When my sister Heidi and I were both pregnant with our boys in New York, I told you that we had daily cravings for chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bars. What I didn't tell you was that in between our sweet treats, we'd cleanse the palate with a cool and refreshing cornbread salad. And what I also didn't mention was that it was the middle of February. In icy upstate New York. But we didn't care about such trivial things. (Our husbands were probably wishing for stew, but were smart enough to defer.) I'm never greedier for good food then when I'm pregnant, and the dropping thermometer wasn't going to interfere with my cravings, no sir. As much as I love this salad, now, 100 percent unpregnant, I save it for the golden summer months. And that time is now! Make some before it's time for apple crisps and PTA meetings and Trapper-Keeper folders. I promise that you'll love it, pregnant or 100 percent not.
Money Saving Tips: Plan on making this delectable salad as a way to use up some leftovers. Being creative with your leftovers is a practical way to save your food money, as well as your valuable time. Almost any kind of chopped leftover chicken will work well-even barbecued chicken. And of course, in the starring role is the leftover cornbread. Cut any leftover cornbread into 1 inch cubes and store them in the freezer for making this salad. Never, ever, ever throw out any cornbread. Hoard it for salads in the summer and for stuffing in fall and soup croutons in the winter. I've made this salad with from-scratch cornbread and from cornbread mixes as well, and loved them both, but Ina Garten's cornbread recipe is particularly toothsome here.
Chicken, Cheddar and Cornbread Salad with Homemade Ranch
Estimated Cost: $8.00
Notes: This is so versatile you could almost swap anything. The essential things are the cornbread and the ranch.
8 cups salad greens (I used romaine)
2 cups cornbread cubes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped fully cooked chicken (I used plain poached again)
1 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen thawed
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion or scallions
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch (scroll down for recipe)
Layer the above ingredients in the order listed on four individual plates. Drizzle with Ranch and serve.
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