28 September, 2018
End The Leftover Challenge With Chicken Pasta Salad
Lunch at our house often turns out to be a repurposing of last night’s dinner. Hubby is not a fan of leftovers so I have to be creative to make the meal appealing a second time around.
Let’s start with the pasta element of this salad. You do save cooked pasta don’t you? Or is that an Italian thing? You’re probably thinking I should know how to gauge how much pasta to make when I’m cooking a pasta dinner. Well, I do, but the hunger factor on any particular night slightly skews the consumption so there can be a handful to a bowlful of pasta leftover sometimes. Of course I save it because it can be used with eggs in the morning, or salad at lunch, or sautéed with vegetables for a stir-fry dinner. And if we don’t get around to eating it, our dog loves pasta raw or cooked so it never goes to waste around here.
Side note: I’ll confess that we do have a dedicated pasta shelf in our pantry… doesn’t everybody? And I’ll admit that our dog has his own pasta container on the pasta shelf. He gets really excited after going for a walk or being rewarded for something because he knows he gets a few pieces of dry pasta. Crazy, I know, but our dogs have always eaten pasta, so we keep a container in the kitchen for their “stash.”
Then there is the chicken contribution to this recipe. We used to roast whole chickens on the bar-b-que back in the day, but Costco’s roasted chickens are not only tasty, they’re extremely budget friendly. Why roast your own chicken when you can buy it cooked and cheaper at Costco (or local grocery store)? And no, I’m not getting paid by Costco (a large membership warehouse chain) to say that. If you shop at one, you know what I’m saying here. We can always get several meals from one chicken, and today is an example of one of the uses for leftovers. If you’re interested in other uses for leftover chicken, check out these prior posts: Greek Chicken Quesadillas, Chicken, Feta & Pomegranate Pitas, Chicken Potato Soup For Your Soul, Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Fried Rice, and Chicken Pot Pie. Wow, I didn’t realize until I started pulling these posts that we eat a lot of chicken!
To make the salad, it’s just a matter of chopping the ingredients and mixing them together. The vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber and red onion) came from our garden. The corn from a local Farmer’s market. I could have added zucchini but was politely requested this be a “zucchini free” meal. Those of you who follow this blog will know that the majority of our summer meals included zucchini in some form due to our overly abundant crop this year. A zucchini cookbook is in the process of being written and published (details and publishing date to be announced soon) so I’ll spare you and hubby another zucchini ingredient recipe.
Ready to eat after drizzling with a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- 1 cup chicken, cooked and chopped
- 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 corn cob, roasted and cut off cob (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 tablespoons feta cheese, grated
- 1 cup pre-cooked pasta (I used bucatini)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drizzle of Olive oil
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar*
- Cut up all ingredients.
- Toss ingredients in a large bowl until mixed.
- Add oil and vinegar, mix with salad ingredients.
- Serve immediately or next day.
- *Can substitute oil and vinegar with a good pre-made Italian dressing.