Zesty Pasta Salad

Leftovers.  Do you like them?  I sure don’t… unless, of course, they consist of chicken curry, pasta salad, or soup.  But leftover Chinese stir-fry?  No.  Chicken Alfredo?  What an oily, chunky mess.   Mac ‘n cheese from a box?  GIVE ME A BREAK!

Still, being an only child, there are always leftovers to eat.  That’s okay.  I’m cool with it, for the most part.  However, a few months ago, I ate kabocha squash (which I like) for about a week and a half.  Waay too much of a good thing.

Anyway, back to pasta salad.  This stuff is GOOD.  It’s simple, and very customizable.  Don’t like olives?  Leave ’em out!  Vegetarian?  Double the beans.  Plus, you get to pick your salad dressing.  As an added bonus, it still tastes good after being in the fridge for a week…

Also, it’s easy to sneak some whole wheat into this recipe.  I used whole wheat rotini, and my dad, resident WW hater, didn’t even notice.  After eating a very large helping of it, he announced that he really liked it.  Ha!  I won that one.

Zesty Pasta Salad

makes A LOT

  • 1   pound short pasta, cooked and cooled
  • 2  chicken breasts
  • 1   small tub bocconcini (mozzarella balls) marinated in herb oil, each cut in half
  • 1   can corn, drained
  • 1  can kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  small jar artichoke hearts, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1  can black olives, rinsed and drained
  • 1  cup green peas
  • 2  cups broccoli florets, boiled or steamed
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil), chopped
  • 2-3  green onions, minced
  • 1/2  bottle or more, depending on your tastes, salad dressing of your choice (I like some sort of Italian or vinaigrette.  Thousand Island or ranch is too heavy)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Boil the chicken with a sliced clove of garlic until cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Don’t overcook!  Allow it to cool a bit.  Then, shred the chicken into bite-size strips.

2)  Mix the rest of the ingrediants, minus the dressing and salt, in a large bowl.  Add the chicken as soon as it’s cool.  Drizzle with salad dressing to taste, and toss well.  The oil from the bocconcini and the liquid from the artichoke hearts are nice additions too.  Sprinkle with pepper and salt if needed.

3) The pasta salad can be eaten at room temperature, but it tastes better chilled.  Enjoy!

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