While I love that I have summers off with my kids, summer weather here is something to be reckoned with.  When it’s cold outside, I can always add another layer, but the heat?  Well, there’s only so much I can take off before it gets scary!  In Louisiana, we have so much humidity!  And then there’s the cycle of heat-induced showers that seems to happen almost every day.  That turns the outside world into a sauna.  My hair – which is very thick already – turns into a gigantic puff ball.  It feels like my makeup is running down my face.  I start to collect sweat in places that sweat should never venture.  I have to constantly stifle the urge to run into the middle of a huge group, throw my hands into the air, and scream “I’m melting!  I’m melting!” in my best Wicked Witch of the West voice.

Louisiana summer heat?  Not my favorite.

Now that we’re out of school and summer time has begun, I find that my menus start to change.  I see more salads on the horizon.  Pasta salads, taco salads, green salads, chicken spinach salad.  It’s just seems sort of natural to crave cooler, lighter foods when the weather outside is so hot.

One of my new favorites is this Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad.  I love anything with bacon.  It just adds a smoky, yummy flavor that nothing else can.  This recipe makes a lot of chicken salad.

You’re welcome.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad

  • 3-pound bag of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 packages of dry ranch dressing mix
  • 2 2.5-oz. bags of real bacon pieces (not bits)
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 1-2 cups of light mayonnaise

Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker.  Sprinkle with ONE of the packages of bacon pieces and BOTH packages of ranch dressing mix.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker to cool slightly.  Use forks or fingers to shred the chicken.

Stir in second bag of bacon pieces, Parmesan, and 1 cup of mayonnaise.  Add as much mayonnaise as you like to create the salad consistency you want.

Well Duh #1:  If you can only find a 2.5-pound bag of chicken, that’s totally okay!  I use the Great Value brand from Walmart and it comes in a 3-pound bag.

Well Duh #2:  I did not leave off putting water or stock in the slow cooker.  You don’t need it.  The chicken will create it’s own moisture – from thawing, from cooking, from condensation.

Well Duh #3:  If you want to take the time to, you can absolutely fish out all the bacon pieces from the slow cooker liquid and add them to the salad.

Well Duh #4:  The mayonnaise measurement is a guess.  Some people like their chicken salad “wetter” than others.  Just add as much as you like.  I didn’t add a lot of mayonnaise at first because one of my family members doesn’t like a ton of mayonnaise in anything.  After I made that person’s sandwich – and took pictures – I actually added more mayonnaise.

Well Duh #5:  You can also cut back slightly on the mayo and add some of the cooking liquid instead.

Well Duh #6:  I served this to my family with crunchy greens on Ciabatta buns.  I took it to work the next week without the bread.  It’s pretty low-carb, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Well Duh #7:  Don’t leave this out on the counter for too long.  Anything with mayonnaise needs to be refrigerated pretty quickly.

We really loved this new version of chicken salad.  I even took some to co-workers and they gobbled it right up and asked for the recipe.  That’s a winner in my book!