an argument for deconstructed dinners: chef salad with buttermilk ranch dressing

So far the deconstructed dinners have been working well in our home. We don’t do this every night mind you.  There is something attractive about  bright, fresh ingredients displayed on a big plater that makes me want to dive in and eat healthy.  Last week I shared our deconstructed Taco Salad with Paleo Catalina Dressing and this week I went with a classic Chef Salad, known for smoked meats like ham and turkey along with swiss cheese, but I went with colby-jack since that is what my Team likes.  The Chef Salad also showcases tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs which to me are a perfect protein and salad topper.

Here is why I like Deconstructed Meals:
1. Ingredients can be made and stored ahead of time. I find pockets of time in my day to do the prep work.
2.  Each person in the family can choose what they like and avoid what they don’t. A great way to feed paleo and nonpaleo Team members.
3.  As you can see, many of the ingredients are purchased with the only homemade item being the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. This makes dinner prep go very quickly on busy nights.
4. The ingredients are attractively displayed on a plate or platter which does encourage my family to try new things. “Take a little of everything,” we tell them.
5. Clean up is easy in that each ingredient gets stored in it’s own jar or container for easy packing the next day for lunches on the go. Many nights I make the gang pack their lunches right after dinner. They are used to hearing “OK, everyone grab a jar and make your lunches.”
6. A refrigerator of leftover ingredients, stored in glass jars, are easy to see and find and can be used in omelets, quesadillas, more salads, sandwiches, panini, soups,  pasta dished, or CORN- clean out refrigerator night for dinner when I am too tired to cook.
7. Consider prepping more than usual so that you do have plenty of leftovers to use throughout the week.

photo-38Chef Salad can take any dressing of choice, even a simple drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil does the trick, but I went with this tangy ranch. I think the history of this salad has even suggested Thousand Island. Maybe I’ll try that next?

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Tangy creamy Ranch Dressing for all your summer salads.
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried dill weed
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dried onion flakes
  • ¼ t. ground black pepper
  • Pinch or 2 of more salt if needed
  1. In a medium bowl mix all ingredients well. Store in refrigerator for up to one week. Makes 1¾ cups dressing.

Do you deconstruct some of your meals for the same reasons mentioned above?

Speaking of deconstruction, look at these cute “bar” set ups for entertaining, like a pasta bar, popcorn bar, or pizza bar. You may even recognize one of them! Wink, wink.

One Comment

  1. Posted May 30, 2014 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    Your salad looks very good Robin Sue. I don’t believe we have made a deconstructed meal.

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