I used to work as a cook at Focus on the Family. There, I cooked and prepared food for some big wigs including Dr. James and Shirley Dobson (Focus’s founder and his wife); Mike Huckabee (a former Presidential candidate), Jason Elam (when he served as the Broncos’ kicker; even got to wear his Super Bowl rings), and Tim Tebow (when he was, I believe, a junior in college; we struck a conversation because we were about the same age and both went to college, albeit two different colleges, in Florida).
At Focus, I was in charge of prepping and serving fresh foods for the salad bar. And one of the most popular items on that salad bar was the homemade honey poppy seed salad dressing; and a close second popular item was the pre-made Diane Chicken Salad, which featured the honey poppy seed dressing. These items were so popular because they were so super tasty!
Today, I’m sharing my rendition of this delicious salad dressing (shrunk to a family size portion rather than bulk, and tweaked only slightly from its original version) and salad because it has become one of my family’s favorites and, I hope, will soon become one of your family’s favorites too!
Diane Chicken Salad with Honey Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
- 1 c. organic white sugar
- 1/2 c. raw honey, melted
- 1/2 tbsp. dry ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp. Real Salt
- 3/4 c. raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/8 c. poppy seeds
- 2 to 3 cooked chicken breast (marinated overnight in Honey Poppy Seed Salad Dressing), cubed
- 4 c. Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 c. iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 6 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented
- 1/2 c. sliced almonds OR toasted chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1 c. red onion, chopped (optional)
- 2 c. monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 1 c. chow mein noodles (optional)
- fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into half-slices
- small bunches of red grapes still on vine
- In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, honey, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and half the vinegar.
- Slowly mix in the oil then the other half of the vinegar. Blend well.
- Add the pepper and poppy seeds and mix. Refrigerate any leftover.
- Toss the chicken (cold), lettuces, mandarin oranges, nuts, onion, and cheese in a large bowl.
- Cover a plate with the salad mixture then top with chow mein noodles.
- Arrange several slices of pineapple, a small bunch of grapes or two, and one or two strawberries decoratively around plate (perhaps fan the strawberries to make it more fancy).
- Serve the Poppy Seed Salad Dressing in a small dish on the side.