Tuesday, August 3, 2010

She Raided the Hurricane Stash...Quickie Summer Chicken and Pasta Salad

Nap time is a time for mommies to get much needed breaks from their cherub children. Sometimes mommies will indulge in a movie and completely forget that they still have to make dinner and care for children once they wake up. Sometimes mommies forget to defrost some meat for dinner and are left wondering what to make with an hour to spare. (the movie was Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton's newest creation. It was delightful and I had a hard time snapping out of it and back into reality)

I enter the pantry and start digging. I have to say, I did tap into the Hurricane Stash. Cringe. Cardinal sin this time of year and to make it even more sinful, I used canned chicken. Please don't stop reading now...pretty sure you've all done it at one time or another. Anyways, this was an emergency in it's own right.

I grab the forbidden canned chicken breast (the giant can-size you get at Sam's Club) all the while waiting for the Red Queen, (or the Queen of Hearts), to start screaming "Off with her head!". But I left the pantry unscathed and head attached.

Raiding the frig is so much fun. Especially when I don't know what I am doing. As I peer into the vegetable drawers, my mind is ticking away at how I can form what is in there into food that will be good, creative and fun to eat. I am reminded of a pasta salad my mom used to make when I was a kid.

We would spend all day at the pool. Once we got home, the only thing we could focus on was our hunger. (swimming always makes me insanely hungry.) We would make whatever was quick and didn't heat up the house. One of those dishes was a cold tuna pasta salad with peas and tiny chunks of cheddar cheese. There was lots of mayo and green onion. I think the peas were there only to create what looked nutritious. It was cold, creamy and filled up our swimmer-hungry bellies just fine.

So, inspired by such a salad but not by the calories, I skimmed it down to lighter ingredients and injected fresh herbal and citrus notes. I threw in some fruit for sweetness too. I think the greatest thing about this all-in-one meal is that you could use shrimp or flaked fish from the night before. It could be one of those salads where you dump in all the veggies that are on their way to veggie heaven, before they expire, that is. It would be great for a girls luncheon (though, I never go to anything called a "luncheon", don't quite know why I'm even using that word, except this is the kind of food us girls like.) or a baby shower. But as feminine as this salad may be, it was still masculine enough for the hubs to chomp it down like a man.

 light sour cream

light mayo

me chopping, seemingly incredibly fast, but not.

organic Gala apples, small dice

lemon squeezy

salad being mixed and making that luscious, sticky-smooshy sound

The soft focus on this pic makes me want to sing an angelic "Ahhh-hh!"

sprouts for crunch

toasty bread for even more crunch...you know I like my crunch.

marveling at the crunch...the fork is jealous in a "forky" kind of way.

Summer Chicken and Pasta Salad

prep time: 1hr.
serves: 4

1/2 lb. orecchiette pasta, or whatever you like, cooked al dente, cooled under cold running water
1/4 c. (heaping) light sour cream
1/4 c. (heaping) light mayo
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 c. finely chopped fresh basil (about 4 large sprigs)
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 gala (or other) apple, small dice
1 handful of grapes, cut in half
1 large can of chicken breast or 1 cup cooked chicken, fish, shrimp
Salt and Pepper
Clover sprouts for garnish
Toasty, crusty bread to eat with it

Dump everything into a large bowl and mix it up. Now if you are super hungry, like we were, just eat right away, but otherwise letting it set in the frig for an hour will give the flavors time to marry. Top with your crunchy sprouts and serve with bread.

Stay cool, Foodies!


  1. Looking good Lauren. Adjust your lighting a bit and you got it (= And I see your little one in the background of the celery chopping shot. And yay to being a featured publisher! Let me know if I can help in other ways (=

  2. very nice :) and no I didn't stop reading when you said you used canned chicken :))) I understand I do the same too, canned chicken and canned tuna are for emergencies when you don't feel like cooking or you simply don't have the energy/time.

    Even then.... you're salad looks phenomenal.

  3. This came out really nice. If you didn't tell me, I wouldn't think for a minute that it was a quickie whip-up. I just wrote something similar about how sometimes the best dishes come during times like these!

  4. ah ha haaaa - nahhh, i always believed the "unpardonable sin" was to be "too full" to share a nibble with another soul - therefore I always save a little room in my tummy for an unexpected nosh, you never know when a good friend - or- a new friend will cross your path - right?

    sounds yummy, just the kind of nosh my girlie friends would dig, although still can't get the hubs to eat pasta salad....who the heck doesn't like pasta salad? ok, perhaps THAT is the unpardonable sin.....


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