Friday, June 28, 2013

how to make the best salad

This May and June have been far too busy for my liking, so I certainly can't say that I'm sad to see them go.  (Not to mention that next week is the Fourth of July:  fireworks!  grill outs!  red, white, and blue desserts!)

While I'm not sad to be moving on and into July, I'm not about to move on past this salad; it has been part of my weekly routine for the past few weeks, and it is so good.

I've made it a little different every time, but I keep the "essentials" the same every time.  This is another "guideline" versus a real recipe, but it's the best--not to mention the easiest--dinner.  And even with that small amount of "bad-for-you" bacon, you're still getting plenty of protein and veggies!

  • thick cut bacon
    Oscar Meyer Thick Cut bacon is my personal favorite.
  • salad greens
    I've been using a bag of the Dole Leafy Romaine mix and dividing it between two salads.
  • chopped avocado
    Estimate that you will use about one avocado per two salads.
  • chopped tomato
    Any type of tomato will do here.  You probably need one tomato for every two salads, depending on the size.
  • grated cheeseI've used Parmesan, mozzarella, and queso fresco.
  • ranch dressing
    I use Hidden Valley.
  • Sriracha
  • hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
  • chicken thighs (instructions below)
  • grilled corn, cut from the cob (instructions below)
  • mini quesadilla bites (instructions below)

to prep your bacon:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Layer desired amount of bacon onto the baking sheet (for two salads, I usually make about a half pound of bacon).  Place tray in oven and then turn oven on to 375 degrees.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the bacon looks crispy.  Drain bacon onto a plate lined with paper towels.  Crumble when the bacon has cooled enough.

to cook your chicken thighs:
Cut any fat off the chicken thighs.  Season both sides of all thighs generously with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium.  Add a generous amount of olive oil.  Cook chicken until no longer pink on the inside, flipping regularly.

to make grilled corn:
You'll need approximately one to two ears of corn per two salads.  Start by removing the husks and silk from each ear of corn.  Lightly oil each ear with a little canola oil.  Grill over medium to high heat, turning every few minutes, until you get a light char on parts of each ear.  Remove from the grill, let cool, and cut kernels off the cob.

to make the mini quesadilla bites:
In between two small tortillas, spread a generous amount of cheese (Colby Jack works well).  Heat a small amount of butter in a skillet and fry up your quesadilla, flipping at least once.  When the outside is a little crispy and the cheese on the inside is all melty, remove from skillet.  When cool enough, slice into wedges and top salad.

to make your dressing:
In a small bowl, add a generous amount of ranch dressing (probably a little more than 3 tablespoons per two salads).  Squirt in a generous amount of Sriracha and stir to combine.  Taste and continue to add Sriracha until your dressing reaches the perfect Sriracha-Ranch balance.

to assemble your salad:
Divide the bag of Dole salad mix between two plates.  Layer each salad generously with the avocado, crumbled bacon, cheese, tomato, and any other fixings.  Drizzle the Sriracha-Ranch dressing over each salad and serve.

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