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Italian Pasta Salad – Easy Weeknight Meal

This week is rocking my world. Summer seems ages ago as we’re dashing from swimming to piano to soccer and hoping to grab a decent bite of dinner somewhere in between homework and baths. Sound familiar?

Italian Pasta Salad - An Easy Weeknight Dinner

Let me introduce one of my go-to recipes when I want a single dish for a potentially portable meal – Easy Italian Pasta Salad with Chicken!  The recipe is from my neighbor Katie.  We have an awesome tradition of making a double batch and sharing it with each other. It is a sanity saver!

Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients

1 1-lb package bow tie pasta
1/4 bottle Italian dressing (approx. 1/3 cup)
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 4-oz can olive bits
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can artichoke hearts (optional)
2 cups Colby jack cheese
2-3 sprigs fresh basil, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Pick your busy day, send the kids off to school and start a big pot of water to boil. Remember, a watched pot never boils so start your chicken!

Cook pasta as directed for al dente pasta. Preheat your oven and bake your chicken. Remove and let cool before dicing up. Strain pasta and pour into a large mixing bowl. Toss pasta and chicken with half of the dressing (approx. 4 tablespoons) and allow to marinate in the fridge.

Before all “crazy” breaks loose after school, take a peaceful moment to chop veggies. Breathe.  Add peppers, cucumber, olives, tomatoes and artichoke to mixing bowl and toss. Add remaining dressing as desired. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cheese and pack up in serving-sized to-go containers. Keeps for up to 1 week, but I like it best on day 2 when all the flavors have blended and the veggies are still crisp.

Italian Pasta Salad - An Easy Weeknight Dinner

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