Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two Favorites

Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. I love to plan our meals, make the grocery list, go through all my coupons to see how much I can save, shop, and then finally get in the kitchen and cook, preferably while Hayes is napping, although sometimes it does not work out that way! I really did not love to cook until I got married. Now it is one of the best parts of my day. Is that crazy? I know alot of people do not care for the kitchen but I think it's something God gave me a love for. I have 2 of our favorite recipes to share today. Actually, we have ALOT of favorite recipes at our house because we are not picky eaters and we just really LOVE good food! But these are 2 that I learned from school.

At my (former) school, our kindergarten teachers thankfully liked to eat too. Every Friday we would have "Friday Fun Lunch" where we take turns cooking for each other and bringing lunch. There were 11 of us and you only had 1 turn out of 11 weeks and all the other Fridays you could just look forward to a yummy lunch (which is SOOOOO fun and exciting when you take your lunch everyday!) However, on the day that it was your turn to bring lunch it could get a little stressful planning a meal for 11 (meal, sides, dessert, etc.)not to mention how you were going to transport everything and get it inside the school and into the fridge! Anyway here are 2 chicken pasta salad recipes that work well for a big group. We really like both of these and I hope you'll like them too. I love pasta salads b/c they stay good for a few days in the fridge and these both can be eaten hot or cold.

This first recipe is from my friend Andrea-a great mentor and friend!! This is kind of a sweet chicken pasta salad b/c of the fruit. At first I thought it may be a little girly (b/c of all the fruit) and that Nathan would not like it. Well that was definitely not the case-it is delicious and we devour it whenever we make it.This one is better after it sits in the cool refrigerator for a while.

Chicken Bowtie Pasta Salad

1 box bowtie pasta (don't get a generic brand b/c it will break while it's cooking)
1 cup mayonnaise (more or less depending on your preference)
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
1 lb. green grapes (I chop my grapes in half but you do not have to)
1 lb. red grapes
1/2 small sweet onion
1 large can of all white meat chicken
1 can mandarin oranges
1 small pkg. sliced almonds (2 oz.)
salt and pepper

Cook pasta, rinse and drain and set aside. Combine chicken, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, onion, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add chicken mixture to pasta and stir well to coat pasta. Add grapes and almonds and toss. Add oranges last so they will not tear.
*This makes a good sized bowl of pasta. I doubled it for 11 people and had ALOT left over.

This next recipe is more of a salty chicken pasta salad and was "made up" by my fantastic food loving friend Rebecca. If you've ever had Taziki's Friday or Saturday special this is Rebecca's version of it-so delicious and healthy too. We like to eat this one right when it's made.

Greek Chicken Pasta

1 box penne noodles
Chopped fresh basil (as much as you want)
Tomatoes (chop 2 or 3 large tomatoes or use grape or cherry tomatoes-might need 2 cartons though if you use that size)
1 pkg. feta
3-4 chicken breasts chopped
Newman's light balsamic vinaigrette (2/3 or so of bottle)
1 bag of salad spinach leaves

Cook and drain pasta and then add other ingredients. Keep adding dressing and tasting until you like it. We like to eat this over a bed of spinach leaves-soo good!

Happy Cooking!!
I cannot believe I just wrote this whole post and Hayes is still napping-crazy!


Hicks Family said...

Thanks for sharing amy! I also love to cook and it has been hard since Collier arrived. Justin and I often cook together and that time in the kitchen is really so much fun. Working together and chatting about our day, it's where we regroup from the day. Can't wait to try your recipes.

lindseykennedy said...

OH YEA! I was going to call you for the bowtie recipe anyway. Thanks for posting this. I have been thinking about that pasta since you had it for lunch the other day.