Italian Chicken Pasta Salad


Tonight’s dinner is one of those super simple dishes that can be thrown together with little effort and very little actual cooking as well, which makes it the perfect weeknight meal.  It also makes great leftovers for lunch the following days.  This is yet another recipe that takes advantage of the ever-convenient and delicious rotisserie chicken…. one of my favorite cheats!  I suppose you could make your own chicken if you wanted, but last I checked there were no awards being handed out for causing yourself unnecessary hassle and making it from scratch lol.

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The concept of this dish is pretty basic, with many of the usual Italian ingredients… and that’s ok.  Sometimes you just don’t need to mess with a good thing.  I really enjoyed this salad, and would definitely make it as is over and over again with complete satisfaction.  I can also see room for embellishments too if you wanted to mix things up from time to time.  Perhaps some crispy proscuitto, maybe some parsley or lemon… or whatever other Italian ingredients you like.  The only change I made to the original recipe was to use half kalamata olives just because they are my favorite and I happened to have some of both in the fridge I needed to use up.  Another area of versatility is in the dressing.  With so many options out there this could easily take on a lot of different flavors.  I used some Olive Garden Italian dressing I had on hand which I really love because it’s so creamy and cheesy.  You can also use whatever type of pasta you prefer.  I used some orecchiette, which is great for catching the dressing in the little bowl shaped centers.  The only downside is that they tend to stack up in there.

I cut the recipe in half and still had LOTS of food, so take that into consideration.  This would feed a lot of people, but like I said it can also make good leftovers.  I actually made mine earlier in the day and let it hang out in the fridge for a few hours before I served it.  I did sneak a taste right away before putting it in there, and I gotta say I really liked it with slightly warm pasta.  However, it’s still very good totally chilled.  It’s not a bad idea to reserve a bit of dressing to mix in later on just in case it seems a bit dry after sitting so long.

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Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients :

  • 1 pkg. (16 oz) pasta
  • 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, diced
  • 1 can (6 oz) sliced black olives
  • 1 tub (8 oz) mozzarella pearls
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup torn or julienned basil
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bottle (16 oz) Italian salad dressing, divided

Directions :

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Rinse under cold water and drain well.  Pour pasta into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving about 1/2 cup of the dressing.  Mix to combine.
  3. Serve or refrigerate until ready to use.  (Pasta may dry out upon standing. Add reserved dressing if needed)

Recipe from In Good Flavor

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Italian Chicken Bake


Don’t let the simplicity of this fool you, it’s full of flavor.  The fact that it’s super simple to throw together any night of the week is just an added bonus.  While it is great as is, you could take it a step further even and maybe add a little lemon juice or zest, or a few more herbs, or perhaps use a different type of cheese.  This is one of those great basic recipes that is perfect for making little alterations to best suit you and your family.

I served ours with rice, which was a nice combo.  The rice was perfect for the bit of sauce in this dish.  Instead of basil, because the store was out, I used parsley.  One issue I had though, was regarding liquid.  The recipe states to drain the artichokes and tomatoes very well, even going so far as to lay them on paper towels to ensure the flour would thicken up the liquids.  However I didn’t have any liquid left in my dish after draining them so well.  The recipe poster used thighs in her dish and I can only assume they let off more liquid than the breasts I used.  I didn’t want to end up with floury artichokes and tomatoes so I added a bit of chicken stock (maybe 1/4-1/3 cup) to the dish and that worked perfectly.  It was still a little thin after the first cooking, but I opted to use a combination of both the grated Parmesan and the Mozzarella, and the Parmesan helped to thicken it up that last bit.

One thing I would suggest if you are using breasts, is to pound them out somewhat thin or butterfly them.  Not only do they cook better/more evenly, but I just think it is a better balance per bite than a thick bite of chicken would be.  It’s all preference though.  Also the recipe called for 6 chicken thighs, but since I was using breasts I was left to guess at how much that might be.  I went with about 2 lbs, or just under.  You can use canned artichokes or the marinated kind, and the recipe poster suggests the marinated for more flavor.  That is what I used and I agree.  I also used a roasted tomato that had basil and some other Italian seasonings in it.

