By now you probably know that I’m an avid cookbook collector.
I’ve got cookbooks stashed in every nook and cranny of my house. There’s two huge bins plus one gigantic bookshelf packed full of cookbooks.
I keep buying new ones even though I have no idea what to do with them. I may have a problem.
One of my absolute favorite things to collect are little recipe booklets you find near the checkout at grocery stores. They typically fall into two categories:
- Magazine-produced recipe booklets (think Taste of Home, Food Network)
- Product-produced recipe booklets (Jennie-O turkey, Pillsbury)
Of the two, I prefer the magazine-produced booklets. They typically cover a lot of different and unique recipes and I’ve found many good dishes to make out of them.
The product-produced booklets can be wild, though. The recipes always center on certain products (or companies) and some of them can be, well, out there.
An old recipe booklet I picked up recently hails from 1989. It’s a Hidden Valley booklet, so every recipe inside centers around Hidden Valley dressings—mainly, ranch. I like to think I’m a ranch connoisseur but these recipes are bonkers. An orange berry jello salad with ranch dressing? No thank you.
I knew I wanted to make something from the booklet so I chose a pretty mild, basic salad recipe. A chicken strip salad with ranch dressing was just right for this experiment. It did go a little off the deep end by adding artichoke hearts and black olives to the mix, but it actually turned out to be a delicious little salad.
I like making a lower-calorie ranch dressing with Greek yogurt and water, so I’ve included that recipe here. But by all means, use your favorite ranch dressing if you want the full-fat, full-flavored version.
Enjoy this retro throwback!
Colossal Chicken Salad
A hearty salad with chicken, ranch, olives and artichoke hearts.
- 4-6 cooked chicken strips
- 1 can Colossal black olives, drained
- 1 can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 4 cups baby spinach
For the low-calorie Ranch dressing:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
- 2 TBS. water + more for desired thickness
- Make the low-cal ranch dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, ranch dressing and water. Add more water until you reach desired thickness.
- Make the salad: start with a bed of spinach. Toss with olives and artichoke hearts. Top with chicken strips. Drizzle ranch dressing on top and serve topped with Parmesan cheese.