I can pretty much guarantee that none of you out there love The Cheesecake Factory as much as me and my man.
The bread. The Fresh Artichokes. The Boston House Salad. The Chicken Littles. The Chicken Marsala. The Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes. The Chicken Salad Sandwich. The Chicken Madeira and Steak Diane. The Avocado Eggrolls. The Santa Fe Salad. The Orange Chicken. Not to mention the cheesecake (which we never make it to).
Is it normal that I haven’t been there in over a year and I can recall all that off the top of my head?
And I know, I know. My beloved Cheesecake Factory is said to be one of the most unhealthy restaurants around. Nothing even remotely organic about it. It’s one of the very places I just sort of set my brain aside and eat my heart out. I guess it’s good that the closest one to us is about 6 hours away.
But the place is just special to me. John and I dated long-distance for over a year, and every single time I went to Houston we ate there… usually twice. It just sort of feels like our place.
So along with all our fav’s listed above, we both love the Barbeque Ranch Chicken Salad. I made a knock-off version and I’m happy to say we loved it just as much. Also doesn’t hurt knowing the chicken comes from local free-range birds and the corn isn’t GMO!
I’ve never had a good ranch recipe, so when I tasted Jeanne’s this weekend (yes, I was the friend eating it with a spoon), I knew it was about time to recreate this salad!
Here’s where we landed.
- Chopped romaine
- BBQ Chicken, diced – For this I just used the stove to brown both sides in olive oil , then smothered with my favorite BBQ sauce and placed in oven at 350 for about 30 minutes.
- Charred corn – After thawing frozen corn, I added a little butter to a hot pan and then seared the corn there.
- Diced avocado
- Chopped red onion
- Tortilla strips – I sliced a few corn tortillas, doused with olive oil, spread them out on a baking dish and baked on 350 for about 10 minutes.
- Ranch dressing – Of course I am biased but I HIGHLY recommend Jeanne’s ranch. It’s just good, people.
You may have noticed I didn’t give any exact measurements. It’s just not really that type of recipe. You as much (or as little) of each component as you like.
And I must say… as pretty as the salad looks up there, the best tasting way is to throw everything in a big bowl and toss in the dressing. That way you get the ranch in each bite!