Tag Archives: salad

Grilled Chicken and Pasta Salad. Nom nom nom.

1.  I have been feeling under the weather lately; I’ll write about that tomorrow (when I’m hopefully feeling better).

2.  There is a commercial on tv for iced tea and iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts.  I know I already said about how much I enjoy coffee, but dang some iced tea sounds pretty fantastic right now.

3.  I was so freaking hungry today when I woke up.

There are a few things to know about me:

a.) I am not a morning person.
b.) I am not a breakfast person.
c.) It takes me a while in the morning to work up an appetite.

When I woke up, my first thought was how hungry I was.  I was hungry for one of those huge breakfasts you get at a diner after a night of drinking, or the breakfasts you get at a chain restaurant when you are on a family road trip.  The bacon, the eggs (over easy), the toast (wheat and butter), hash browns, and about two bites of pancakes (because I think I’m the only person in the world who finds pancakes to be incredibly filling).

But let’s face it–I’m single, jobless, and a little blah feeling.  Am I going to make a huge ass breakfast?  No way.

I found some hot dogs in the fridge.  Boo ya.  I was frying them up, and my phone rang.  It was my brother.

Me:  Hello?
Him:  Hey, do we have any chicken in the freezer?  I am so freaking hungry I can’t help but think about dinner.
Me:  You’re such a fattie.  Yes, I found some.
Him:  What are you up to?
Me:  Making hot dogs, because I’m starving.

That is why we are pretty decent roommates 🙂

We ended up grilling the chicken breasts (and thus subjecting ourselves to our bizarre neighbours), as well as some zucchini and corn on the cob.  Mmmm.

We added the chicken to a pasta salad we made–pasta, Italian dressing, the packet of dry Italian dressing seasonings (um, what’s it called?  Good

Chicken Pasta Salad

Chicken Pasta Salad and Grilled Zucchini. I really should use my camera instead of taking pics with my phone. Oh wells.

Seasonings? I don’t even know), a cut up tomato, and an olive medley–kalamata, feta-stuffed, bleu cheese stuffed, and garlic stuffed).

Results?  Quite awesome!  We made tons of it, so I’m looking forward to lunch leftovers tomorrow.  When we make our normal pasta salad (like the type you have at a picnic), we add a lot more veggies.  But we decided to go a bit easier today for our entree.

I’ll make this a bit easier–

Ingredient list:

1.  Pasta.  We used what we had laying around the house, which happened to be the trio italiano mix of shells, penne, and rotini.  Salt your water, and don’t over cook your pasta–the pasta will absorb some of the dressing.  Drain and rinse with cool water.

2.  Italian dressing.  I used whatever I had in the fridge–It may have been the store brand, I have no clue.  I personally prefer the low or no fat dressings, because they are less oily.  You could also make your own.  Sometimes we add some creamy Italian dressing for texture.

3.  Packet of dry Italian dressing seasonings.  If sodium is a big deal, I’m sure you can use Mrs. Dash or some other low/no salt flavouring substitute.

4.  Chunked tomato. You could also use cherry or grape tomatoes or whatever you have handy.  You could even use canned tomatoes if you want.  You just might want to drain them before tossing them in.

5.  Olives.  I used olives because they are a comfort food and look pretty, but you could also toss in some bell pepper (bro doesn’t like peppers).

6.  Chicken.  Eh, it’s not necessary, but we wanted some more substance.

Mix.  Done.

My personal fave version of this salad is pasta, Italian dressing, tomatoes, cucumbers, and tuna and served with a crusty Italian bread.  Mmmmm.  I was raised Catholic.  Even though I don’t practice anymore, I still find it difficult to eat meat on Fridays (not just during Lent, either! My mama was raised during the times of Latin mass).  This is one of those perfect easy Friday meals.