Italian Chicken Bake

Ingredients :

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 8oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained well
  • 1 14.5 oz can roasted tomatoes, drained well
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella or parmesan
  • basil – optional

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a 9 x 9 baking dish with non stick spray.
  3. Place chicken in baking dish.
  4. In mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients.
  5. Pour over chicken.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through.
  7. Top with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.

** Be sure to read notes above regarding liquid.

Recipe from Laughing Spatula

 

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Published in: on September 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Italian Chicken Cups


For those out in cyber space following this blog, THANK YOU!  I know I have been a terrible blogger this past year…. well let’s face it, a non-existent one would better describe me…. but I really hope I will find more time this year now that things are more settled here.  We moved a couple times, and life just got busy, but now we are in our new home and I am getting used to our new schedules and finding more time to do the things I love.  Anyway, I guess I haven’t done too bad, considering this year I still had close to 10 thousand views on this blog even though I only made one post lol.  Not bad at all.  Let’s see how many I can get this year.

So for my first post in a very long time… I give you Italian Chicken Cups.  Nothing really complicated to make, but this is one of my own recipes, and I have to admit it’s a great one!  There is so much flavor packed into these adorable little bundles that you won’t believe how easy they are to prepare.  And the presentation is perfect for a dinner party with friends.  I make them as a main course, but I have had suggestions from people that have tried them that they might also do well as an appetizer.

Notes:  I have used various different kinds of biscuits for these, but I prefer the Grands ones by pilsbury.  There are 8 in a package and they are nice, big, and fluffy.  When I make the chicken I just season with salt and pepper, and a bit of Italian seasoning before grilling up on a counter top grill.

Italian Chicken Cups

serves 4-8             time to make : 25-30 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1  large chicken breast, cooked (see note above)
  • 1 roll of refrigerated biscuits (see note above)
  • 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup artichoke hearts, diced
  • 2-3 T. roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 T. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2-3 T. shredded parmesan

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly spray 8 of your 12 muffin cups.
  2. Cut up chicken into small pieces, and combine with olives, artichokes, tomatoes, dressing, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Using your hands stretch the biscuit out, keeping their circular shape until they are about twice the size.  Press into the prepared muffin pan allowing them to cup up out of the top and form a cup.
  4. Spoon filling into cups and bake according to package directions for your biscuits.  Using the Pilsbury Grands it is about 15 minutes I find in my oven.  In the last 5 minutes add the cheese to the tops if you want it to get melty, otherwise you can add it at the end.

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Day 121 : Italian Sub Pasta Salad


This salad is the perfect thing to make for picnics, potlucks, holiday celebrations, or even for a light dinner like we did tonight.  I have made this many times, and have always gotten rave reviews for it.  It’s definitely simple to make, you just have to set aside a bit of time for the prep-work because there is a lot of chopping to do.

For the meats and cheese, I just ask the deli guy to give me a few slices of each at their thickest cut which is maybe 1/2-3/4 inch.  Then I just cube that up and throw it in.  You can make things simple for yourself by buying pre-cut onions, and whatever else you can find already prepped.  I’ve also thrown in things like green peppers, feta, and I think even pickles in the past with great results.  It’s definitely versatile and the measurements are just for reference and you can judge how much of each thing you want in your salad.  Tonight I didn’t have shredded lettuce so I used some of the salad spring mix I had and I think that worked well.  I also used some organic garden pasta tonight which worked really well, but you can use whatever pasta you want.

Italian Sub Pasta Salad

Serves : 8                 Time to make : 30 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 8 oz. rotini pasta, cooked drained and cooled
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce, packed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 4 oz. diced cooked ham
  • 4 oz. diced hard salami
  • 4 oz. cubed provolone cheese

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tps. oregano

Directions :

  1. Make sure your pasta has cooled completely.  (I usually just rinse it in cold water for a while)
  2. In a large bowl, toss together pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, red  pepper, shredded lettuce, chopped onion, sliced black olives, ham, salami, and provolone.
  3. In a jar or crouet, pour all the dressing ingredients.  Shake very very well. 
  4. Pour over the salad and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Serve.

Published in: on May 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 100 : Italian Chicken Salad


Woohoo!  I made it to day 100!  Thanks to everyone who continues to read my blog, and I hope you have walked away with many great new recipes, and will continue to check out my stuff!

