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Barefoot on a Budget! Round 1

April 30, 2009


A really great new feature at the Barefoot site is a Barefoot on a Budget challenge.  We all voted on a recipe that would ultimately end up breaking the bank and modify it to our liking and our budget.

This month we chose Lobster Cobb Salad Rolls.  Although I don’t eat fishies, I do love shellfish on occasion.  The rare occasions that I do eat shellfish, I want it to be pure and unadorned by fancy dressings, etc..  With that in mind along with the fact that I live in the middle of Kansas (no freshwater around people!) I decided to tear apart a Cobb Salad and go from there then throw it in a sandwich.

To me, Cobb Salad means: greasy fried chicken, bacon, avacado, corn, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs and creamy ranch dressing.  

To break this down and put it into a sandwich but also keep my eye on the ultimate challenge: to make this healthy and cheap! cheap! cheap!  I revamped the entire thing.  This is also where I eat my words and proclaim that there really is a sandwich out there that I like!  By the way, sorry to everyone for not giving any love last week for the Croque Monsieur.  Things are really hectic around here and I’ve barely had a moment to breath.

I started with homemade wheat rolls that had a nice crunchy crust.  I used a package of chicken tenders that I got on sale and lightly coated them with a dilly flour mixture.  I made homemade ranch (because, really… is there anything like it in the world?), a few chopped tomatoes, turkey bacon, avocado and spring mix.

Delta Whiskey’s Winter Ranch Dressing: 
3 T finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, smashed
3/4 t dried dill weed
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T reduced-fat sour cream 
1/4 – 1/2 c low-fat buttermilk
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Whisk together all ingredients in small bowl, taste and re-season if necessary.  This is a thinner ranch dressing (again with the texture thing) so you can easily reduce the amount of buttermilk and amp up the amount of sour cream to make it thicker.

Delta Whiskey’s (almost healthy) Dilly Fried Chicken Tenders:
1 package chicken tenderloins (or chicken breasts) 
1 egg
1/4 c buttermilk
1/2 flour
Salt & pepper to taste
2 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 T dried dill weed (or less if you don’t groove  on the dill)
Olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the egg and buttermilk with a whisk.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dill weed.  Rinse the chicken tenders, pat dry, coat them with the buttermilk mixture, then lightly coat them with the flour mixture.  Cook in a medium skillet on medium-low heat just until browned.  Transfer to a foil lined cookie sheet and finish cooking them in the oven at 375 degrees (about 5 minutes at the most).  I swear, this is fantastical chicken!

I also bake the turkey bacon on a foil lined sheetpan at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes until crispy.  That way, you don’t have to use additional oil to get it cooking (not to mention, it cooks evenly in the oven).  

To assemble the salad sandwich:
In a medium bowl, combine a couple handfuls of lettuce with ranch dressing, be liberal with the dressing as this is the moisture for the sandwich.  Quarter some cherry tomatoes, set aside.  Halve, peel and slice an avocado.  Grate some pepperjack cheese, and start assembling.

Slice a roll in half, start layering: Salad, chicken, bacon, avocado, tomatoes and cheese.  Voila!  The.Perfect.Salad.Sandwich!

I seem to be full of apologies today, but I’ll send out another one.  I didn’t take too many pictures because I was on the phone with an old buddy who’d called to say he was deploying again this summer.  Trying to wield a blackberry, chicken parts and salad fixings got a little dicey.  I wasn’t about to pick up the camera too! 

Anywho! You aren’t a barefooter yet?  Come join us!

Cost breakdown 
Homemade rolls : approximately 50 cents
Homemade ranch dressing: approximately $1.00
Chicken Tenders: $1.99 on sale at Target
Avacado: 79 cents
Cherry tomatoes: Probably 30 cents from a $2.00 package
Salad Greens: Sunk cost. I buy my salad greens at Sam’s for $5.00 which is about 15 c of salad greens.
Total Cost:  Approximately $4.58 for 2 fabulous sandwiches!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2009 11:02

    I’d love to wrap my mouth around it! So thick and full of all the goodies I love!!!! Mouth-watering, lip-smacking good!

  2. April 30, 2009 11:30

    I love your interpretation of a cobb salad!
    The sammie looks great, I am so hungry now..

  3. April 30, 2009 15:47

    Great job–I love how you made it decadent and healthy. It looks incredible! The whole salad in a sandwich thing is pretty fun to play with!

  4. April 30, 2009 19:32

    Wow! Not only does that look and sound amazing you totally stuck to the challenge. I will have to try your ranch dressing someday. I don’t eat it often, but when I do homemade’s the only way to go. I hope your weekend is more relaxing!

  5. May 1, 2009 10:33

    This looks and sounds delicious! I’ve never had cobb salad, so thanks for explaining it. Your ranch recipe sounds wonderful, it’s one of my favorites! I’m loving the dill in the breading on the chicken, might have to give that a go with tofu 🙂 Great job on the budget challenge, I missed this one but want to play along next month.

  6. May 1, 2009 16:46

    That sandwich looks amazing. I know what’s for lunch tomorrow. I didn’t know ranch dressing was so easy. I’ll start saving money there as well.

  7. May 2, 2009 16:53

    This looks so wonderful! I am glad you found a sandwich you liked.

    I’m loving your ranch recipe!

    I didn’t get to this challenge, but maybe at some point I will.

  8. Shae permalink
    May 3, 2009 15:57

    Hi DW,

    How have you been?

  9. May 4, 2009 08:34

    Are you are who I think you are?

  10. Shae permalink
    May 4, 2009 09:28

    Mighty Mouse???

  11. May 4, 2009 09:41

    OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HI HONEY!!!!!!!!!!!! Where are you at???

  12. Shae permalink
    May 5, 2009 14:39

    Still here in Germany…for another year. We have been extended. Yay!

  13. May 5, 2009 22:58

    OMG, that sandwich looks fantastic! Fried chicken AND avocado? Sign me up.

  14. Tara permalink
    May 6, 2009 13:25

    looks fabulous! i’ve been trying to figure out a way to amend the recipe to cut down on the cost but never thought to do chicken – great idea!!


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