I mentioned that I would share my Pasta Salad recipe with you all. I do have to say that this is mostly my friend's recipe, or at least she taught me how to make it. The dressing... is definitely her recipe.
This recipe is very "user friendly" as well as "ingredient friendly". wink, wink.
You can either cook the chicken ahead, over night, to save time the next day, or slow cook it the same day you'll be serving the salad, then serving a warm pasta salad. I've made it both ways, served cold and hot- both are fabulous!
- family pack of 8 thighs or a whole chicken, rinsed and excess fat cut off
- 5 cloves of garlic, whole (this will also be used for the dressing)
- 4 to 5 cups of water
- 2 vegetable bullion cubes
Place the above ingredients in a 5 to 6 quart crock pot, cover and place on low. Cook until chicken is done. I will do this over night or I can start it in the morning and the chicken will be done in the afternoon. This all depends on your crock pot. I personally do it over night, makes it easier for the next step. OR you can boil the chicken on the stove top, taking less time. In the crock pot the chicken shreds so easily.
Once the chicken is done, turn off the crock pot or the stove. Place a colander/strainer over a large enough bowl to drain the chicken, carefully remove and save the cloves of garlic setting them aside along with the broth. Let chicken cool to touch.
Once chicken has reached a manageable handling temperature, remove all bones and throw the bones away. Place chicken, shredding it as you go in to a bowl, saving all the broth in a separate bowl. (save for dressing) Note: although you may only need 1/2 cup of broth for the dressing, you may need to make additional dressing if this is not enough. It all depends how much flavor you want. Sometimes I double it and others I don't. This all depends on the amount of veggies you add. All remaining broth can be used to add to recipes, or as a base.
- 1 pound of pasta. The type of pasta is is totally up to you. I use a multicolored rotinni pasta. You could use penne, elbow.. you name it. Be creative. The more grooves the pasta has, te more flavor it will hold.
- 1 red bell pepper- chopped into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces- depends on how much flavor you want in each bite
- 1 whole cucumber- chopped into 1/2 inch pieces you could do sliced rounds. Use your imagination, make your salad interesting with different shaped veggies.
- 1/2 cup of Mediterranean black olives, sliced you could use Spanish olives, or even black. What flavor would you like? do you like it tangier? or a little smoother?
- 16 ounce package of cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
- 16 ounces of artichoke hearts, quartered. DO NOT GET MARINATED artichokes- this will changed the flavor of the dressing.
- 4 ounces or crumbled goat cheese you could also use feta, or a smoked cheddar baring in mind the flavor it will add to the recipe.
Once pasta has finished boiling, drain pasta and let it rest for about ten minutes, and shaking it ever so gently at the end. This will really make sure that all the water is gone.
This salad is really creative. You could add any of your favorite veggies, there are no limits. You can add bamboo shoots, baby corn, maybe some water chestnuts.
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced from the crock pot with the chicken, any that are missing can be replace with fresh garlic.
- 1/2 cup of broth from the crock pot with the chicken
- 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of oregano
- 2 teaspoons of parsley
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- the juice of one lime
Next, throw the crumbled cheese in to the bowl with all the other ingredients and then add all the dressing. Toss salad gently, but really well.
Depending on how many additional veggies you may have added, you may or may not need more dressing.
This is a really laid back recipe and there are no rules. It all also depends on your pallet and how many flavors you can handle at once. wink, wink.
By the way... this recipe is one of those recipes that is fabulous for left overs.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
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