Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bow Tie Chicken Salad

Ages ago, my sister was thrown a baby shower. Our family friend Sallie Petersen (and wife of my dad's business partner and former neighbor), offered to host it at her home. She also offered to throw together this simple salad. Since then, this is our family's favorite salad. It's the perfect salad to toss together for company.

My only complaint with this salad would be that it errs on the more expensive side of things. Unless you stock up on the ingredients on a regular basis anyway, it's definitely one to save for a special occasion if you're on a budget. But everyone needs a good recipe for a luncheon or shower, am I right? 

The only "tricky" step (and I'm sorry I don't have pictures for this, maybe soon!) is melting the sugar. The first time I made this I was so scared I would screw it up or burn down the house. It's quite easy but it does take patience, something of which I have very little. Once the sugar barely starts melting it will look a little grainy (um, grainier than just regular sugar looks), and soon will start clumping. Be patient. It will melt. I personally like to use almonds for this salad, not the pecans the recipe originally calls for. Once the almonds are all coated with the caramel sugar I like to spread everything out on a silicone mat and let it cool off. 

Everything else is pretty straightforward. A little more costly, but sometimes with the expense, is buying frozen grilled chicken strips and heating them up a bit. I do highly recommend the Litehouse dressing! This salad, overall, is an amazing medley of deliciousness. I actually hate anything remotely pasta salad-ish, but this has such a pleasant mix of textures and tastes! 

Bowtie Chicken Salad
by Sallie Petersen

3 to 4 chicken breasts
salt & pepper
garlic powder
1 bag romaine lettuce
1 container shredded parmaesan (about 1/2 c.)
1/2 box bow-tie pasta
2 c. pecans or almonds
3/4 c. sugar
1 jar Ceasar LITEHOUSE dressing

1. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Grill chicken, let cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.
3. Cook bow-tie pasta and set aside.
3. Chop pecans or almonds and place into frying pan. Sprinkle sugar over pans and stir constantly until sugar is melted and coats the nuts.
4. Add lettuce, parmaesan cheese, pasta, pecans/almonds, and chicken to a big bowl. Pour dressing over and toss until coated. For 6 people you will use just under 1 jar of dressing.

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