This is a super simple salad to make, and most of the ingredients are pantry staples.  The person who came up with the recipe did so one night when she found herself with a package of salad about to expire.  I’ve made it a number of times and we always enjoy it.  The one thing I did different tonight, which made it even better, was to add a bit of goat cheese.

I usually season some chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning and grill them up for this.  I also use probably double the amount of kalamata olives because I really like them.  If you make this with the intention if it being a side to your main dish it would easily serve 4, but if you want to make a meal out of just the salad I would say it serves more like 2 or 3.  I usually make some crescent rolls with it or biscuits.  Once I even made some Mediterranean scones that went very well with it.

 

Italian Chicken Salad

Serves : 2-4             Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 (8 oz) package butter lettuce (I use an italian salad blend)
  • 1 (6) oz package pre-cooked chicken breast, chopped (I use two breasts)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder

Directions :

  1. To make dressing, whisk together oil and vinegar in a bowl until well combined.  Then whisk in the garlic powder, pepper, and onion powder.  Set aside.  Before serving you may need to whisk again if it has separated.
  2. Toss salad with chicken, olives and parmesan.  Add dressing and toss to coat.

Day 76 : Lasagna Rollups


First off, I want to take back what I said yesterday about the cupcakes being too bland or dry.  Just like muffins these actually become more moist the next day once they have sat in an airtight container.  I also now feel that the subtle flavor of the cake portion is perfectly balanced out by the rich and very flavorful frosting.  I am now a little sorry I sent so many to work with my husband, but I am sure my waistline thanks me lol.

When I was growing up we didn’t have lasagna very often, because let’s face it, making lasagna is time consuming! I remember grating cheese until I felt like my arms would fall off as a kid.  Now of course its a bit easier if you just buy pre-shredded cheese, but it still takes a while to cook your noodles, make the meat, and assemble…. then you have to wait forever for it to bake!  Anyway, in our house if we want lasagna we often go with a boxed version and are always left feeling a little disappointed by them.  They are fine, but they aren’t what we want.  When my youngest was born a good friend (Susan we mean you if you are reading this!) made us a great homemade lasagna that my husband still proclaims to be the best he has ever had!  Hard to compare to that lol.   Anyway, I have tried a couple different lasagna recipes since my husband and I have been together and they actually are both rolls.  It’s such an elegant way to serve a great dish.  It’s also already made up into the perfect sized portions!

Tonight’s recipe was pretty good.  I took the liberty of changing it up a bit which leads me to assume that the base recipe would be a bit bland by itself for us.  But that’s fine, because it’s nice to have a good base to start with and alter to your tastes.  I added about a lb of ground beef cooked up with some onion and garlic, and seasoned with some oregano, fresh basil, salt and pepper.  I also used at least double the parsley called for in the recipe because I LOVE it.  I like the idea of taking some help from the store and using jar sauce for things like this, and chose a Prego Fresh Mushroom variety.  I actually had a bit left over of the same kind from something else and heated that up at the end to serve with some additional sauce and because it makes a nice presentation to have a bed of sauce to put the rolls onto.  The next time I make these, and there WILL BE a next time, I might add a few more seasonings to the filling mixture, but other than that it was very good.  Best of all there was no fennel in it… which I can’t stand in lasagnas rofl.

I was able to fit 15 rolls into my 9×13 baking dish and I only needed to heat it for about 25 minutes before it was ready.  Not only was it starting to spit out onto my oven, but we were way too impatient to wait any longer than that.  I will just share the original recipe so you can alter it to your own tastes, but if you need any inspiration the alterations listed above worked very well.

 

Lasagna Rollups

Serves : 5-6          Time to make : 1 hour roughly

Ingredients :

  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 1 (2-pound) tub of ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 T. freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 12-14 lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Pour half of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, eggs, parsley, and salt, mixing well.
  3. Spoon cheese mixture over noodles distributing evenly, and roll up tightly.  Place rollup seam side down in prepared baking dish; top with remaining sauce and mozzarella.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until heated through.

 

Day 57 : Mozzarella Sticks


Still down, but managed to make it through long enough to fry up some Mozzarella Sticks today.  There isn’t much to say about them…. I LOVE cheese, so it only stands to reason that I love it fried as well.  Something about the warm melty center and the crunchy exterior just says perfection to me!  I have never tried to make my own before, but decided now was the time.  The italian breadcrumbs worked perfectly for this, and I used some pepper jack string cheese because I was hoping to recreate some Hozzarella sticks I get at a local place that are SOOOO good.

