Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

When it's hot outside, I don't like to use the oven and heat up my house.  I live in Washington, and since it only gets uncomfortably hot about 1 month (total) out of the year, air conditioning isn't standard.  So no sense in making the house less comfortable by using the oven, right?

So I turn to stove-top dishes for my meals!  And one of my favorite things to make in the summer is pasta salad.  Of all sorts of varieties.

I happened upon this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad via Pinterest.  It sounded yummy, easy, and I had all the ingredients.  And then it got even better.  Because I had recently received a can of THRIVE Seasoned Chicken Strips!  I knew I wanted to try them out -- and what better chance than this pasta salad!?!

I was very pleased with the results.  And not just for the fact that it tasted great.  Here's why I'm loving the THRIVE Seasoned Chicken Strips:

1. I didn't have to mess with raw chicken and worry about the salmonella germies all over my hands and counter (because I am a bit OCD when it comes to cleaning my chicken and getting rid of all the fat!).
2. I didn't have to spend time cleaning the chicken (see note in #1...). This saved me about 5 minutes.
3. I didn't have to do my extra-special counter clean-up (which I do anytime I have raw meat out on the counter unpackaged).
4. I didn't have to wait for the chicken to thaw to cook or to cool for shredding or cutting -- this saved me at least 15 minutes (would have saved me more time, but I still had to cook macaroni, so I did still have some of the cook time). (Of course, the thawing takes a long time, but since I would have been boiling the chicken, I probably could have put it in the pot frozen...)

5.  No canned-chicken taste from using canned chicken.

So here's the recipe, with my substitution of THRIVE Seasoned Chicken Strips:

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked, drained, and cooled
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup THRIVE Seasoned Chicken Slices, rehydrated (requires 1/3 cup warm water)
1/4 to 1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup ranch dressing
2 tablespoons Frank's hot sauce (can use more to your taste)

Mix the first 5 ingredients together. Then mix in the next two. Chill at least one hour before serving. It's delicious! (I didn't give any of the finished product to the munchkin, because it did have a kick... She did get the components of it, though, just without the sauce. Bummer for her, because the sauce is what makes it!)

Happy THRIVEing!

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