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Chicken Dinner Masquerading as Chicken Lunch

December  4, 2014

Every week we take a peek inside the lunches of the luckiest kids in Brooklyn. Read on, suppress your jealousy, and get a little brown bag inspiration. 

People eat a lot of chicken at home, and yet I almost never give you chicken-related lunch ideas, I'm sorry: I've been so preoccupied with ham and slider buns and quinoa, I was neglecting your needs -- specifically what to do with leftover chicken. It has “kids’ lunch” written all over it. 

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To make up for this, I've come up with a chicken lunch. Well, actually, it's more like a chicken dinner in the guise of chicken salad. I started by pulling roasted chicken off the bones, cutting it into cubes where needed, but mostly just separating it into small slivers with my hands. Into a bowl the chicken went with a big dollop of green sauce, cubed Hakurei turnips and their sliced leaves, thinly shaved brussels sprouts, and the thinnest wisps of sautéed shiitake. I dressed the salad with Meyer lemon juice and olive oil -- and felt pretty good about my little creation. I should have learned by now that when I have this feeling of triumph about feeding my kids, it never ends well. 

The next day, I packed the salad as the main course, and this delicious walnut cake for dessert. That evening I found one of the salads, still mostly uneaten, in the fridge. What was wrong with the salad? "It had a mushroom in it!" my daughter said, speaking for her constituency. I'm still undecided whether I should feel frustrated about them rejecting mushrooms or impressed that they could detect such a tiny amount. If you have mushroom bloodhounds in your house, you can leave the mushrooms out of the salad; it will still be good!

Looking more inspiration? Click here to see some of the twins' past lunches.

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.