Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Menu ~ Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

Hold on to your hats, Monday Menu is back!  After a very unintentional hiatus, it's back.  Life just gets in the way of good intentions sometimes, and Mondays seemed to come and go with no thought given to this.  And it's so funny...because these menu posts very rarely get comments, which is fine.  I really do this to document things for my kids.  And I'm glad to have these recipes in an accessible way.  But, because they get no comments, I assume they would not be missed.  And then I start hearing a low, gentle rumble headed my way...and it gets a bit louder and rumblier and it comes out in the form of, "when are Monday Menus coming back?" "How come you aren't posting recipes anymore" or "I really like the recipes, are you going to post any more soon??"  or my FAVORITE: "you aren't putting very many Monday Menus up anymore, does that mean you aren't cooking very much anymore?"  I wish it were that easy.  "Sorry, kids, mommy didn't blog today, so there will be no dinner."  That just makes me chuckle.

So, in the interest of all the silent but lovely people who are missing Monday Menu, this one is for you!  And actually for all of you, because it is sensational.  I snagged this from Marlece, made it for the first time on vacation, and have made it already since we've been home.  It makes a huge amount, and tastes great as left-overs.  In fact, I ate it for dinner three nights in a row.  It's a perfect summer meal!

oh, sorry...there I go fantasizing again...

THIS is the real salad!

Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad With Chicken and Asparagus

Creamy Buttermilk Dressing:

1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 TBSP rice vinegar

Pasta Salad:

2 TBSP salt
1 pound penne pasta (Marlece uses bow tie, I use penne, the last time I used a mix of penne a small shells, so do whatever)
8 oz. trimmed asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound cooked chicken (I just cooked a whole chicken a pulled off a bunch into bite-sized pieces.  or just use a Costco rotisserie chicken, or be all healthy and do just chicken breasts.)
8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved (I'm such a rebel: I used 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped coarsely)
1 (14 oz.) can whole artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (the 2nd time I made this, I only had a jar of marinated artichoke hearts.  I used 'em and it was fabulous.)
3 green onions, thinly sliced (or just finely dice a good amount of sweet onion, tastes great either way)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted in a small skillet over low heat until golden (I have yet to add this, but I know it would be great)
1/3 cup pesto (homemade or refrigerated prepared)

mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl; keep chilled until ready to toss with salad.

bring water and salt to boil in a large pot.  add pasta and cook according to package directions.  Add the asparagus the last minute.  Drain thoroughly and dump onto a large, lipped cookie sheet to cool.  When cool to the touch, add to a large bowl and toss together all remaining ingredients.  (Can be covered and refrigerated for several hours at this point.)  When ready to serve, add dressing, toss to coat and serve.

And, as a bonus, here's a new favorite thing from Costo:

The Arends introduced us to this amazing bread on vacation:

A  piece of this toasted goes beautifully with this salad.



  1. ok sister, I do love this too! So glad you are posting it too!

  2. Oh Marlece, you beat me to the first comment on the menu post! Leanne (and Marlece!) I think this salad was hands down the best menu item on our week away! Thanks for posting it! And just so everybody knows, the hands down best NON menu item was the homemade ice-cream made with whipping cream. yummmm.....