The Country Cook: Italian Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken
                                                   

Monday, June 2, 2014

Italian Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken

Recently I polled folks over on The Country Cook Facebook page and asked y'all what recipes you'd like to see right now on blog. And the overwhelming vote was for more salads and salad dressings. Personally, I love salads. I could eat them every single day. I especially love salads that aren't just as a side, they are the actual meal! The best way to make a salad more filling is to add some sort of protein to it. So when the opportunity came up to create a light and healthy meal using TYSON® GRILLED & READY® chicken as part of the TYSON® FOODS AND READY OR NOT RECIPE CHALLENGE, I knew right away that I had to throw that chicken in a salad.
Have y'all seen these bags in the grocery store?

You can find these larger (22 oz.) bags in the freezer section. Or you can find the smaller (6 oz.) bags in the refrigerator section (my store keeps it near the bacon). The frozen ones can be thawed quickly in the microwave. Such a time saver! You can make quick chicken wraps or chicken fajitas. Or do like me and throw it in a salad! What I love about salads the most is they can be a good time to use up some stuff in your pantry. Got a can of olives you haven't used? Throw those in there. Maybe a can of chickpeas? Why not? That can go in too. And you can tailor this to your family's preferences. But I'm tellin' ya, you are gonna love this dressing. It is divine!
Ingredients
Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper

Salad:
1 cup ditalini pasta
3-4 cups chopped romaine lettuce hearts
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup cubed salami (or pepperoni)
1 cup mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 cup mini pepperoni (optional)
1 (7.5 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups Tyson® Grilled & Ready® chicken​ breast strips, thawed
Additional optional add-ins: olives, pepperoncini peppers, red onions
Directions:
First thing you want to do is get your water boiling so you can get your ditalini pasta cooked. Because that needs to be cooked, drained and cooled down before adding it to the rest of the salad. While the pasta is cooking, you can get started with making the dressing.
In a jar, add in all the dressing ingredients.
Mmmmm honey. I love what this adds to this dressing!
Pop the lid on nice & tight.
Then give it a really vigorous shake. 
Shake it like a Polaroid picture until all the ingredients are combined well.
Once your pasta has cooked to al dente, drain it well. Then run some cool water over it so that it can cool down a bit faster.
While the pasta is finishing draining and cooling, start chopping up your veggies.

Then add them all to a large bowl and add in the Tyson® Grilled & Ready® chicken​ breast strips.
Once pasta has cooled, add it to the salad mix. Now it's time to pour that yummy dressing on top!
Give it all a good stir.
Then serve it up and dig in!
Mmmm, the perfect bite. Light, summery and best of all - filling!
Enjoy!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson® Grilled & Ready,Ready or Not Recipe Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine.