You are CHOPPED!
Do you watch this show?
I go through phases with food tv, recently I am not really into the shows that come on when I seem to have time to watch television or have it on in the background. I like competition shows and there are quite a few out there. I was a big Top Chef fan at first, but sadly my DVR still holds the last seasons episode as I was not that into it. In fact I completely stopped following it when I was more into other shows and have no idea who the last Top Chef was. I personally think I was turned off because it became more about the people and the drama (ie. Josie – I was never a fan the first time, so a second time was too much). I liked it when it really spotlighted more the food being prepared and the different challenges. Chopped is a show that my daughter got into a couple of years ago and I still find it entertaining to watch. I especially like that each episode is its own so I can randomly watch it when I want and not be lost or behind in a series.
Enough about my random television habits, the reason I am on this Chopped tangent is I finally made a chopped salad and we loved it. I love a good entree salad. In fact I could eat meals like this multiple times a week though to be fair to the other family members I make other things. I have always been a fan of a good salad. There are only a handful of restaurants that in my opinion have always had a good entree salad. They are definitely more widespread these days, but fifteen years ago when we were younger and eating out more it was not so common.
I have never really been a huge fan of chopped salads. That is not to say I avoided them. I just have always gravitated toward certain types of salads. I used to order salads with chicken tenders just as a change when eating out. They seem to always have the good stuff – bacon, avocado, and cheese on them. I am a huge mexican fan so any salad with a mexican flair catches my eye. For years I have been a fan of a good caesar salad, especially at a restaurant because up until this year I had never attempted to make one at home. As a dietitian I have known even before the dark green veggies became fashionable that these were better for you, so spinach based or mixed green salads have always had a place in my diet. When I was living on my own or eating alone since Mr. Mixture used to work a lot of evenings, I would just make a big salad using whatever protein we had in the house – leftover meat from another dinner, beans, cheese, or a combination of them all. Over the years I have come up with a lot of great combinations and learned many different flavor profiles and what dressings and things work well together.
Last summer there was a pin that kept showing up in my pinterest home for a Summer Chopped Salad. It looked good and did a nice job of incorporating fresh vegetables and fruit. I tried it as my first chopped attempt, but for our family it just did not have enough flavor or wow. I never removed the pin from my salad board, so I decided to give it another try but find a dressing that would work better for our taste. Well I had the ingredients to make the pictured salad, but I got side tracked after making a dressing and ended up with something a little different… a chopped salad that was a hit. Phew this dinner did not get the chopping block. It has been added to my recipe book.
Chopped, a salad that deserves to stay on the Chopping Block
Romaine Lettuce, 1-2 heads
Grilled Corn, 1 ear cut off the cob
Cucumber, 1 kirby
Red Pepper, 1/2
Tomato, 1 medium ( I prefer heirloom for the flavor when available)
Bacon, 2 slices
Salami, 6 slices
Poached Chicken, 1 breast
All ingredients should be chopped to a similar size, about 1/2″ to 1 inch pieces work best depending on the ingredient. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss the salad, ensuring even coating and serve.
Chopped Salad Dressing (* adapted from a recipe for California Pizza Kitchen Chopped Salad Dressing)
1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh shallots, minced
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Italian Herb Mixture (This particular mixture was a gift and is from a restaurant in Alabama) The mixture is basil, parsley, rosemary, garlic, oregano, pepper, salt)
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/3 cups Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
Combine all ingredients in a glass container and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Shake well and pour over salad. This recipe makes enough for two family size chopped salads. I always make extra dressing when I make salads so I can use it throughout the next week on small lunch salads or dinner salads.
This is a great salad. A mixture of a lot of foods. You could easily make some changes to this salad and use up some leftovers that may not be enough for an serving or meal . I can see putting grilled zucchini or roasted peppers in the salad, just as easily as leftover boiled corn or grilled chicken could be tossed in. In fact this could just as easily be made similar to our dinner a couple of weeks ago which really was a salad from leftovers and it was fabulous.
Want a different type of salad. Try one of these.