I could eat it every day, and I usually do. With that in mind, it is no wonder that at least once per week throughout the warmer months, it is the main course on my weekly menu. Now, as we all know, there are very few self respecting men who would admit to enjoying a good salad for dinner, so I have learned to become a creative salad chef incorporating their favorite meals into my salads. Below are three of our favorites, one that is a classic and two that are "made up in the mind of Ma," which can be a rather spooky place, but in this circumstance is quite rational and most tasty.
*Classic Chicken Caesar Salad (My way)
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (3 to 4)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided in half
- Olive Oil
- 4 heads of Romaine lettuce, washed well and torn into bite size pieces
- Chopped green onion
- Caesar dressing (I like Marie's brand)
In a large bowl combine the lettuce, chopped green onion, 1/2 cup Parmesan and set aside.
Lay the chicken breasts on a cutting board and slice each diagonally into 4 or 5 large strips.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. Beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water on a second plate. Combine the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan on a third plate. Dredge the chicken breasts on both sides in the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and roll in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly to coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook the chicken strips on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes on each side, until just cooked through. Don't crowd the pan. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.
Add the Caesar Dressing to the bowl and toss until coated well. I serve the chicken on a platter by itself so that my family can choose the amount of chicken they want in their salad, but you can also serve it on top of the salad, or tossed in.
*My Favorite Taco Salad
- 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 pound sharp Cheddar, shredded
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, washed, drained and shredded
- 1 pound lean ground beef, browned, crumbled and drained
- 1 cup Kraft Catalina salad dressing* mixed with 1 cup taco sauce
- 1 (7-ounce) bag Nacho Doritos, set aside a large handful of whole chips for on top and crush the rest
- 2 avocados, sliced
Combine the tomatoes, cheese, onion, lettuce, and ground beef in a large bowl. Add the salad dressing and mix well. Just before serving, add the taco chips and avocado, tossing to combine with other ingredients.
Top with the whole tortilla chips and serve with sour cream on the side.
*Ma's Turkey Club Salad
- 1 lb Smoked Turkey Breast, cubed
- 1 lb Swiss Cheese, cubed
- Chopped green onion
- 4 heads Romaine lettuce
- Creamy Ranch dressing (I like Marie's brand)
- 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Home made croutons (Recipe below)
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss.
*My Homemade Croutons:
- 1 loaf potato or egg bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 pkg dry Italian dressing
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Place the oil, butter, dressing, and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl, and mix well. Add the bread and coat well. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and spread to form a single layer. Bake for approx. 30 minutes, until the edges are browned and the croutons are no longer moist, but not hard.
I hope you try and enjoy these simple salads.