Summer has officially arrived in Utah. The nights are comfortable, and the days are 70 degrees or higher. Additionally the highways and freeways are filled with travelers heading to their summer destination. As many people know, I love Summer. Next to Spring, it is my favorite season. There is just something about knowing I can go outside without a coat or jacket that I love. Okay, I really enjoy all the seasons, but summer has always been special to me.
I have to admit though there are a few things about the season I do not enjoy; okay really just one thing. All food starts to seem heavy. Am I alone in this? Light soups are rarely eaten in the summer because of the heat, and hearty chili’s are not welcomed; at least not in my gut. Really, I get to a point where nothing sounds good. Thankfully, I am not there yet as summer is just beginning. One thing we always turn to in our house for a perfect summer dinner, and lunch, is Chef Salad.
Chef Salad is so easy to make; in fact it is almost embarrassing that I am sharing such a simple recipe. Of course, the first time I made it the recipe seemed more difficult to prep. I blame boiling the eggs. I know am I not the only one that struggled to cook the perfect hard-boiled egg. Thankfully blog posts from places such as The Kitchn or The Girl Who Ate Everything helped me figure it out. ridiculous on my part, I know. Once I figured that out, and realized the importance of making these ahead of time, the rest was easy.
To begin, I boil my eggs. Typically I try to do this earlier in the day, but that does not always work out. Hard-boiled eggs just taste better when cold. There are though several instances where these are cooked right before the salad is served. Once the eggs are cooked to your preference slice them up. I cannot slice hard boiled eggs in a way that looks beautiful so mine are always chopped.
Next prep all your veggies and lettuce. We typically use Romaine or Leafy Green Lettuce. With the exception of spinach and one other salad kit, I usually buy the lettuce whole. Once upon a time, after preparing this very dish, Lynden and I woke up to discover we had food poisoning. After eliminating all other ingredients the culprit came down to the bagged lettuce I purchased. Now, we still eat bagged lettuce, but I rinse it before hand. Now of days my preference to use whole lettuce comes down to cost.
The other veggies we will add to this salad include carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, celery, broccoli, or pretty much whatever I have on hand. I will also add black olives to my salad, but this is something I definitely leave out for Lynden.
Finally, it is time to prep the other two ingredients, the cheese and ham. We always buy blocks of cheese to slice as opposed to sliced cheese in the bag. This is a taste thing, not a budget thing. The cheese just tastes fresher, but any method works. Typically, I use colby-jack cheese. Poor Lynden, I do not think I have ever purchased any other kind of cheese. Next, I prep the ham or in most cases open up the pre-diced ham packaged. Ham straight from the bone, such as a delicious Honey Baked Ham, tastes much better, but we very rarely eat ham this way. In fact, this only eaten at major holidays in both of our families. Still though, if you have leftover ham I would suggest using it instead of the diced ham from a package.
Now, assemble your salad. Sometimes I am fancy and beautifully line the vegetables, ham, and cheese on top of my lettuce. This particular night however the salad was served buffet style, allowing everyone to choose their own ingredients. Once your selected ingredients are chosen top with dressing of your choice and croutons. Typically we serve ranch but that is because Lynden and his family are a ranch or nothing else family. I also enjoy blue cheese or a delicious vignette with this salad for a lighter taste. The final step, enjoy your lighter meal.
- 2 Cups Chopped Lettuce
- 2 Cups Assorted Vegetables (Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Cucumbers, etc)
- 4 Hard Boiled Eggs
- 1/2 Cup shredded Cheese
- 1 Cup Diced Ham
- 1/2 Cup Salad Dressing (Ranch, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, Ect)
- Croutons (Optional)
- Prepare vegetables
- Dice Ham
- Shred Cheese
- Slice Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Place vegetables, cheese, ham, and eggs on-top of bed of lettuce. Cover with salad dressing of your choice and add croutons.