4 strips thick cut bacon
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 lb pasta (I used gemelli)
2 cooked, boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
3/4 cup frozen spinach
1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes*
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Boil the noodles until al dente, adding the frozen spinach in at the last minute or so. Drain. Meanwhile, in a hot pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to evenly distribute the mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.
*I used dry (i.e. not oil packed) sun-dried tomatoes so I just tossed them in with the pasta during the last minute or so of cooking, just to plump them up a bit. If you are using oil packed tomatoes, blot them before use.
Yield: approximately 6-8 main course servings.
Note: The whole salad can be prepared the day before serving with great success.
My thoughts:Winterizing isn't just for summer homes and vehicles anymore. I had my mother and grandfather over for lunch today and I wasn't sure of what to make until the last minute. I wanted to make something that would be substantial enough to stand alone (no side dishes!) and that hopefully result some leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. Last night my husband sauteed a chicken breast (with some shallots and a basic marinade) for his lunch today so I had him to saute me some extra in case I wanted to use it in something today. This morning I was looking through some recipes and found one for BLT chicken salad sandwiches. The recipe sounded good if a bit mayo-heavy. The problem was that we only had 4 slices of bread in the house, I wouldn't eat a fresh tomato in December if you paid me and I don't buy lettuce in the winter. So that was out. But I liked the concept so I started from scratch and made a winterized pasta salad using some of the flavors of a good BLT but using high quality frozen and shelf stable ingredients instead of a bunch of out of season vegetables. Which isn't to say the pasta isn't fresh tasting, the flavors are clear and bright, only that you don't have to wait until Summer for a good pasta salad.
Check out my spring (with asparagus and lemon-thyme dressing), autumn (with apples and apple cider dressing) and summer (with carrots and cucumber) chicken pasta salads as well!