May 7, 2013

Roasted chicken pesto pasta salad

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Roasted Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

We are still on a big budget challenge this month, so I’m trying to avoid the store as much as possible. Sunday I roasted two chickens I had in the freezer – with plans to eat leftovers the next day. I thought we would have roasted chicken salad, but I never made it to the store for fresh lettuce. So we had a roasted chicken pesto pasta salad.

The best thing about this meal is we had everything on hand. The pasta was in our stockpile, I made the pesto last fall and it was in the freezer, and I tossed it with pine nuts and parmesan.

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Here are instructions for making homemade pesto. I make it anytime I can find basil on markdown at the grocery store. It freezes so well – I like to freeze it in 1 Tablespoon dollops in my mini muffin pan.

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Here are instructions for roasting your whole chickens. I almost always roast two at once – the amount of work is nearly the same as if you roast one, but you have leftovers the next day. Or if you’re in a hurry pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store.

To make the pasta salad:

1.) Boil your pasta per the instructions on the box. We used a wheat penne pasta.

2.) If your pesto is frozen (mine was), add it to a sauce pan with a little water and melt it over low to medium heat.

3.) Slice up your roasted chicken into bite size pieces.

4.) Drain your pasta, save a little pasta water (a couple Tablespoons) and pour into pesto. Heat pesto and heat up until it’s a consistency you like.

4.) In a large bowl toss together pasta, chicken and pesto. Stir well so pesto coats everything. Then shave real parmesan cheese on top and toasted pine nuts.

I wish I would had some big bella mushrooms or cherry tomatoes to add, but that would have required a trip to the store and money, which I’m trying to save.

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What’s your favorite pasta salad? What’s your favorite pesto meal?

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