Rigatoni with Grilled Chicken and Dried Tomatoes

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on March 2, 2011

Seriously I have had enough.  Winter started way too early this past November.  And it continues to drag on, with a tease of warm weather here and there.

In a feeble attempt to pretend that it may in fact be spring, or summer, I pulled out the tomatoes and basil that I dried, after having picked them from my garden last year.

And for a few glorious minutes, I got to taste summer.

Dried tomatoes have such a delicious tanginess. With a touch of sweetness in every third bite or so. Mmmm.

Paired with some batch grilled chicken, and this was an easy throw together dinner…ready in the same amount of time it takes to cook the pasta!

And this one got RAVE reviews from the husband and the big boys. The big boys even liked the flavor and tanginess of the dried tomatoes. (And they don’t usually like fresh tomatoes. But we are going to try to fix that this summer, as “we eat what we grow.”)

The dried tomato slices and basil leaves.

Please. Please. Please…this summer, you must dry some tomatoes. Whether from your own garden, or from the farmer’s market. You will thank yourself in the middle of the winter. (Or near the end of winter.)

You must, you must, you must.

(Come on spring…I sure hope that groundhog was right!)

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Rigatoni with Grilled Chicken and Dried Tomatoes


  • 1 lb. box rigatoni noodles ($.89) Manager’s Special
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled and diced (batch grilling details here) ($2)
  • About 2 cups dried garden tomatoes and basil (dried and frozen from last year’s garden)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil ($.30)
  • About 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Parmesan cheese and parsley, sprinkles ($.25)
  • 2 oranges, sliced ($.50)


  • Cook the pasta as directed on the box. Drain and add to a mixing bowl.
  • On a small plate, drizzle the olive oil over the dried tomatoes and basil.  Season with some kosher salt and pepper.
  • To the pasta in the mixing bowl, add the diced grilled chicken, dried tomatoes and basil with the olive oil.  Toss well.
  • Serve with sprinkles of parmesan cheese and parsley.
  • We ate this with orange slices.

Cost $3.94

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

mary alice March 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I’d love to try drying my garden tomatoes and herbs this season! How did you do it?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom March 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I sliced the tomatoes fairly thin…and as you can see, these were skinny little grape like tomatoes…and put them in my dehydrator. You can sun-dry them, but I’ve never tried that method. The time it takes to dry will vary on the thickness of the ingredient and how much water it naturally holds.

The basil leaves and other herbs will only take a little bit to dry out because they are so thin and hold little water!



Ashley March 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I am wondering the same thing as Mary Alice. How do you dry items from the garden? Also, your meal above looks delicious!


Vicki March 2, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I borrowed my friend’s dehydrator and had that thing going for about 12 hours and dried about 15 lbs of tomatoes…they were delicious…I froze them in ziploc bags and took out handfuls for pasta and pizza’ s all winter long…they are gone now, but this fall I am going to double the amount I dehydrate :)


The Frugal Princess March 3, 2011 at 12:53 am

Do you rehydrate them (in this recipe)?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom March 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

You don’t! I just let them come to room temp, drizzled some olive oil over them and tossed with the pasta and chicken. Super simple!



Mary A March 3, 2011 at 9:46 am

Sure looks yummy! I’ve been debating about whether to buy a food dehydrator or not. Seeing your recipe may just push me in that direction.



Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom March 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I use it for other things too Mary! We like to dehydrate all kinds of fruits, and I’ll definitely be dehydrating more tomatoes this summer!!!



danielle March 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

So to you freeze them when you are done drying them…what is the best way to store them if you are stocking up after gardening season?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom March 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Yes Danielle!

I froze these. Because they have such little moisture in them after dehydrating, they hold up really well in the freezer, are not subject to freezer burn, and thaw very quickly after removing them from the freezer!



Laura March 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Love the idea of dried tomatoes! Makes me sad for all those that went to waste last summer. As I’ve never used a dehydrator before, I have no idea on where to start looking for one, or what features to look for. Do you have any recommendations?


Ayesha Jameel March 5, 2011 at 9:35 pm

That looks absolutely yummmmm….. lovely presentation of the food ! I love how you mentioned the price of each ingredient :D
please do visit n follow my blog if you wish to at http://kitchensojourn.blogspot.com :)


Frugalfunandfabulous March 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

What would be good substitute if we don’t have dried tomatoes from a garden? Thanks!


Tashia March 16, 2011 at 11:32 am

Question: Are you able to get dried tomatoes in stores? Whole Foods? This recipe looks amazing but alas…I don’t a) have a garden or b) have any dried tomatoes on hand….



Tracey April 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm

This was delicious! I dont have a garden so i bought sun dried tomatoes from the store! i infused my olive oil with basil and garlic!!! super easy and tasty!


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