Editor’s Note: Our friend Rosanna filled in for Gloria this week who is in the midst of moving. I can’t wait to hear about her move nextweek!
Summer has hit eastern Kansas with a vengeance, making our daily culinary goal simply avoiding heating up our kitchens with the oven.This is helped by the fact that just this week, the ovens in both our residence and the employee kitchen have quit working. That onlyleaves us with two ovens! I know it doesn’t sound like we have any problems at all, but when you’re fixing as many meals for as manypeople as we do, every oven counts! And who likes carrying hot baking pans across the driveway and up the staircase? Thankfully, ourgrill is working, and the garden is producing, so we’re eating well and eating cool.
When we first have access to spring greens after the winter, our family has entire meals of just toss salad. After a month, our appetitesfor greens are sated, so salad is no longer the star of the mealtime, but a vehicle for delivering cool meals. We had chicken mozzarellasalad at least two times last week because it’s so fast and the ranch dressing really has an illusion of cooling! It doesn’t take any time atall to grill the chicken while you’re chopping the lettuce, and speedy suppers are important when we don’t get done with farming until8:30 p.m.! This salad has been popular in our community for several years. I’ve eaten it everywhere from California to Ohio.
At our annual church conference, we have three options for our lunch in between church services: concession stand, traditional churchmeal or a picnic lunch. I always choose the latter two options because they are free! Picnicking in the grass parking lot is the GermanBaptist’s version of tailgating, although there are no grills. Instead, we serve quick sandwiches or all-in-one salads like this. I’ve eatenchicken mozzarella salad multiple times off of a paper plate while sitting in the grass in my Sunday clothes. Not only is this salad Sunday-fare, it’s served at much more casual functions, as well.
We recently served this on a canoe trip for 50 young people, because we only needed one ice chest to hold the lettuce and cheese. Therest was canned. The easiest way to mix that large of a salad is to throw the ingredients in a large trash bag, and get a couple of youngboys to toss it around! The closest good canoeing streams are in Missouri; our creeks in Kansas are too shallow and muddy for goodcanoeing most times. When a canoe float happens for the young people, the parents who are hosting the activity are always the oneswho carry the lunch supplies. Primarily because dumping the lunch canoe is strictly forbidden!
CHICKEN MOZZARELLA SALAD
1 head lettuce, shredded, or the equivalent in spinach or other greens
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 6-ounce cans black olives, whole
1 pound chicken breast (or thighs) cooked, chopped (or 10 ounces canned chicken)
1/2 bag ranch-flavored tortilla chips, crushed
16 ounces ranch salad dressing
Cook the chicken until tender. Cool to room temperature. Put chicken into a big bowl and then add greens, cheese, olives, chips anddressing. Toss well.