Now this dish is a true “cabinet stew.”
I had one leftover uncooked chicken breast in the fridge. And a bag of those “Wacky Mac” pasta spirals hanging around in my cabinet. I have used them before and they are okay. They make an easy “flashy” pasta salad.
But the real instigator was the leftover half jar of Chimichurri sauce hanging in my fridge door. Yes, around these parts, I have the luxury of buying a very good version in a jar from my favorite spice brand – Badia. I sometimes make it from scratch in the summer when the herbs are fresh and abundant. And typically I use the Chimichurri sauce more traditionally with grilled beef but grilling season is over here in New England. Even with the unseasonable but enjoyable mild weather we have been having – I haven’t had the urge to extend the grilling season.
So between the craving for Chimichurri sauce, the chicken breast and the wacky pasta – I decided to throw it all together and make “Wacky Winter Salad.” Definitely not my usual “go to” recipe in early December. But it made for some excellent brown bag lunches at the office for a couple of days.
Of course two of my favorite pantry items had to make an appearance: canned black olives and canned tomatoes. Muir’s organic, fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes to be specific and they added some great flavor. And while I was at it, I threw in the leftover peas from dinner the night before. I simply pan-seared the chicken until done and cut it up into bite sizes pieces. Tossed it all together and used the Chimichurri sauce as my “vinaigrette” for the pasta salad. It is packed full of instant flavor. You can add a little olive oil and red wine vinegar to adjust this to your preferred level of dressing and sharpness but it might just need only a little salt and pepper, so taste it first. For a vegetarian option leave out the chicken and thrown in a can of chickpeas or chopped tofu.
Who says you can’t have a little taste of summer in winter?
Especially with the “wacky” weather we have been having!