Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chicken Pasta Salad

We decided to take a family trip to Universal Studios Hollywood today, since its a 3-day weekend. Tomorrow, we decided we wanted to do a barbecue with my folks while my brother helped hubby put up some shelves in the garage. So that means all the prep work is all up to me. I decided my menu to consist of my Korean Bulgogi Beef, Grilled corn, a side salad, and turkey burgers. I found a great burger recipe I wanted to try out from Annie's Eats (more on that recipe for tomorrow's post). I also found a great side pasta salad recipe from The Nest, which I've started to frequent again.

This recipe for Chicken Pasta Salad is a twist to another chicken pasta salad that I love eating from a local restaurant. It has fresh ingredients like strawberries and grapes. I love mixing sweet with savory, which is why this recipe really caught my eye. This salad was quite refreshing. My mom loved it and decided to take some home. I'll be making this dish again.

1 1/2 cup dried pasta shells (I used a tri color spiral pasta)
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 cups halved seedless grapes
1 1/2 cups quartered fresh strawberries
2/3 cups bottled cucumber ranch salad dressing
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1-2 Tbsp. milk
leaf lettuce
toasted sliced almonds

1) Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again.

2) In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, grapes and strawberries.

3) In a small bowl, mix together salad dressing and cayenne pepper. Pour dressing over pasta mixture. Toss gently to coat. Cover and chill for 4-24 hours.

4) When ready to serve, if pasta salad is dry, stir in enough milk to moisten. Stir in almond slices. Line serving tray with lettuce leaves and mound pasta salad on top of lettuce. Serve.

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