We also grilled some zucchini and corn on the cob.  We must have had a crappy spring for growing stuff, because zucchini is still a little pricey here.  We drizzled it with olive oil and some of the dry Italian dressing seasoning packet.  It got a little dark (I guess that’s what happen when you grill in the dark, haha) but it was still tasty–it looks worse in the picture.  We pulled the silk off the corn (but still kept on the green leafy stuff), soaked it a bit, and tossed that on the grill as well.  Your leafy stalky green stuff will get black, charred, and burnt, but that’s OK–my fave part is when some of the kernels get a bit brown as well.  Mmmm it was delish–didn’t need butter or salt or any of that stuff.  For dessert, we had some sort of melon (Casaba, maybe?) that was alright–tasted a little overripe and probably the reason why it was on sale.

A pretty tasty and simple dinner, if you ask me.  I love these kinds of meals in the summer.

Alright, I’m out.  One of my sad, happy highlights is that I got sick of waiting for my basil plant to grow (I got a late start growing my herbs), so I purchased a very beautiful looking basil plant.  I’m also looking for a dill plant, but I couldn’t find one at the dirt mall or a local supermarket that has a pretty decent selection of potted herbs.  I’ve never had any problems finding dill in the past (and in my experience, it’s one of those easy to grow herbs), so I’m not sure what’s going on.

Most interesting thing I learned today:

Bac-Os (like the bacon bits) are apparently vegan.  I’m not vegan, but holy crap. The things you learn!

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Eating Cheaply and Feeling Filled from Salad

This is a typical conversation between my brother and I:

Me:  What’s for dinner?
Him:  I dunno.  What do you want?
Me:  I dunno.  What do you want?
Him:  I don’t care.
Me:  Me neither.

[long pause]

Me:  what about ________?
[looks over at brother, who is asleep]

Him:  Zzzzzzzzz.

Fin.

Anyway, sometimes I look for holidays or happenings to get an idea for dinner.  Cinco de Mayo?  Easy–tacos (while celebrating the Mexican victory over the French, thankyouverymuch). Flyers game last week? Cheesesteaks.  Guy Fawkes Day?  Fish and chips.  Cheesy and cliche?  Incredibly, but it helps with the ol “What’s for dinner?” dilemma.

Yesterday held beautiful blue skies and a chill in the air that reminded me of fall.  I could almost smell that distinct autumn scent in the air, which is pretty odd, because it’s June.  I was also craving a mega salad, so I combined the two.

Does anyone else remember growing up and a salad was not a big deal?  For

This is a mega awesome salad I had in Tokyo a few years ago. Sashimi (raw tuna and salmon) and some raw octopus and some ginger with a wicked wasabi soy vinegarette. Note the lack of croutons. Booooooo!

us, a salad meant lettuce, tomato, and cucumber.  Sometimes, if we were good, we got croutons (which I totally pronounce as crow-tins, thanks to the Cosby Show).  I have the feelng that this basic salad was commonplace until one day someone decided to put meat and whatever else they had laying around the house in their salad.  This has grown to the point where now in some salad entrees, there are more calories than its evil, child molesting uncle, the cheeseburger.

I was shopping last night, having a slight idea of what I wanted to put in the salad so it would have those autumn elements.  I was craving an apple, so I decided that would be a good start for my salad.  Walnuts go well with apples, plus the texture of nuts in salads are A+.  Cheese… ahhh, i think some nice bleu cheese would blend well with the apple and provide just the right amount of bitterness.  My brother helpfully added, “What about tomatoes?”  Hmmm not really what I was going for, but sure–the grape tomatoes were buy one get one free.

I strolled over to the produce section.  I was feeling lazy, so hello bagged greens.  I went for an Italian blend; I think it had Romaine, Raddichio, and Arugula.  I think.  Even better?  It was on the special “Let’s haul this shit outta town” rack, so it was cheap.

I suppose this is where I’m going to go on a tangent about cheap food.  I’m an advocate of stuff on clearance.  My salad blend was pretty cheap because the sell-by date was tomorrow.  I like this particular grocery store, because they tend to sell their perfectly good stuff for cheaper instead of just trash it.  They have pretty decent (and reasonable) meats for a supermarket–I picked up some hot italian sausage patties (the ground pork ones, not the pre-shaped kind) for 99 cents–I plan on breaking it up and adding it to some sauce for spaghetti.  It looked fine but the sell by date was nearing, hence the cheapness.

