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A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish

Best Chicken Pasta Salad

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A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish

Carrie’s Chicken Pasta Salad

My husband and I love a really good pasta salad, so I tweaked and experimented and created the Best Chicken Pasta Salad, which I named after me:) 

With it’s creamy perfectly balanced flavored dressing, crisp  tart apples, smoky Gouda cheese, velvety avocado, crunchy almonds; combined with the other scrumptious ingredients, we think you will agree too that this is the Best Chicken Pasta Salad!

This will generously serve 4-6 adults with a loaf of crusty bread.

It’s a great recipe for a picnic, just be sure to keep it cold because of the mayonnaise and the chicken.

Carrie’s Chicken Pasta Salad

Salad Ingredients:

2-3 green apples, cored and cut into small bite-sized pieces; my handsome hubby prefers I peel the skin off, so that’s a personal preference too (the tart balances the other flavors and compliments the smokey cheese)

3-4 cups of cooked chicken,  A rotisserie chicken is fabulous here and what I generally use.

3/4 – 1 cup celery, chopped into small pieces

8-12 oz. Gouda cheese, cut into small pieces (the package of sliced is the usually the most cost effective, just dice it up)

2-3 avocados, diced

2 cups seedless red grapes, cut in halves (they look pretty, but can use green grapes if they are sweeter and in season)

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted* and cooled

16 oz / 1 lb. package of Rotini style pasta (corkscrew type to hold all the good dressing in and sturdy enough for the other ingredients – use a GOOD brand or it falls apart when you add in the other ingredients.  I prefer Barilla pasta)

 

Dressing Ingredients:

16-18 oz. light mayonnaise (2 – 2 ¼ cups), only real mayo here, please don’t use Miracle Whip.  You can use regular if you’d prefer over light

1/2 cup light sour cream (you can use regular instead of light)

1 ½ Tbl. poppy seeds

2 Tbl. honey

5 Tbl. lemon juice (bottled or fresh)

3 Tbl. seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning

1/2 – 1 tsp. roasted garlic seasoning, optional, but balances the sweet nicely – I use McCormick Grill Mates Roasted Garlic & Herb

1/2 tsp. Emerill’s original seasoning




Directions:

First toast the nuts as shown below*

Cook pasta as directed on package.

When the pasta is al dente (not mushy or too soft), rinse and drain to remove the starch so it isn’t sticky and clumpy later after it sits.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Pour the dressing ingredients over the salad ingredients and combine gently.

Gently toss in the pasta and fold till all mixed through.

 It is best to serve this salad chilled for at least an hour. It sits well over night too.

Carrie's Chicken Pasta Salad *To toast nuts, pour them into a non-stick pan and cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly until the nuts are a slightly browned.

It only takes a few minutes but it brings out a delicious deep flavor.
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My Carrie’s BEST Chicken Pasta Salad would be perfect to take to a neighbor, friend or family member in need.  If you’d like to know more, I have this post:  What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat

And even more information at    How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?

A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish

Carrie’s Chicken Pasta Salad

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2018

Copyright and recipe by Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

 

 




A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Easy Pizza Pasta Bake

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A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Best Pepperoni Pasta Bake

My family wants this Easy Pizza Pasta Bake in our regular meal rotation and I like to include it because it’s so simple.

The flavors come together in a really complex way to showcase this dish that is not just ‘a casserole’ but a WOW, what’s in that AMAZING pasta!?!

It’s a family friendly meal that’s a perfect choice to take to a friend or neighbor in need.  You can read more about that  in What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat

I hope you make this Easy Pizza Pasta Bake tonight and let us know how you enjoyed it.

Easy Pizza Pasta Bake

Ingredients:

16 oz. Rotini pasta cooked (I really like Barilla pasta)

2 Tbl.  oil of your choice; choose one that has a very mild flavor, or no taste at all

2 – 23.9 oz. jars of your favorite pasta sauce  – I used Prego Italian Sausage & Garlic for this recipe

1/2 cup water – divided between the two bottles to rinse the rest of the sauce out of the bottle

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 teaspoons oregano,  leaf (not ground)

6 oz. can whole olives, sliced (hold out 1/8 cup for the top)

3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (divided)

4-6 oz. pepperoni, quartered (except hold out approximately 20 whole pepperoni for the top)

1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Coat your 9″ x 13″ baking dish with spray release.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; following instruction on the package,A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.Cook the pasta to al dent. Meaning it still has a little ‘bite’ to it, and is not mushy or cooked quite all the way through.

When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain in a colander, rinse and pour the 2 Tablespoons oil of your choice over pasta, gently mix it over all of the pasta with your hand or a spatula to coat it all evenly.  Allow the coated pasta to sit in the colander while you prepare the sauce.A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Rinse out the pan and put it back on the stove.

Into the pan, pour in:

2 jars of pasta sauce

In each bottle of pasta sauce pour 1/4 cup of water and shake well to get all of the pasta sauce rinsed out. Pour this into the pan with the pasta sauce.

Add in the balsamic vinegar, Oregano, sliced olives (reserving about 1/8 cup for the top), fresh Parmesan cheese, TWO cups of the mozzarella cheese, and the quartered pepperoni (holding out approximately 20 whole pepperoni for the top)

Bring to a simmer and cook on low for 2 minutes.

Add in the pasta and stir GENTLY.A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Pour this mixture into your prepared baking pan.A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Top with the rest of Mozzerella cheese – 1 cup. 

The reserved whole pepperoni and the 1/4 cup sliced olives.A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly all through.A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Best Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Serve hot.

A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Best Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Carrie Groneman’s recipe

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.