I was thinking about my dear friend Eileen and her troubles finding easy and quick dinners as a working mom. She has a toddler who is exploring foods and can eat a lot of finger foods. Her husband doesn’t like soup (that’s unheard of!) so I thought I would develop a salad that was hearty and filling enough to stand on its own, with great ingredients and a little bit of indulgence in the dressing. The salad can be adapted to what you have on hand, feel free to add in tomatoes, cucumbers and bacon; the chicken could be changed to turkey. The possibilities are endless. And the fact that everything is chopped makes this perfect for a toddler.
If you plan ahead and make or buy pre-cooked chicken and hard boiled eggs, this salad comes together in less than 20 minutes, including making the dressing. If you started everything at the same time and served the chicken warm, I think it would take closer to 45. I would recommend poaching or grilling a bunch of chicken in advance and freezing it in single breast portions and thawing as needed.
Chicken Chef Salad
Serves 2 (and a toddler or a left over lunch)
1 Recipe Easy Blue Cheese Dressing
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
1 chicken breast, grilled or poached, sliced
3 cups lettuce, washed and torn
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cut in to small cubes
1/2-2/3 large red bell pepper halved, cleaned and sliced
2/3- 1 cup shredded carrots
freshly ground black pepper
- Put lettuce leaves in a bowl and toss with dressing until coated. This will use about half of the dressing.
- Arrange remaining ingredients in a pleasing manner on top of the lettuce. The following is the method I use. Do what ever works for you.
- Place the cheese in a stripe down the center of the bowl, making a bed slightly larger than the spread out egg will be.
- Place sliced chicken on either side of the cheese
- Place shredded carrots on either side of the chicken.
- Place red pepper slices/half rings around the outside of the bowl.
- Place overlapping slices of egg on top of the cheese.
- Pour remaining dressing on top of chicken or serve on the side.
- Grind some black pepper over the top of the salad, I like to put it on the eggs.
- If you like a lot of dressing for dipping, you may want to double the recipe.