Cooking with Addie: Chicken Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch



  Watch for upcoming kids’ recipes!

Earlier in the spring, my Facebook friend, cooking student, and More Time supporter/follower Emily Nolan and I talked a little about a summertime cooking class for her daughter Addie (below), who’s a girl very interested in food, nutrition, caring hospitality, and the cooking process itself.


In fact, Addie had attended one of my Healthy Living Cooking Classes at First Congregational Church, Colorado Springs, last year–something I hadn’t remembered!  (By the way:  Emily’s a an Online Health and Fitness Coach should you need one– pic below.)

Before we could set up a class or two for Addie, summer schedules intervened and Emily was on her way to Minnesota for the summer with both Addie and her younger sister. Sigh. What to do?  I began to put together a short cookbook I thought I might email — and I probably still will do that — but, in the meantime, thought I’d get a fun, quick salad up on the blog that might fill the bill for a warm summer’s eve in the northern mid-west.

ADDIE:  So this one’s for YOU and keep watching! There’ll be a few more recipes over the coming weeks.  Let me know, Addie, if you make this fast meal and how it turned out.   (Anyone else who’d like to cook, please join in, too! ) Tell me what changes you made and why.  It’s fine to say you don’t like a certain ingredient and skipped it or added something else in its place.  That makes it your recipe! For instance, you might add chopped olives or pepperoncini. Or you could take out the zucchini and add celery or cucumber? Skip tomatoes and throw in thinly sliced radishes? Dream on…


After you’ve cooked, you can leave a comment on the bottom of the blog or on my Facebook page, and of course you’re welcome to add a food photo on fb.  I know there’s an interesting, huge and luscious, diverse selection of produce in Minnesota from which to choose because I’ve lived there!  This was my house in Saint Paul, Minnesota and below that is a favorite photo from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market:


NOTE TO ALL KID COOKS!  Make sure you ask your mom OR the adult in-charge before beginning–and also for any help you might need.

At the bottom of the recipe on the blog–scroll down– you’ll see where you can print a copy of the recipe itself for your very own personal cookbook.  Look for the {printable recipe} line and click there to print. There are also a few links for fun background instruction like knife skills videos and kids’ cooking blogs.

MAKE YOUR OWN COOKBOOK:  If you can, get yourself a 3-ring binder to keep your   printed recipes in–or keep the recipes in a folder until you get home.  On the front, your binder might say ADDIE’S COOKBOOK and, naturally, you can decorate it just as you like.  I can’t wait to hear what you’ve made.

Any other cooking kids out there? Join in and stay in touch in the comments.  Cook on–of course after checking with an adult in your house.

Try this!



Makes two generous servings, but can be doubled easily.  Back to math class: multiply everything by 2!!

Don’t like blue cheese?  Leave it out or use grated Parmesan or even Cheddar instead.  Not into ranch? Try a vinaigrette of your choice or mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil along with a pinch of salt and pepper for an easy alternative. Tired of sweet peppers?  Substitute chopped celery, jicama, or fennel, or ______________.-


  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach or other greens
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 4-6 ounce chicken breast, cooked, boned and skinned, cut into 1/2-inch – 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 small zucchini, trimmed and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 small yellow (summer) squash, trimmed and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow or red sweet pepper, cored, seeds and membranes removed, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella (about 1/3 cup), diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced (or 1/4 – 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade  (stacked, rolled, sliced in very thin ribbons)  Can substitute two teaspoons dried basil.   


MAKE THE BLUE CHEESE RANCH DRESSING: Pour the ranch dressing into a measuring cup or small bowl and add the blue cheese.  Using a fork, mash the cheese into the dressing really well and stir it all together.  Set the cup of dressing to the side while you make the salad.

GET THE SALAD BOWLS READY: Add some spinach to each salad bowl  or plate and spread it evenly around the bottom of the bowls. Sprinkle the spinach with just a tiny pinch each of salt and pepper. A pinch is about how much you can pick up with the tips of your thumb and first two fingers–not too much.

MIX UP THE SALAD:  To a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients except the Blue Cheese Ranch dressing and the basil.  Toss well. Taste and add a little more salt or pepper if it needs it.  Divide the salad between two bowls on top of the spinach.

ADD DRESSING, BASIL, AND ENJOY! Drizzle the salads with the Blue Cheese Ranch dressing and add a little basil on top of the dressing.  Serve immediately.

{printable recipe}


Vinaigrette definition from Merriam-Webster:  : a mixture of oil, vinegar, and seasonings that is used especially as a salad dressing

Interesting info about cheese: Why are so many cheese names capitalized? Because they are named for the place they originated and place names–proper nouns–are capitalized.  How about: Cheddar, England  or Parma, Italy or Brie, France? The same is true for many wines, too.  Visit Champagne, France sometime! Of course, the exception proves the rule.  Mozzarella, unless at the beginning of a sentence, or as the name of a particular style of mozzarella such as Mozzarella Fresca–fresh mozzarella, seems to NOT be capitalized.  More on mozzarella here.

Basic Kitchen Rules for Kids

VERY Basic Knife Skills

Knife Skills–What Knives do I need?/Cutting and Dicing

Cook a great boneless chicken breast

Some kid-friendly cooking blogs

LEARN MORE ABOUT COOKING FROM ADULTS:  Check out THE SPLENDID TABLE website–a wonderful Minnesota tradition– and tune in to NPR each week to listen to the show!  You can sign up for the Splendid Table cooking newsletter at the bottom of the website.  (Or listen the podcasts here.)

The salad looks like this before it’s tossed:

If you liked this, you might also like:

Fast Chicken and Tortellini Soup

Sing a new song,


4 thoughts on “Cooking with Addie: Chicken Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch

  1. Pingback: Cooking with Addie: Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa | More Time at the Table

  2. Hi this is Addie! Last night for dinner I made the Chicken Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch. It was delicious! I substituted the blue cheese in the dressing for goat cheese. The goat cheese was actually really good and it gave the salad a nice flavor! Tonight I am really excited to make the Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa! Thank you for these recipes I can’t wait to make more!

  3. Pingback: 25 Scrumptious Dishes to Jump Start Your Healthy January | More Time at the Table

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