I actually made some fried ravioli along with them tonight, which was also a first, but they weren’t as picture worthy since most of the breading came off (not a good idea I think to use panko for them since it slipped right off).  However they were very good in theory and in taste so I will share the recipe for them as well.

Since I made the two together I didn’t really measure out amounts of anything, but I will try to give estimates.  Really you just need to use enough egg to coat all your items, and enough breading to do the same.

Mozzarella Sticks

Serves : 2            Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 5 string cheese (I used the pepper jack ones)
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup or so italian bread crumbs
  • canola oil, enough to fill a skillet about an inch to an inch and a half
  • marinara for dipping

Directions :

  1. Heat oil in a skillet to about 375 degrees.
  2. Cut each cheese in half, then dredge them in the egg.
  3. After coated in the egg, roll into the crumbs, coat it again in the egg, and then back in the crumbs one last time.
  4. Carefully drop into the hot oil and cook until golden brown.  It is rather quick.
  5. Remove to a paper towel until completely done.
  6. Serve with marinara for dipping.

 

Fried Ravioli

Serves : 2            Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • Pkg store bought ravioli (I got a 9oz pkg of chicken and cheese)
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 – 1 cup italain bread crumbs
  • canola oil, for frying
  • marinara for dipping

Directions :

  1. Cook ravioli according to package directions, then drain and lay out on a sheet in single layer.
  2. While ravioli is cooking heat oil in a deep skillet or wok to 375 degrees.
  3. Coat cooked ravioli in the egg mixture, and then into the crumbs. (I tried panko and it did not stay on so I suggest sticking to the finer crumbs)
  4. Carefully drop into the hot oil and cook on both sides until golden and crisp.
  5. Serve with marinara for dipping. (you can also shred a little fresh parmesan over the hot raviolis if you prefer)

 

 

Day 42 : Italian Paninis


These little pieces of heaven are my own creations.  I don’t want to “toot my own horn” but they really are that good lol.  My husband is constantly trying to take the credit for these, but that man doesn’t have a culinary bone in his entire body.  I was watching a Paula Deen episode one day where they made some type of panini that sounded really good but I knew I had never seen most of the ingredients in my area so was forced to get creative and come up with my own.  I have since then published it on Food.com and received glowing reviews.

When I originally made it I used a package of various thin-cut italian meats that I haven’t been able to find lately.  It had hot calabrese, pepper salame, and capocollo in it.  Tonight I was forced to use one that had the capocollo and salame, but pepperoni for the third meat, and though I felt it was still very good, Jeff said he preferred the other meat.  So if you can find that, I would go with the original meats.  You really don’t want to leave anything out of this sandwich or substitute.  Each ingredient really has it’s place in this to create the most delicious blend of flavors, and a balance of sweet/salty/fresh/juicy/savory all at once.  I used to just toast the rolls, and put the cheese on afterward, but I really enjoyed the creaminess of the melted cheese and will do it that way from now on.

Italian Paninis

Serves : 4                Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 3 oz. hot calabrese, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz. pepper salame, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz. hot capocollo, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz. prosciutto
  • 8 slices smoked gouda (enough to cover each roll from end to end)
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ts. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • italian seasoning (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers
  • red onion slices
  • fresh parmesan, shaved
  • parsley (about a tablespoon minced)
  • 4 asiago cheese rolls

Directions :

  1. Start by cooking your meats for a short time in a medium-high heat skillet.  You just want to do it for about a minute each to get them warmed up, and the juices flowing…. also to get some of the FAT out!  Once done place on paper towels and pat dry to remove more of the grease.
  2. Arrange cut rolls onto a baking sheet and spray with olive oil cooking spray.  Season with the italian seasoning to taste, and arrange gouda slices on 4 of the 8 pieces.  Place under the broiler for a couple of minutes until bread is toasted and cheese is starting to melt.
  3. Divide the meats evenly between the 4 sandwiches and then layer the onions, roasted re peppers, 1/2 tsp of each oil and vinegar per sandwich, parsley, parmesan, and then lettuce before topping off with the other half of the roll.
  4. ENJOY!