With an abnormally warm week, dinner’s have been spent outside on the patio. Yard work has gotten done, and the kids and I spend a lot of time playing soccer, running, or biking outside.
Which is how I found the rocks on the roof. When I quizzed my little boy about how the rocks got on the roof (knowing full well that it was him) he replied, “I’ll tell you in 55 years, Mom. And they’re not rocks, they are crystals.” Guilty. Mom 1, Kids 0.
One of my favorite dinners is a good pasta salad. This one is perfect for those in between days that can’t decide if the weathers wants to welcome in summer or stay springlike. I call them “days that you don’t want to turn on the air conditioner, but won’t turn on the oven for fear of dying of heat stroke.”
At least there are good pasta salads like this to come to the rescue.
Parmesan Chicken Pasta Salad
12oz bow tie pasta*
2 cups broccoli florets
4 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
1 pound chicken breast, cooked and cut into small pieces
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz jar (or fresh equivalent) diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli florets the final three minutes of cooking.
Drain, reserving one cup of the liquid. Toss the pasta salad and broccoli with 1 tbsp of the balsamic vinaigrette to keep the pasta from sticking together.
In a skillet, place remaining vinaigrette and warm over medium high heat. Add the chicken, onion, and garlic and continue to saute for several minutes until onion and garlic brown slightly. Add the tomatoes and continue to heat until tomatoes are warmed. Turn off heat, and toss with pasta and broccoli. Top with parmesan cheese and drizzle with additional balsamic vinaigrette if desired. Serve with crusty bread.
* I’ve tried this with whole wheat pasta and it overpowers the flavors of the salad. Stick with rice or white pasta on this one. Just make sure you use pasta that uses unbleached white flour.