One of the things we are trying to do in 2011 is to shop our pantry before we plan meals and make a grocery list so we can use items we already have and avoid buying items that we didn't really need to begin with. When searching through our pantry this particular week we came across 1/2 a package of whole wheat macaroni and some frozen peas. We set to work thinking about what we could make with these and in our brains blossomed this idea for a pasta salad with chicken and peas. What resulted from this little idea was a great weeknight meal that was quick to throw together and very delicious.
Chicken, Pea and Pasta Salad
A Jason and Cassie Original
Makes 4 servings
8 oz. dried whole wheat pasta, preferably a small pasta like macaroni
5 oz. frozen peas
2 slices whole grain bread (we used sprouted multigrain bread
5 T. olive oil, divided
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. basil
1/2-1 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, baked and cubed.
Salt and pepper
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook till al dente. When the pasta is just done, throw the peas into the pot with the pasta. Let sit for about 30 seconds and then drain. Place in a large serving bowl.
2) Take slices of bread and cut into small cubes. Toss with 1 T. olive oil and salt and pepper. Line bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes until golden and crunchy.
3) Meanwhile make the dressing by combining 4 T. of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Set aside. Let this sit together for at least 10 minutes so the flavors can combine.
4) In the bowl with the pasta and peas add the chicken, dressing and Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate until cool. This can be made ahead of time up to this point. The salad is actually better when it has sat together for a few hours. Just before serving toss the croutons in with the rest of the salad. Enjoy.