Need an idea for an everyday kid-friendly salad? Try out this easy to make chicken pasta salad!
My normal workday starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Before I go to work I need to wake and feed the kids (I have 3), get them dressed and drive the youngest of them to school. All of that takes about 1.5 hours. After I get off from work I have to pick up my youngest and drive home to make dinner. If dinner is not served by 6 p.m. I have 3 very hungry kids shouting and crying until they are fed. It all runs on af pretty tight schedule.
On the days where I have to take the kids to sports or other activities there is simply no time to make dinner. I then have 2 options: We can either eat takeout, which I often find to be unhealthy and expensive, or I can prepare the meal the day before or in the morning. So this recipe is my attempt to make something my kids find delicious and that can be made ready a day ahead. All you really need to do is to set the table and mix the salad together and you don’t have to listen to stressed out kids or even worse, a hangry husband.
Pasta salad with shredded chicken
Ingredients (Serves 6 people)
500 g pasta (preferably conchiglie/shells)
a bunch of basil
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1 dl olive oil
salt and pepper
1 kg skin- and boneless chicken
1/2 l chicken broth
50 g rocket salad washed and dried in a colander
400 g cocktail or cherry tomatoes cut in halves or quarters depending on size
100 g mini grissini sticks or garlic croutons
80 g roasted pine nuts
200 g pitted black olives (pick your own favorite)
Dressing (like a very easy Caesar salad dressing)
1.5 dl mayonnaise (my personal favorite is Hellmans)
3 anchovies in oil
1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
5 tbsp finely graten parmesan
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1.5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pepper to taste
Cook the pasta following the directions on the box/bag. The pasta should not be cooked al dente but longer, since they are cooled down immediately after cooking by putting the pasta in cold water after sifting away the hot. The pasta doesn’t have to be completely cold, lukewarm will do. Sift away the cold water too. Set the pasta away for later use.
To avoid the pasta from becoming sticky the next day, make a basil/garlic oil that goes into the pasta. What you do is mix garlic, olive oil and all the leaves from the bunch of basil in a blender and blend till there are no more whole leaves left. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and pour the basil oil over the pasta and mix together making sure that all the pasta is completly covered in basil oil. Cover and store in the refrigerator if needed.
Put the chicken in a saucepan and pour over chicken broth (if you use stock instead of broth make sure to season the stock, otherwise the chicken will have no taste), and if the broth doesn’t cover the chicken, add water until it does. Bring the saucepan to a boil and let the chicken cook over medium heat for 25 minutes till cooked through. Take the cooked chicken out of the water and shred it like you would pulled pork. Then leave it to cool and store in the refrigerator if needed.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in af blender till the mixture is totally smooth. You don’t need to season with salt since the anchovies do that for you, but sometimes you need to add a little pepper. The latter is of course a matter of taste. Again the dressing can go in the refrigerator if needed.
Just before serving you assemble the salad by gently mixing together the chicken, pasta and the washed rocket leaves. Top the salad with the tomatoes, olives, grissini sticks and the roasted pine nuts.
Dinner is served. Enjoy!