Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bena: Chicken Sesame Pasta Salad

Hi, I have the privilege to be Shannon's Mom in law.    I am the mother of 4 children and the Nana to two beautiful grandchildren.  I have lived in Utah, Kansas and Connecticut.  I have been married to my husband Kent for 29 wonderful years.  We have been very blessed in our lives to have met some really amazing friends in all of the places we have lived. As we have enjoyed many holidays and shared meals with our friends, we have also shared many recipes. The tried and true recipes are always my favorites!  

I learned to cook from cooking with my Mom as a child and by experimenting with recipes throughout my life.  I have made a ton of mistakes trying different things but that’s how we learn...right?

My favorite part of being a spending time with my kids.  They make me proud every single day.  I love watching them interact with each other and seeing how much they love each other.  My kids are a gift to me, and I enjoy every second we spend together, whether it’s being at the lake together or simply sitting in the family room together chatting and laughing.

So I was trying to decide which recipe to share. I decided to share one that many people tell me they love. I got this recipe from a friend that I go to church with.  She is one of those cooks that has the reputation of being a great cook.  People seek out whatever she might bring to share and her food is always the first to be eaten . This pasta is so good that everywhere I take it, I get several people asking me for the recipe.  That’s when I know I have a GREAT one!  It is so pretty and delicious looking and the leftovers (if there are any) are really good too!

Chicken Sesame Pasta Salad

chicken & marinade:
5 chicken breasts
1/2 c. Terriaki sauce
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
1 package mesquite grilling powder
1 lime

2 c. red grapes, cut in half
2 c. red bell peppers, chopped
7 oz bowtie pasta, cooked and well drained
1 jar artichoke hearts, quartered
4 green onions, chopped
2 small cans of mandarin oranges, drained
1 pear, chopped
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
3 c. baby spinach

1/3 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp minced onion
1 Tbsp. lime juice

Directions: Combine the ingredients for the chicken marinate in a gallon size zip-lock bag and allow to marinade for several hours or overnight.

To make the dressing combine the olive oil, sesame seed oil, sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, minced onion, and lime juice in a blender or bowl. Blend or whisk until all ingredients are well combined. Set aside. 

Once the chicken is done marinading grill it until it is cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes and then slice into bite size pieces.

In a large bowl combine the cooked pasta, artichoke hearts, green onion, oranges, pear, sesame seeds, parsley, bell peppers, grapes, and grilled chicken. Pour dressing over the pasta mixture and toss until well coated. Cover and refrigerate. Directly before serving toss in baby spinach. Serve cold.