Kitka, one of our two cats, is determined to open the door to the room where we keep her food.
She's hanging on the doorknob in this shot. Can't believe I timed it and got the picture! I swear, if she had opposable thumbs we would be in trouble. Her sister, Violet, is much more sedate than this little critter.
She's constantly trying to get in there and I can just about hear her calling - Mom, I'm hungry!!!
When your family is hungry, it's always great to have a go-to. I particularly like to go out, but when that's not possible, I love trying to recreate favorite dishes at home.
I like salad as a meal. So does my husband. We both tend to order Cobb Salads, or Garbage Salads, or Capaccio, or a restaurant's specialty salad, etc. when we go out. Carpaccio... mmm... but that's a post for another day.
There's a standout salad that sits head and shoulders above all we've tried. It's the Barbecue Ranch Chopped Chicken Salad from our favorite restaurant, Cooper's Hawk. I have no doubt that one of the reasons this restaurant is our favorite is because of that fresh and delicious salad. And also because of its amazing (truly, truly amazing) lobster bisque. But I digress with yet another topic for another day!
The Barbecue Ranch Chopped Chicken Salad we order is so good that we've tried to reproduce it at home. We haven't succeeded completely, but every single attempt has been worth the effort!
Last week my husband said, "You should blog about this!"
So here I am.
The *real* Cooper's Hawk salad has black beans, corn, onion strings, and cucumber in addition to what I'm about to describe below. I don't particularly care for cukes in my salad, so I left them out. And I didn't have any black beans or corn.
But the salad we created was wonderful! No question about it. We tried adding French's fried onions to take the place of the onion strings, but -- eh -- going forward I wouldn't bother. The crispy fried onions competed with the actual salad. When Cooper's Hawk puts theirs together, their onion strings are fresh, soft, and warm.
Julie's Easy Barbecue Ranch Chopped Chicken Salad
1 bag Fresh Express American blend, contents chopped into small pieces
1 cup of chopped cilantro
1 or 2 (we used 2) avocados, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup Ranch Dressing (I use homemade Hidden Valley Ranch but you could also use Shel's)
3 Tbsp (give or take) your favorite BBQ sauce
Chopped chicken (I used leftovers)
1/2 cup (or more) shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)
At the restaurant, the salad is a beautiful thing. At home -- well, it tastes good. We like to put all the ingredients (except for the onions) in a Tupperware bowl with a lid and then shake it up so that everything gets evenly coated with Ranch and BBQ sauce. You may want to adjust those quantities up or down as your tastes dictate.
The version pictured here is one without chicken (for our veggie daughter). Everyone else had finished eating before we remembered to take a picture! LOL
The cilantro is what makes this dish, IMHO. I hope you try it. I bet you'll love it!!
Stay tuned. I'll be announcing the winner of the Quick Reader Contest later today - both here and on my personal blog! Thanks for all your great entries. Love hearing which characters you like (or hate) best!
Mmm... I have a taste for some of that salad right now. And since I have all the ingredients here at home... you know what I'll be doing!