My favorite summertime "go to" recipe is also my choice for "quick feed a group" recipe:
Chameleon Crunch Salad. (I promise no chameleons will be harmed either during creation or consumption of said salad.)
I named the salad "chameleon" due to its incredible "quick change" ability from a summertime side salad to a meaty main course with the addition of a few simple ingredients.
This is the recipe that is repeatedly requested from me whether at a family reunion, work function or bridal shower. And more men request the recipe when it includes the meat.
Ingredients you will need:
3 heads bok choy or chinese cabbage
1 large bunch green onions
3 packages ramen noodles, any flavor
1 large pkg silvered almonds, 1 cup size
1 stick butter
1/2 - 3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup salad oil
1 cup white sugar (I use less)
3/4 cup vinegar (I use more)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
- Make the crunchies first. Melt butter in large skillet. While melting, crush each ramen package (in the unopened package with rolling pin) until all noodles are reduced to morsels no bigger than a dime but not to powder. Open package and discard seasoning packet; you will not be using the seasoning.
- Stir into the melted butter, adding the almonds and the white sugar. Stir to coat evenly. Brown and caramelize over medium heat, always stirring. Be watchful, the crunchies go from brown to burnt in a second.
- Remove from heat and evenly spread on a paper towel lined cookie tray to cool. They can be made a day a head of time and kept in a ziploc bag until needed.
- The dressing can also be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. I put all the ingredients in a screw top shaker jar until needed. Just remember to shake jar before pouring over greens.
- Using a large mixing bowl. Trim the root end off the bok choy, and trim off any discolored edges on the leaves. Rinse and let drain dry.
- Cut into 1/2" shreds and place in bowl.
- Cut the beards off the green onion and pull off any limp greens. Cut into 1/8" rounds and dump on top of bok choy greens.
- At this point the greens can be put in a large sealed bowl if you are taking to a picnic or eating later in the day. Do not preassemble the salad more than 1/2 hour before serving or the crunchies will no longer be…ah..crunchy.
- When ready to serve, put greens in big bowl, dump cooled crunchies on top and pour dressing over all. Toss to coat evenly. Serve.
- To make as a meal: buy a rotisserie chicken from the deli and slice breast and thigh meat into long slivers. Put in the meat and one drained large can of mandarin orange sections. Toss.
- I have also used roasted pork diced into 1/2" cubes. Leave out the sesame oil and add instead 2 Tbsp. of orange juice concentrate to the dressing. Use green seedless grapes cut in half, instead of mandarin oranges.
- For family picnics, I transport the greens in a large food safe plastic bag in a cooler along with the dressing and any meat add ins.
- I mix all together just moments before serving; using a slotted spoon so the dressing doesn't overwhelm the party goers paper plates.