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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chicken and Grape Salad with Orange Mint Dressing

 I love pasta. Smothered in cheese, a good meat sauce, whether it's baked or tossed, with garlic bread or not, who doesn't? Well, if you're like some people I know who have celiac disease, pasta is just a giant plate of "oh my goodness that's going to make me so sick."

Fortunately, Catelli has a great gluten free pasta out there so that all my friends who can't eat gluten can join in on the fun. Honestly, at first I wasn't sure if I even wanted to try this pasta. Most of the time, when I've tried gluten free things they've just been... not that good.

Would it be weird? Why should I even do gluten free? I can eat gluten.  The idea of having to create a recipe was intriguing though, especially when it's one that even my gluten free friends could eat. And honestly, this pasta is good. You'd never, ever know it's gluten free. It's tasty and tender and just like the regular stuff without being heavy. I love it!You can get a coupon for Catelli's gluten free pasta here.  If you have your own awesome gluten free pasta recipe, go to Catelli's Facebook page between May 4-31st and upload it. The three people who have the most likes will a year's worth of gluten free pasta! 

Here's some fast facts about the pasta: 

  • it's made from a blend of white rice, brown rice, corn and quinoa
  • comes in spaghetti, fusilli, penne and macaroni
  • it's certified by the Canadian Celiac Association's Gluten Free Certification program
  • produced in a dedicated gluten free facility

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This recipe has been a hit with my family, who practically inhaled it. Creamy dressing, sweet grapes, crunchy pecans and mint make it great. Today, as I walked through the school halls, a co-worker stopped and asked what exactly I was eating because it "smells amazing!" The combination of ingredients may seem a little interesting, but I promise-it's very well worth it.

Besides that, it's gluten free too!

Herbed Chicken: 
1 whole chicken breast
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
zest from 1 orange

Salad:
1 cup halved red grapes
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups uncooked gluten free fusilli pasta
2 tbsp minced chives (or green onion)

 Dressing:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp olive oil zest from 1 orange
2 tbsp fresh chopped mint
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

On a cutting board, lay a piece of parchment paper. Put the chicken breast halves on it, about 2 inches apart. Lay another piece of parchment paper over top. Using a rolling pin, meat mallet or other heavy object, pound the chicken until they are about 1/2 inch thick throughout.

Remove the top piece of parchment. Sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper, the thyme leaves, and orange zest. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.

Get a good skillet nice and hot over medium to medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, swirl it around, and then add the chicken breasts, plain side down. Let them sizzle and pop, cooking away until the meat is golden. At this point, get your spatula underneath a breast and flip it over so that the thyme/orange zest side is down. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until that side is golden as well.

herb chicken

Remove the chicken from the pan and let the meat rest until it’s room temperature before chopping into 1/2 inch cubes. As the chicken is cooling, cook the pasta according to package directions.

Drain well and let cool. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, halved grapes, chives, pecans, and chicken. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Pour over the pasta mixture and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with more chopped fresh mint and a little orange zest.  Serve immediately!

Serves 4

Disclosure: to create this post, I was given a bunch of gluten free pasta. I was not compensated in another other monetary way. This recipe is actually an entry to a blogger contest, so we'll see how I do!
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