Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

So it’s been a whole like, 5 blog posts since I did something buffalo-flavored so I just have to go ahead and rectify that issue.

When I started doing the weight watchers thing, I loved the frozen meals that already had the points included. I had a few favorites that I’d load up on during sales at the grocery stores! After a while though, I got bored. I’d walk to the freezer at work and look at my lunch for the day and think “Yuck.”

The problem is that when I cook recipes, I usually cook for two so it’s rare to have too many leftovers for lunch. So I decided to just make lunch dishes while making dinner!

I found that bringing a nice cold pasta salad for work is always refreshing (like the one I showed you last week) – and a homemade dish never makes me think “Yuck” as lunch time approaches! You should definitely give this one a try!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad (Serves 4 / 7 WW pts. per serving)

5 oz. penne pasta (enriched or whole wheat)

1 c. cooked chicken breast, shredded

1/2 c. carrot, chopped

1/2 c. celery, chopped

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 c. Frank’s red hot sauce + 1 Tbsp. if desired

1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. celery salt

1/2 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Cook chicken by boiling or baking and shred with two forks. 

Add chicken to drained pasta.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, hot sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder and celery salt.

Add chopped carrots and celery to chicken and pasta. Then add your blue cheese crumbles.

Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss until combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Serve cold…and enjoy a delicious lunch that beats anything you stick in the microwave…

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On the Move!

I seriously apologize for the lack of posting – I know, some blog I have going.

It has been a whirlwind of activity! With last week being the 4th of July and us not going anywhere, we decided to have a little get together – which meant 1 solid evening of preparing food and the other putting the finishing touches on everything!

Then we had to run home on the 4th of July, do laundry and pack because on Thursday, we flew to Pittsburgh to stay with one of my best friends from college for a day. We had so much fun seeing her and her fiance, who are getting married in October – and enjoyed exploring the city for a day! The husband experienced his first Primanti’s sandwich (which is piled with your choice of meat, then cheese, coleslaw and french fries!) – and we got to take the incline to the top of Mt. Washington to get an amazing view of downtown Pittsburgh. And, of course, we went to a Pirates game that evening!

On Saturday, we drove to Ohio for another college friend’s wedding – which was absolutely beautiful! Probably a bit hotter than she had bargained for – but it was such a great time, as it always is when I get to hang out with my girls.

So, as y’all may have noticed – it’s been brutally hot lately! A few weeks ago, the husband and I decided to brave the elements and go to a drive-in movie. I had planned on chicken tenders – but he said he wanted something cold before we went. Like a pasta salad.

I was totally okay with that, because I had just the thing to whip up – a tortellini and veggie pasta salad! It is so delicious and I’m sure it would be easy to adapt for tailgating, picnics, etc. by throwing some olives or salami/pepperoni. Consider this delicious recipe my apology for falling off the face of the earth the past few weeks…

Tortellini and Vegetable Pasta Salad (serves 4)

Dressing:

2 Tbsp. minced shallot

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/4 c. olive oil

Salad:

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

9 oz. cheese tortellini

1/3 c. red onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 c. fat-free feta, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Add dressing ingredients together in a small food processor and pulse a few times until blended well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to directions. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

Refill the pot with water and bring to boil. Add asparagus and cook 2-3 minutes. Have a bowl of cold water or ice nearby. Transfer asparagus to cold temperature – this will keep it from cooking any longer and allow it to keep the pretty green color!

Add chopped veggies to the tortellini and stir to combine.

Pour dressing over top and sprinkle with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir until combined.

Add crumbled feta and stir again until combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Then, it’s time to dig in! I definitely want to double this next time to make some yummy lunches for the week…

BLT Pasta Salad

I hope everybody had a fabulous Mother’s Day weekend and that all of the mommies out there got a little spoiled for a day!

Now I’ll give you a little something to spoil yourself without feeling too guilty…

I think my favorite sandwich to eat is a BLT – love the soft bread, cool tomato, crisp lettuce and crunchy bacon! And okay, I hate mayo on sandwiches – but just a little glaze of it just does the trick.

Now I don’t know about you, but it’s easy to make myself a healthy lunch during the week – but if I forget to pack a lunch or that frozen thing just isn’t sounding good to me, it’s hard to find something healthy that’s also not breaking the bank (I’m sorry, $7 for a sandwich just does not work for me!)

So seriously, do yourself a favor. This is so easy to throw together and you can totally make enough to enjoy a few days a week! Best part…you don’t have to worry about bread getting soggy!

BLT Pasta Salad (Serves 2-3)

4 oz. Barilla plus elbow noodles

1 medium tomato

2 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise

1/4 tsp. dried mustard

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

1 slice turkey bacon

salt and pepper to taste

Fill medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside until cooled.

While pasta is boiling, cook your bacon in the microwave. Crumble and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise and dry mustard.

Chop tomato and add diced pieces, along with juice, to mayonnaise. Mix well until blended. Add a few dashes of salt and pepper. (You can always add more later!)

Once your pasta is cooled, add to the mayonnaise/tomato mixture until coated well.

Tear spinach slightly and measure 1 cup. Add to pasta and chill.

Add bacon just before serving.

I took the bacon in a plastic bag to work and added it just before I ate. Yes, that means I sat at my desk with a piece of bacon in my drawer for a few hours…

That’s just how I roll.