Monday, August 5, 2013

Chicken Caesar pasta salad

I don't know what I loved more tonight:  my dinner or the season finale of Desiree's Bachelorette season. I think I'm going to go with dinner, because I wanted seconds of that.
But first, my take on the Bachelorette.
1. Brooks made the biggest mistake of his life. I like a guy with a softer side, but he's too soft. And missed out big time. And doesn't know what love is. Ouch, I'm bru-tal tonight.
2. Drew is so sweet and classy. Any man who understands and loves someone with special needs would be an amazing husband and father.
3. Chris keeps getting more good looking every episode. Or is it his tan? Or was it the suit with sexy tie-tack. Did I just say "sexy tie-tack"?
4. Usually I don't like the girls' dresses on the After the Final Rose episode, but Des looks amazing. When I'm done with this post I'm going to Google the Desiree Hartsock meal plan. I will eat whatever that girl eats if it means I can have those abs. Even queso. No, not queso. Ever.
Dinner....mmmmm! Hotter than a hot tub with Zack and James. (My hottie faves this season. Yes, James was swoon-worthy despite questionable behavior and the horrible purple polo.)
I was inspired by this pin on my Things to Eat board. The Bowtie Chicken Caesar salad from The Girl Who Ate Everything blog. Link to this awesome foodie blog here. It reminded me of a meal they serve at Cheddar's Restaurant, the chicken caesar pasta salad. Which when I waited tables there (and met my  husband) I HATED because they served it over pasta with alfredo, ew. And writing the server's shortcut for that meal was a pain. CCPS? CC pas? I always forgot what abbreviation to use so I'd get to my Squirrel machine to put in the order and sit there like "wth".  I think I just wrote "eww" a few times on my pad as I smiled and said "Great choice!" to the customer. Yup, so inspired for my dinner, right? But a lot of people liked that. So when I saw the pin that looked extra tasty I thought it was worth a go. An adapted go. Because I am iffy on bowtie pasta. Love it at La Madeleine, hate it most everywhere else. I love me some penne. Some whole wheat penne. Mmm...  So, check out the pic of my meal.

Taste-tastic, right?
My recipe:
1. Boil your noodle of choice: bowtie or penne. (Go penne!)
2. Chop romaine. (I like to wash and chop mine when I get home from the store and put it a Rubbermaid vegetable foodsaver container.)
3. Drain and let pasta cool.
4. Sautee diced chicken (I use the frozen pre-diced chicken) with olive oil, 1 tbs minced garlic, and Mrs. Dash.
5. Chop cooked diced chicken. Let cool.
6. Put noodles in the bottom of the bowl, add romaine and chicken on top. Accessorize with toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese (or Italian cheese mix - I did it both ways tonight! yum!), capers (if you have them), heirloom tomatoes (if you have them, I didn't, lames), croutons if you wish, and black olives (of course - every meal worth its whatever has black olives. I'm obsessed.) Pine Nuts are amazing, high in protein and iron, great for heart health, vision, energy boosting, and weight suppressing. Pine Nut donuts anyone? Try them in your pasta too, mmm so good! They make a meal. Love them!
7. Sprinkle some milled chia seed on top. What's chia, you ask?  As in Chia Pet? Yes. Chia is a great source of vitamins and fiber. Read more here about the benefits of chia.  I mix it in my yogurt, pasta sauce, taco meat, anything. It's got a slightly nutty flavor but no calories and so many benefits for you.
8. Chill the whole shebang in the fridge while you play a few rounds of Candy Crush.
9. Finish it off with a drizzle of your fave Caesar dressing. I second The Girl Who Eats Everything with the Brianna's asiago Caesar dressing. I drizzled lightly then mixed it as I ate. I hate a soggy Caesar salad drowning in dressing, that ruins it, so if you do that - don't credit me for this recipe. Ha!

One more pic.

Periously dangling off the counter is the best way to serve chicken caesar pasta salad. And eating it on the couch after the kids have gone to bed and watching the season finale of the Bachelorette, even better. Finish it before Juan Pablo gets on the screen. Usually a double first name is a deal breaker, but Juan Pablo might be a divorce-maker, am I right ladies? Gorgeous. Put the man back in his chaps, please. I mean, the speedo, put him in the speedo. Wait, the suit is quite nice. Okay, suit jacket, tie, speedo, and chaps. THAT is a recipe for a yummy Juan Pablo.
Anyways, the recipe was a total winner. I'm thinking for my working mama gals this is the perfect quickie meal. The chicken could be done in the crockpot during the day, the pasta the night before, toss it all together in under 10 minutes. Done. If you cook the pasta and chicken like I did? This was an under 20 minute meal.  The kids liked it separated out, no dressing, fruit on the side. "Butter noodles" thrill a kid, right? They did ask me to sprinkle on the cheese and black olives. Clearly I've raised them well. Yes mom, they did say please and thank you.

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