I don’t know. Am I being crazy?

I need to know what you think.

Cranberry Apple Almond Chicken Salad

I haven’t the slightest idea why it has taken me so long to share this recipe.

I’ve made it and photographed it so so so many times, but I guess I’ve been holding out on you. This is one of those things I could make blindfolded, though there’s lots of chopping involved, so I’m not sure I’d recommend it.

Mamas weigh in! Ladies– I need your two cents.


delicious chicken salad
Yield: 8

Cranberry Apple Almond Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Cranberry Apple Almond Chicken Salad is a little bit sweet with apples and dried cranberries. It's perfect for piling high on soft bread for sandwiches, and is also great added to a bed of greens!


  • 4 cups cooked chicken, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups crisp tart apples (such as Gala, Pink Ladies, or Granny Smith), cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup celery, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup whole natural almonds
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350.
  2. Place the chicken in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl toss the apples, celery, onions, and cranberries with the lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. Scatter the almonds across an ungreased baking pan in a single layer. Place them in the pre-heated oven to toast for 5-7 minutes. Watch them closely! **See note**
  5. Take the almonds from the oven and coarsely chop them. Add them to the chicken.
  6. Add the apple blend to the chicken and almonds. Stir in the mayonnaise and/or the Greek yogurt a little at a time (until you are satisfied with the consistency) to coat.
  7. Toss in the salt and stir.
  8. Keep refrigerated until you're ready to serve.


  • Use a light colored pan when toasting any kind of nuts. They burn quickly on a dark pan. I learned that the hard way!!
  • In place of all mayo, you can use half mayo / half Greek yogurt

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 421mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 19g




Friday 8th of July 2016

Hi Heather. I am just now finding your recipes. Your taste seems to be similar to mine, so I think I will be trying a lot of them.

I guess the 12yo is now 15ish. I'm curious how the dating is going. I have 21yo twin boys, so I know the stress. I think all you can do is ask the questions you know you need to ask and do whatever you have to do to keep them supervised. Try not to worry if you know you've done all that you can do--he's a good kid!

One of my boys had rather funny experiences with a girlfriend in his freshman year of high school. Her parents had to go to these kind of mandatory work-related dinner parties, where the participants drank way more and stayed way later than they had any desire. So, they liked to bring their teenage daughter and her friend so they would have an excuse to leave early that wouldn't cause political repercussions at work. I think they liked to bring a friend so their daughter wouldn't get too bored. So, my son got to dress up and go to all these fancy dinner parties. He enjoyed it.

Anyway--thanks for the recipes! I just gave this 4 stars because I don't like chopping. The recipe was fine.

Heather Tullos

Monday 11th of July 2016

Hey Ruth!! Yes -- my son just turned 16 in May :) We've bailed on girlfiends for the time being (thank goodness) and are focusig more on activities and school. And a job! How fun for your son to go to fancy dinner parties! I need to get on that invite list lol.

SO glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for reading! -Heather

Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

Wednesday 20th of August 2014

Ohhh, this is making me flash forward 7 years and now I am totally freaking out. I'm not ready for that crap! It's like I just faced my mortality for the first time reading that. And then I started drooling over the chicken salad. Love it, definitely making that soon, although I have a stockpile of tuna that I have to use up, so I may try it as a tuna salad instead!


Thursday 21st of August 2014

Mmmmmmm. I am such a fan of tuna salad!!! And yes -- mortality is totally questioned when your boys call girls. It's crazy!

Healthy Dill Chicken Salad Wraps - Sugar Dish Me

Wednesday 13th of August 2014

[…] it because as awesome as it is, it can go reeeeaaally wrong in a pretty hot minute. Plus I love my favorite chicken salad recipe and it’s pretty hard to […]


Monday 5th of August 2013 I am going to Smith Mt Lake for the weekend with 3 other couples. This is an annual trip (5th year) with friends to their summer home. Guess what? You are coming with me.... as I am will be making your Spicy Cold Crab Dip for Fri evening appetizer and Cranberry Apple Almond Chicken Salad for deck snacking. By the way I have made your Walnut Basil Pesto 5 times (doubling the recipe each time) as it is great with crackers, carrots, celery and a great base for pizza instead of red sauce. I wish my basil plants could keep up with this recipe. Thanks for always sharing your great recipes. CK


Tuesday 6th of August 2013

That is so great!!! Such a huge compliment. Let me know how everything goes over!!! Thrilled you love that pesto recipe. Have a great time!!!

Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl

Monday 14th of January 2013

My kiddo is five and I've already decided he is never, ever, ever dating. He'll go to our state college, live at home with his dad and me, and when he graduates, he can move into the house next door. That's totally reasonable, right? And ugh, Skype?? I'll never be able to keep up with it all! There's so much technology for kids now. When I was 12, my girlfriends and I would take turns calling boys and then hanging up when they answered because we were too busy giggling and acting ridiculous.

Love the chicken salad, by the way. :-)


Wednesday 16th of January 2013

Haha you might rethink the forever option when he's a little older but all this is happening way too fast for me! The crisis was handled with a pretty good compromise, though. We met in the middle. And the little girl is COMPLETELY adorable.

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