Tasty Thursday: Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

When we grill chicken, we tend to toss a few extra breasts on the grill to be used in dinner later in the week or for lunchtime salads. This week I had a few grilled chicken breasts waiting to be used and I was looking for a summery recipe that wouldn’t heat up the kitchen. I dug out an old Cooking Light recipe, made a few modifications so it would feed the whole family and it was delicious. Cool, full of fresh veggies and hearty enough to be a meal all by itself.

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Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

  • 1 box of short pasta (penne, bowtie, rotini etc)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked & chopped
  • 2 cups of fresh corn kernels (2 ears should be enough)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large handful of spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB canned chipotle chiles in sauce, chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. While it’s cooking chop up your chicken & veggies. Put all chopped up food in a large bowl.

2. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl. Mix well with the chicken and veggies.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, olive oil and chopped chipotle chiles. Drizzle over the pasta, chicken & veggies and mix well. Add the salt, pepper & cheese and mix to incorporate. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve cold.

Note: It’s not too spicy but spicy enough that my girls wouldn’t like it. For them I took out a few scoops of the chicken, pasta & veggies and put it in a separate bowl. Then when I was making the dressing. I whisked it together before adding the chipotle and drizzled some of that over their portion. Then I added the chipotle, whisked it together again and drizzled it over the main dish.

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