Fabulous Summer Salad! Also works well for lunch.
We have reworked the recipe by marinating cubed chicken which you will cook! We also felt tri-colored rotini would add a bit of fun and color to the dish. We hope all are happy with it!
I read through the recipe and got out the pots and pans I would use.
A. 2qt pot of salted water for the rotini. 4-6qt pot will be needed for the Large or XL portions
B. Skillet to sear the meat. This may be small for the single portions, but in most cases a 10” skillet will do. You may decide to cook the meat in two batches if you have the L or XL portion size of meat. You may even want a bigger skillet.
C. Lay out and go over your ingredient bags. 1. Cubed Marinated Chicken 2. Black Olives 3. Feta Cheese 4. Tomatoes, Artichokes, Garlic, Oregano 5. Rotini 6. Salad Dressing
Put pot of salted water on high heat to bring to a boil. Using a lid on the pot makes it reach a boil faster…
Place the tomato/artichoke ingredient bag into a bowl which will be large enough to hold your salad. I added my Salad Dressing and mixed well to allow the ingredients to get to know each other! I held out the olives and feta. Depending on. your audience, you can add these later to the finished salad or mix these in now
Add the Rotini to the boiling pasta water, stir and simmer for 8-12 minutes. Cooking time will depend on volume of pasta to water… Taste test, should have less than a minimum bite in the middle of the rotini. Once done, drain pasta in a strainer and run cold water over pasta to cool it down. I allow this to drip in the pot while working the other components of the salad.
Place skillet on a medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Oil. Get oil hot. Consider putting heat on medium high. Drain the marinate off the chicken using a strainer. We want a quick, searing method on the meat. Don’t overload the pan with the meat, we want any moisture to evaporate, not become liquid in the pan. We are searing the meat, not simmering it. Allow meat to cook for 3 minutes. You may choose to season the meat with some salt and pepper. (Reminder, the marinate has some salt in it) Flip, stir, move it around and allow to cook for 3 more minutes. Allowing the meat to brown adds more flavor! Yum!
Love My Cast Iron!
You will see that there is some moisture in my pan, I pulled the pan from the heat and carefully poured the moisture into a bowl. It would keep my chicken from browning. After the liquid cooled, I poured in into my trash can. Frequently, I add a paper towel to the trash can and pour the liquid into it to have it absorbed. I don't like to put greasy liquid into my drains.
Once meat is cooked, remove it from pan to cool. Technically, we are creating a salad, which one usually associates with being cold or room temperature. I allowed the meat to cool as I finished the pasta.
I added my warmish chicken to my cold marinated vegetables to help the chicken cool a bit more before adding in my pasta, feta and black olives...
Place all ingredients in a serving bowl and mix. At this point, the Feta and Black Olives can be added to the Salad or put on the individual portions.
And Remember…. Get the kids to help set the table. Placemat, Fork, Knife, Folded Napkin, Cup or Glass for their drinks. Teach them: Forks go on the left and knives and spoons go on the right. (To remember: “Fork” has four letters, as does “left”; “knife” and “spoon” both have five letters, as does “right.”) Folded Napkin under the Fork on the left side. A set table sets up a nice protocol for family time. Not always easy to do and it gives kids a chance to share about their day.
NO CELL PHONES...that includes mom and dad!