We had picked up some crisp, wonderful red grapes recently and had quite a big bag. The combination of unique texture and sweet, tart flavor has made grapes an ever popular between-meal snack for Bill lately. Every time I eat them it makes me think that they belong as a refreshing addition inside of a chicken, pasta salad. They are relatively low in calories and are fat and cholesterol free. I usually use any kind of left over chicken, but for a recent family gathering I chose a couple of chicken breasts that I had on hand in the freezer. The breast is light meat, as opposed to meat from the thighs or drumsticks, which are dark meat. Light meat generally contains less fat while still being a good source of protein. They take on flavors easily, but be sure not to overcook them because they can become dry. This salad is really easy and it’s delicious!
1 Box Pasta, cooked to package instructions al dente
2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive Oil
2 Cups Celery, diced small
4 Cups Red Grapes, seedless, halved
3 Green Onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning, dry
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Cup Mayonnaise
Salt & Pepper, to taste
You can use any pasta you prefer. I tend to reach for the wavy ones, or bowtie type. I like tubular noodles for hot pasta dishes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook for seven to eight minutes or until al dente; drain, but don’t rinse! Set aside.
The low-fat content makes chicken breast prone to being dry and flavorless. You can keep chicken breasts juicy and delicious with careful cooking.
Sometimes I pound them out, but this time I used a different method to stove top cooking. Season both sides with salt, pepper, the onion powder and Italian seasoning. Place the breasts in the hot oil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for ten minutes, turning only once. Remove from the heat and leave the pan covered for an additional ten minutes without disturbing it.
It will remain tender and juicy!
After slicing the chicken into chunks, let the pieces sit in the juice until you are ready to mix them into the other ingredients.
In a medium bowl, combine celery, onions, mayo, salt and pepper; mix well and reserve.
Using a slotted spoon, add the cubed chicken to the other ingredients. Toss the pasta with the chicken mixture and gently fold in the grapes. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two to four hours before serving.