Regardless of whether or not you buy local produce at your Farmer's Market, pick up all your veggies at the conventional grocery store, or find a CSA that meets your needs, we all end up with a few veggies that are about to go to waste, right? I'm sure I'm not the only one that ends up with a spare celery stick here or a quarter bag of carrots there and you wonder "what the hell am I going to make of this?"
When I had a Filipino roommate after college, I always loved when his mom would make fried rice. She'd chop up all the leftover meats and veggies in the fridge and toss them together with the leftover sticky rice in the rice cooker (and there was always left-over rice in the rice cooker). This way of transforming leftovers into something new and delicious was never lost on me.
Since I've fallen in love with an Indian man, I don't make much fried rice these days. It's not because he doesn't like fried rice. It's rather that making fried rice from basmati rice is not.the.same. as with Asian sticky rice. Not the same at all. Sometimes, my leftover veggies get thrown in together to make a Veggie Curry. But then last week I was inspired when I suddenly had one lonely chicken breast, an assortment of veggies, two heads of lettuce, and a hot day that made cooking seem like a buzz kill. And that's where I came up with Make Your Own Cobb Salad.
Make Your Own Cobb Salad
Literally, pull out whatever you have in your fridge and chop it up.
- 2 heads of lettuce (I had a half of a head of romaine and two very small heads of red leaf)
- 1 chicken breast, cut into 1 inch chunks.
- 2 roasted beets, chopped
- 1/4 bag of baby carrots, chopped
- 1 avocado, diced
- 4 hard boiled eggs, diced (I only left 2 yolks to reduce the fat and cholesterol)
- 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese
- Ranch dressing*
*note: for Ranch dressing, I make my own. And by make my own, I mean that I buy the Hidden Valley packets and mix it with my own milk and mayonnaise. It tastes a gazillion times better than the bottled Ranch. To make it taste even better, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the milk and let sit for 5 minutes before adding the other ingredients. It will turn the milk into buttermilk, but it has a better consistency and flavor than the real stuff. Try it and let me know what you think.
Using a medium skillet on medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and discard all but 2 tsp of grease in pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Once cooked, transfer to a plate to cool. Crumble the cooled bacon.
Meanwhile, wash and dice all of your "toppings." I put them all in individual bowls to allow my family to pick and choose what they wanted. I left the salad, just washed and a dried in a big bowl. Everyone helped themselves. But if you want to make it fancy, you can easily make it look like the Cobb Salads you get at a restaurant by plating some lettuce. Then place each ingredient in separate "piles" on top of the lettuce and drizzle with Ranch dressing.
I served our Cobb Salads with a hearty loaf of crusty French bread. Yum!