While complaining about what a suckish day last Friday was at our house, I neglected to throw in the bright spot. Dealing with fire drills all day both my other half and I were “put a fork in me I’m done” with the week. Not having the combined energy to begin putting a meal together at the end of the long day, Rick suggested we go out. My shoes were on before he’d finished the thought. As lovely as our town is, restaurants are certainly not its long suit. Three Mexican restaurants, two Chinese, one Thai, several coffee shops and the full roll call of fast food establishments. There are two casinos in the area . One five minutes from the house, the other about twelve. At first it was a novelty having casinos so close by, but as time passed we rarely gave them a second glance unless visiting family or friends happened to have some money they didn’t have any use for and asked to be taken (this both literally and figuratively). Aside from gambling, obviously the biggest draw, both casinos have surprisingly good restaurants with the one the furthest distance offering a very nice buffet on the weekends featuring crab and prime rib as well as a recently constructed brewery. I’m not necessarily a big fan of buffets as a rule. They remind me of a barnyard scene. It’s hard to resist the urge to “oink” while standing in line with your third clean plate waiting to pile on an assortment of tummy enhancing foods ranging from gobs of mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken fried steak, and mac n cheese to coconut cream pie and four layer chocolate cake to wash down all those high carb salads you’d piled on the first two plates. We arrived early. Lines on weekend nights can wrap halfway around the casino. We strapped on the old feed bucket and bellied up to the trough enough times to make Miss Piggy herself squeal with pleasure. Personally, I felt I needed to run a triathlon to relieve myself of my recent caloric intake, but instead we opted to drop a little change in the machines on our way out. Each of us drew an allotted amount from the pool. Rick is more of a poker type, and I prefer the themed slots, so a meeting time was agreed upon and we disappeared in the crowds going opposite directions.
The first machine I sat down at was a penny slot. High roller here. The theme was fishing. Alternatively taking my money then giving it back, it quickly became obvious I wasn’t going to be moving to that Malibu beach house I’ve had my eye on if I continued feeding these fishies so I hit the cash out button. Red lights immediately went off and the machine began to make a beeping noise, which as time passed grew increasingly louder. The beeping went virtually unnoticed in the general Friday night din, but no ticket emerged and no one came to fix the machine. After about twenty minutes I flagged a cocktail waitress asking if she’d find someone to help. Shortly an employee came and apologizing for the delay retrieved my ticket. This once again goes toward confirming my sneaking suspicion with regard to my energy and machinery. Over the years I’ve still got the gift. I can walk by a printer, fax, washing machine, or an innocent ATM and something is going to go haywire precisely at the time of my passing. It’s weird. I digress. Anyhow, I found an empty seat in front of a nickel machine. The theme was banks or some such. I sat down, deposited my ticket and began haphazardly to push buttons. Before long a combination on the screen caused an animated screen to appear with what looked to be a lizard wearing a cowboy hat jumping up and down next to bank deposit boxes. Not knowing what was required of me at that juncture, I waited. Nothing. Hmmmm. Apparently it expected something of me. The woman playing next to me, leaned in and in a husky cigarette and bourbon voice said, “Honey, you have to pick four numbers and push some of those boxes or you’re going to be sitting here tomorrow morning when they start serving breakfast”. Oh. I chose numbers and pushed four boxes as instructed. Cycling with each number I’d picked, it just kept on, and on, and on. Every once in a while the lizard would jump up and down, fire the guns in his holsters, and holler, “wow”, or “amazing job”. Wow. Once finished cycling, the lizard gone, the screen informed me I had amassed 7,050 credits. Remembering this was a nickel machine I cashed out to see the total. The ticket read $477.00. Now these ill-gotten gains are certainly not going to propel me onto the face of Time under the title “World’s Richest Women”, but it beat the pants off the rest of the day. It will pay to fix my lap top sitting in the shop. Yea.
This chicken salad was a quick fix for company yesterday and disappeared like I’d waved a wand over it. Flavorful and crunchy, it was perfect tucked inside a buttery croissant.
Crunchy Chicken Salad Sandwiches
2 large chicken breasts
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 Kosher dill pickle spear, chopped fine
1 egg, hard boiled and chopped
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. dried mustard
1 1/2 tsp. Italian dressing
1/2 cup Mayonnaise (more or less to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Lettuce, tomato, avocado, red onion, pickles for garnish
Place chicken breasts in large saucepan. Bring to boil in salted water over med-high heat. Reduce heat and continue cooking on low boil for 35-40 mins. or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove with slotted spoon and allow to cool.
Cube chicken and place in large mixing bowl with chopped vegetables and hard boiled egg. In small bowl mix together celery salt, garlic salt, dried mustard, Italian dressing, and mayonnaise. Add to cooked chicken mixture and mix until well blended add mayonnaise as desired. Season with salt and pepper and desired. Serve on your favorite rolls or croissants. Serves 4-6