Back to my salad.  Here is what it was all about:

The Autumnish Salad

The Autumnish Salad. Don't hate me because of the fake plate.

–The green stuff.  Lettuce.  Salad mix.  You know.

–Gala apple, cubed with my brand new Chef’s knife that is super sharp that I got for cheap.  Galas were on sale and not too bad looking considering it’s not apple season.  Woo.

–Bleu cheese.  I got the prepackaged cheap crumbled stuff in the plastic container, because there were no hunks of bleu that were like, under $8.

–Walnuts.  Halved walnuts were on sale, woooo.  I saw a pretty sweet little package of candied walnuts and cranberries that probably would have been good, but they were way more expensive than the bag of plain walnuts.

–Grape tomatoes.  I don’t know how I survived before these became huge (haha, I’m funny).  Oh wait–because my mom cooked all my food for me.  That’s why!

–Olives (optional).  I gotta admit that I put some kalamata olives in my salad because they are a comfort food to me, and I’ve been feeling sorta blah lately.  My brother opted against them, because they still had pits in them.

–Grilled chicken breast.  We got this big bag from Sam’s Club–they are seasoned mesquite and grilled, you just plop them in the microwave or oven.  They are tasty to the extreme, and great for salads or just as a sammich.

–For dressing, we used a rapsberry vinegarette.  It was alright, but I think it overwhelmed the salad a bit.  I betcha an apple cider vinegarette would be the bomb diggity on it.

–We had premade garlic bread as an accompaniment.  Quick and sleazy.
Next time, I think I’d like to maybe add a hardboiled egg to it, or maybe some chickpeas or lentils to make it a little more dense and protein rich to go with the autumn theme.  Listen to me, BS’ing about this shit like I know what I’m doing, haha.

Anyway, I totally give it a thumbs up.  It was nom nom nom tasty.

Additional notes:

–I know I got my ingredients from the grocery store, but the dirt mall (aka farmer’s market) is my best friend in the summertime (sorry to my human best friends… I’ll be pals with you again when it’s cold).  My local one combines the elements of flea market, yard sale, and produce stands to make it a true dirt mall.  Much of the food (not all) in the summertime is from local farmers, so you are supporting local growers, the produce is not shipped from a thousand miles away so it’s fresher, and it’s cheaper than your local supermarket/Megalomart.    You can also buy pirated videos (Because I think we all need a little Girls Gone Wild on VHS in our lives), cheap socks, antiques, and fried chicken livers (I don’t get near that stuff… gross) at my local dirt mall.  They also now have a tattoo stand at my local one, which is a total WTF.  Also look for your local produce markets if you need your fix of fruits and veggies during a non-dirt mall day.  I live in the middle of nowhere, and we manage to have some places with great products and great prices (my dad bought 40 lbs. of bananas for 5 bucks one day because his wife told him to get her some bananas.  Hilarity, Pops.).

–I think I’m going to make a summer version of this, replacing the apples with raspberries or blackberries (or even strawberries).  The bleu can stay, but maybe a feta and olive combo would make for an interesting combo with a dressing that has lemon.  Hmmm…

–I know a lot of people put some sort of dressing on their salads, but I once saw on tv that you should always season your greens.  I normally grind some pepper (if you don’t own a pepper grinder, run RIGHT NOW and buy one) and a dash of salt in my salad mix, and I think it does do something to it.

–I looked in the fridge at the salad today and the apples weren’t really brown.  I’m trying to figure that one out… hmmm.

–I think this salad would have tasted supremely yummy with some beer biscuits.  You can make some awesome homemade rolls using Bisquick, beer, and sugar.  If you search the internets for a recipe, you’ll find one.   Using a heavier beer in the recipe makes for a good autumn food… those biscuit/roll/muffins and a oven roasted harvest veggies = heaven.

–It’s rainy and yucky here.  This morning, I listened to Coldplay.  It made me think of when I listened to Coldplay on bleak, rainy days in college.  I normally don’t listen to them, but there was something absolutely perfect about listening to them on grey days five years ago.  Though my musical palate has been refined a bit more since then, it still feels like a good fit.

That is all.  Good day, good night, and Go Flyers!