Alison’s Chicken Pasta Salad

If you’re looking a great pasta salad with chicken recipe, look no further. The first time I made this pasta salad, I knew I wanted my name on it. Alison’s Chicken Pasta Recipe makes a great lunch or light dinner that can be ready for hungry kids or spontaneous guests. You may want to double the recipe because it goes so fast.

This is a recipe I developed for a recipe collection I worked on with Canolainfo.org. I like to grill extra chicken and use the leftovers to make this recipe. Serve it on a bed of mixed greens or as a light main course served with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio. It is a terrific recipe to take on a picnic or make at the lake or the beach. This recipe is healthy, fresh, easy and fantastic. I can’t give it any more props than that. Try if for yourself and let me know what you think. Happy May everyone!

NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS

Per Serving

Calories 270
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 40 mg
Carbohydrates 34 g
Fiber 4 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 21 g
Sodium 190 mg
Potassium 377 mg

Simple Homemade Fresh Pesto

This Simple Homemade Fresh Pesto recipe is so easy to make and takes only 5 minutes to prepare. Toss together fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil, salt and a touch of a fresh lemon juice in a blender or food processor. It is that simple.

I am thrilled about our fresh herbs growing right now. We planted them in hanging baskets a few weeks ago, so they’re plentiful at the perfect time. They have been a lifesaver (one less thing to purchase at the store). Honestly, I have been making this Homemade Pesto recipe lately on a weekly basis. Friends often ask me. What do you use basil for besides on pasta or on a tomato, basil, mozzarella salad? Here are a few suggestions:

•Add to pasta with grilled chicken or shrimp

•Serve on top of grilled or roasted flounder, snapper or salmon

•Add on top of avocado toast

•Blend or puree in soups

•Use as a base for homemade pizza

•Spice up a fresh salad

Basil is packed with nutrients. It is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, iron, calcium and antioxidants. Basil is also an anti-inflammatory food so it can also help individuals with inflammatory health problems such as  arthritis. Some studies also say that eating basil can help with acne and help protect the skin from some effects of aging.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

If you like Spinach Artichoke Dip, this Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake is for you. My daughter, Leigh, asked why I had not thought of this sooner. It’s the perfect side dish with chicken or even main dish. Also, putting chopped chicken in this also works too, and adds even more protein. I used whole grain noodles and light cream cheese, part skim cheese and nonfat plain Greek yogurt so you’ll get a nice mix of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and not too high in fat. It is so simple to make–I think the toughest part honestly is thawing the spinach and making sure you get all the water out (I press the spinach with the tines of a fork to speed up the process). Enjoy for a weeknight dinner or side dish. I bet you will love it too!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I truly have and thank my awesome husband for a candlelit dinner at home last night. I just landed in St. Thomas for a magazine story. Photo taken at Mariott Frenchman’s Reef. It’s a little cloudy on this Sunday afternoon, but no complaints from me. Have a great week, Alison

St. Thomas Mariott Frenchman's Reef

Crockpot Turkey Spagetti Sauce

Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti Sauce

My son, Zachary, asked after school today if we were having chicken again tonight. I told I made something he’s going to really like, a new pasta dish with a homemade Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti Sauce. It’s so easy! Start browning the ground turkey with Italian seasoning. Then, add the remaining ingredients. Set the timer on your crockpot for 4 or 7 hours (depending on when you’ll be home) and that is it. I was so excited to use the new Organic Hunts Diced Tomatoes, Sauce and Tomato paste. 43% of consumers are trying to include organic foods in their diets, and Hunts does a great job creating tomatoes with fantastic flavors. Hunts cans each tomato for their sauces and whole and diced tomatoes within hours of picking them from the field. This flash steaming process is only done with water so these are products are super fresh! This recipe can also be made with ground beef, chicken or pork. Toss with your favorite pasta; serve with a salad and call everyone to the table for dinner.

Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti Sauce

Penne With Tomato Basil Sauce

Penne With Tomato Basil Sauce

TGIF! We have had the best week at the beach and are headed home today! It has been amazing one-on-one family time! Thinking ahead… what’s for dinner when we get back? This 15 minute recipe for Penne with Tomato Basil Sauce is on my list for something really easy and quick (under 15 minutes). This is also a great way to use up some of your fresh basil (if you’re growing it this summer).  You can also use summer fresh tomatoes, roast them and puree them. I am hoping to get to the Farmer’s market this weekend to make some sauce to freeze. I hope you have had a great week too! Cheers to summer!

 

Three Cheese Baked Penne and Giveaway

For the Oscars tonight or any weeknight dinner, I love this Three Cheese Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables. This is the type of make-ahead casserole that is perfect to take to a potluck dinner or for someone who just add a baby. I love serving to company, especially if there is a vegetarian in the crowd. Your family will love it too, and you can easily make it in two 9-inch (2.5 L) square baking dishes to freeze one and enjoy the other now. A crisp green salad goes well with the smooth texture of the deliciously melted cheeses. This recipe is one of many fabulous ones in the 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals Cookbook by Rose Murray. You’ll find everything in this book from big casseroles, to long-simmering stews as well as skillet meals such as quick stir-fries. And… I am giving away a copy.

To enter the giveaway, leaving a comment telling me your favorite casserole. For more chances to win, do the following and leave a comment telling me you did. The winner will be chosen randomly on Monday, March 10th at 8 A.M. Good Luck! :)

1. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest

Courtesy 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals by Rose Murray © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Baking Kitchen Shortcuts

I am always looking for kitchen shortcuts, quick cooking ideas and any helpful tips to make getting dinner on the table easier. You know… busy working mom with 3 kids. Pot-Sized Pasta from Ronco is my latest find. It comes in a pantry-friendly, top-opening box for easy storage. The pasta has been cut in half so it goes into the pot straight out of the box. Now you don’t have to break it, or deal with the mess. Despite its cute and easy size, each box still contains a full pound of pasta. Head over to Facebook for Ronco’s “Show us your shortcut promotion”  to vote for my kitchen shortcut (hint: how to quickly soften butter for baking). You may vote up to once per day for a chance to win one of 6 weekly drawings for a $100 American Express gift card. Vote here and good luck!

Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

The weather has been such a bummer lately. My kids have missed 2 days of school this week due to “inclement weather”, and it has not snowed yet (it’s supposed to be coming as we speak). Tonight we’re having this Easy Baked Ziti recipe that is warm, comforting and delicious! Hope you are having better weather than we are. Very ready for spring

Penne Pasta with Pine Nuts

For National Pasta month, how about this Penne Pasta with Pine Nuts? This simple pasta recipe is quick and easy to whip up, and the combination of ingredients makes it a heartwarming and flavorful meal that is sure to be a dinner favorite in your house. Did you know it’s actually suggested that eating two tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to monounsaturated fat. Enjoy on a busy weekday or for weekend entertaining. It’s so easy!

 

Iberia Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil and hand-selected, harvested olives processed in Spain.  The Spanish olives used are extracted using a “first cold press” process, which provides the rich aroma and flavor quality – ideal for using on salads, pasta, fish, meat dishes and marinades. Available at select retailers including Walmart.