Thursday, May 1, 2014

5/1/2014 ChefElla's Southwestern Fried Chicken Pasta Salad

Yesterday I saw my Mom's garden starting to peek out of the ground.  The green plants reminded me that no matter how cold and rainy it may be now it will be warm soon.  All I could think about was eating outside with my friends.  Picnics, parks, pools, and parties all summer.  In the spirit of the warm weather and sun coming back soon I wanted to share an easy salad recipe that you can share with your friends.  So think warm and enjoy this easy to make southwestern fried chicken pasta salad.

For this recipe you will need to use the stove and a knife.  If you are not allowed to use the stove or a knife by yourself you can have a grown up help.

1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a pot to prepare your pasta, a large
    spoon, a strainer, a really big bowl, a whisk, a knife and a cutting board.

ChefElla's Southwestern Fried Chicken Pasta Salad
Ingredients: (This recipe will make 10-12 servings.)
12oz         Tri-Color Rotini Pasta, Dried (one box).
                 -You could also use whole wheat, or vegetable fortified pasta 
12 oz        Chicken Strips or Nuggets (about 4-5 large chicken strips)
                 -If you do not want to use fried chicken in your salad you could substitute grilled chicken.
2 ea.         Roma Tomatoes, Medium Dice
1 can        Black Beans (15oz can), Drain and Rinse
1 can        Black Olives, (2.25 oz can) Drained
1/2 Cup    Scallions (Green Onion), Thin Sliced, (2-3 green onions)
                -Wash the green onion and cut off the small root end.  Slice the green onion into thin circles.
                 Be careful because the green onion can roll while cutting it.
1 Cup       Corn, (Either fresh or frozen corn will work.)
3/4 Cup   Ranch Dressing (Use your favorite kind)
1/2 Cup    Salsa, Mild (If you like things spicy you can use medium or spicy salsa for your recipe.)
1 tsp          Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp      Cumin, ground
Garnish:    Tortilla Chips (crushed) or Tortilla Strips.

3. Cook chicken strips following the direction on the package.  When done put the chicken on a plate
    uncovered and put in the refrigerator to cool.
4. Prepare noodles following the directions on the package.  When the noodles are done, drain and
    run cold water over the noodles.  This will stop the noodles from cooking any further and they will
    be cooled down for the salad.  Let the noodles sit in the strainer and drain until you need them.
5. In your large bowl add ranch dressing, salsa, cumin and salt and mix well with your whisk.
6. Add pasta to your mixing bowl, and mix the pasta with the dressing, using your large spoon.
    Be careful not to mix to hard so that you do not break the noodles.
7. Add black beans, diced roma tomatoes, olives, corn and sliced green onions to your pasta salad.
    Mix well.
8. Take cooled chicken strips out of the refrigerator, and cut into strips.  Do not cut them too thin or
    they will break apart when you mix them into the salad.
9. Mix chicken into pasta salad.
10. Garnish the salad with tortilla chips or tortilla strips.

This salad is easy to make and it will be the hit of any pool party, picnic, or summer party.


- ChefElla

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