Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bring on Summer

Summer is my absolute most favorite time of the year.  I've made it no secret that I don't like winter.  There is so much more fun to be had for me in the summer.  Time in the pool, going to the lake, hiking in the mountains when we go to Colorado, playing foosball in the garage (yes, we have a foosball table, great fun).  It's time to put away the socks and get out the flip-flops.  My family is a flip-flop-wearing family. You should see the four of us, flip-flopping away wherever we go.

Another thing I like about summer is we eat lighter.  Sure, I love the filling comfort food that comes with winter, but I love fresh veggies and salads.  Even my son likes salad.  I didn't know until I made this one that he actually likes avacados. The kid won't drink a Coke to save his life, but he'll eat pretty much any vegetable.  In Texas, a lot of people call all sodas "Coke" instead of "soda" or "pop."  People say, "do you want a Coke?" When they answer yes, the next question is, "what kind?"

Anywho, this is my version of a Cobb salad, which usually has chicken, eggs, blue cheese, tomatoes and bacon.  But, since I can get that version any day at the restaurant I work at, I decided I wanted something different, something with a little kick.  A Southwestern Cobb Salad.  And I do believe this is the best salad that I've ever made, maybe ever eaten. The chicken is marinated in a chipotle pepper marinade.  The fresh corn is roasted, bacon crispy, and the tortilla chips seasoned with chipotle and Ranch.  All on a bed of fresh red leaf lettuce, it made my heart sing.  Top it with whatever dressing you like.  I used my Jalapeno Ranch Dressing which is pretty darn tasty and wildly popular.  This version is for four people, so adjust the measurements to fit your family.

Are you ready for summer?

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 T olive oil
1 T cumin
1 T garlic powder
1 T chili powder
1 packet McCormick Chipotle Pepper marinade (or 1-2 T chipotle powder)
2 ears of fresh corn, husks on, silk removed, soaked in water for about 20 minutes
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 avacados, diced
One 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
6 corn tortillas, cut into little squares
1 packet Ranch dip mix
1 T chipotle powder (this is a lot, so use less if you're spicy challenged)
One recipe Jalapeno Ranch Sauce (to follow) or your favorite dressing
Shredded cheddar cheese (as much or as little as you like)
Green onions, chopped, for garnish
Bacon grease or vegetable oil

For the chicken, mix the olive oil, cumin, garlic, and chili powder together in a zipper bag.  Add the chicken and enough water to cover the chicken.  Seal the bag, shake it around, and marinate at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Leave the husks on the corn and roast in the oven on a sheet pan for about 15-20 minutes or until soft.  Using a knife, cut down the sides of the corn to remove the kernels.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350.  Put the chicken on a sheet pan and cook about 12-14 minutes per side until done. Let it rest and then cut into bite-size pieces.

For the tortilla chips, mix the packet of Ranch dip mix and the chipotle powder together.  Heat up the bacon grease or vegetable oil.  Fry the tortilla squares until crispy.  Drain on a paper towel.  Immediately after draining them, sprinkle on the Ranch and chipotle mixture.  You may or may not have some of the Ranch mixture left over, depending on how much you use.

To assemble the salad, put the chicken, black beans, tomatoes, avacados, corn, bacon, and tortilla chips in rows over the lettuce.  Garnish with the cheese and green onions and top with dressing.

1 1/2 C mayo
1/2 C buttermilk
1 C sour cream
1 packet Ranch dip mix
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1-3 T diced jalapeno slices (from a jar)
1 teaspoon lime juice

Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender or food processor.


  1.! This looks amazing! I will be making this ASAP!