I love pasta salads…because pretty much, “anything goes!” I used a package of marked down chicken tenderloins ($2.52 for the package), balsamic vinaigrette dressing that I got on sale matched with a $1 coupons (total of $.50 for the bottle), carrots that were $.08 for the bag (sign up for Earthbound coupons here), and veggies that were on sale last week! I also like to buy pasta salad noodles (rotini and shells) “in bulk” to bring down the cost of the pasta!
Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad
Yield – 4 servings
Preparation Time – 10 minutes
Cooking Time – 30 minutes
- 3 cups rotini pasta noodles ($.75)
- 1 package chicken tenderloins ($2.52)
- 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing, divided ($.15)
- 2 carrots ($.02)
- 1 green pepper ($.68)
- 1/2 zucchini ($.54)
- Fresh basil (free from garden)
- Fresh parsley (free from garden)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In medium saucepan, cook pasta noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add to serving bowl with 1/2 cup of balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
- Place chicken tenderloins (dice them first if you like…I didn’t, because I find it easier to cut cooked chicken than raw chicken) into medium skillet with other 1/2 cup of balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Saute for 4-5 minutes each side, or until tenderloins are no longer pink in the middle.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop carrot. Core, seed and dice green pepper. Dice 1/2 of a large zucchini. (I will eat the other half with some hummus for lunch tomorrow!) Chop fresh basil and parsley.
- Once chicken has cooked through, toss veggies with chopped fresh basil and parsley into the skillet with the chicken. Add 1/2 – 3/4 cups of water.
- Cover and let steam for 4-5 minutes, or until zucchinis become translucent. Once steamed, take “sharp” metal spatula or knife and cut the chicken tenderloins into bite size pieces.
- Once cooked, toss chicken and veggies with pasta and dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Optional: Add a few shakes of parmesan cheese to each serving. Serve warm or refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve chilled.
Serve Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad.
(Another thing I love about pasta salads…you’ve got protein, veggies and starch all in one dish!)
(Oh. Oh. And something else…there’s LOTS leftover for tomorrow’s lunch. Even though we ALL…including boys…had 2 bowls!)
What are your MUSTS when it comes to pasta salads? Favorite dressings? Favorite veggies or cheeses to toss in???