Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Salad of the Week

I had big plans for supper tonight, but as usual in my life, things did not go in the direction I originally planned. For instance, I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw. I failed to pick up olives when I was at the store. I sat down to look at the internet for JUST A MINUTE and the next thing I know Delia is home from school and I know Keith will be home in 20 minutes and then he has to go back to work and DANG I need some supper FAST!

Here is what I threw together. It turned out pretty great, according to my husband.

Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
  • On goes some water to boil, with a generous dose of salt. It warms up the kitchen and helps me get into the cooking mood. Once it starts roiling I dump in half a box of whole wheat penne. I didn't really like the whole wheat pasta when I first started using it, but it has grown on me. As with many things, you must train your palate, and whole grain is the wave of the future. Also, to get the picky kid to eat it I try to cook it when she's not looking and coat it with a brightly colored sauce before I serve it.
  • Into the food processor goes half a bag of fresh spinach, four green onions, two big cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, and a generous glug (maybe 2 tablespoons), of my favorite garlic vinagrette salad dressing. Process till it looks like pesto. I would have put some fresh herbs in too if I had any, particularly parsley or basil.
  • When the pasta is about al dente, I toss a cup or two of bite sized broccoli florets in there with the pasta, and give them about a minute to blanch. Then it all gets drained and shocked with cold water, drained again and tossed with the pesto.
  • Toss in some grape tomatoes and sprinkle with some more sunflower seeds.
There are three of us and we only had one serving left over, so you might want to double it to serve as a main course or make it as is for a side. If you must have meat on your table for your diners to feel like they got supper, I think this would go great with a grilled steak or chicken breast. Maybe those packages of ready-to-eat chicken strips would easily go in this dish too, in keeping with the quick and easy theme. Or serve with my new favorite indulgence from the Kroger Seafood department - steamed and chilled peel and eat shrimp! They are so good!

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