One of these days the weather around here will actually match the season it's supposed to be in.
You can make, or just look at, this chicken pasta Caesar salad that I really think is one of my favorite meals. It satisfies those who wouldn't qualify a salad as a meal (with the meat and pasta additions) but is still light enough to serve on a 90 degree October day. (Unbelievable)
Cook between 1/2-3/4 a box of swirly corkscrew pasta (whole wheat preferred). Make sure to throw a dash of oil and salt into the hot water so that the pasta doesn't stick together and has flavor. When cooked, throw it into a LARGE bowl (large enough for the whole salad) and put it in the fridge to cool.
Now you're going to want to get two free range organic chicken breasts out of the fridge (yes I am using passive aggressive blogging to get you to buy REAL chicken- not the kind they fill with hormones) and tenderize/pound it. Sprinkle it with a little oil, salt, pepper and dried basil (just use your eye here, people) and throw it onto your hot barbie.
Hello there, pretty little chicken. (It takes about 15 minutes total to get to this point.)
While that chicken sits on a plate underneath some foil for 10 minutes, chop up two bunches of romaine lettuce (or cut open a bag) and toss it with your beautiful cherry tomatoes that are still growing like it's August. You can just toss in a pack of cherry tomatoes, or two regular tomatoes if you don't have any tommys basking in your garden.
Now, cut (into cubes) up 1/2 loaf of good sourdough/french/some other kind of delicious bread. Ya know how when you cook with wine they say to never use one you wouldn't drink? Same is true for these fab croutons you're gonna make- use a bread you would eat. with lasagna, baked chicken, olive oil and balsamic...mmmm. Anyway, cut those chicken breasts while you're at it and at the lettuce, tims and chicken to that big bowl of pasta.
In a large skillet, heated on medium high, drop in 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (some people like there croutons a little crunchier, so use more "fat") When the "fat" completely melts, toss the cubed bread into the pan- they should not overlap: give that bread some space to breathe, and heat and get all pretty and delicious.
Leave these alone- don't touch them and let them get golden- this takes several minutes.
Now for the final touches: put everything into that giant bowl and add one jar of julienned sun dried tomatoes, drained. Toss this all around and add Caesar dressing. You want to start with 1/4 cup and add more depending on if you liek to slightly taste your dressing or if you are the kind who likes to taste the dressing and say "hmmm, is that lettuce in here somewhere?"
And there you have it, a Summer Dinner, fit for Fake Fall.
1 day ago