Monday, September 14, 2015

Gluten-Free Lime & Peppered Chicken Pasta Salad

            Most of the time, I’m  known as just a baker.  But I’ll have you know, I'm actually quite capable of also whipping up a good main dish or two...maybe even three.  To adapt a quote from one of my favorite movies, “I don’t profess to be an expert in the field of cooking, but my friends do say I’m quite skilled in the  kitchen!”  Haha, just joking, but I do hope you'll give this dish a try!
            Oh, and before we get started, if you haven’t checked out my youtube channel yet, now is the perfect time.  I have several videos posted already with many more to come.  And hey, if you like what you see, might as well click subscribe right?
 
Lime & Peppered Chicken

You'll need:

2 organic chicken breasts, roughly chopped


Black pepper


       Once you have chopped up your chicken breasts into chunky pieces, place them in a container that has a lid.  Pour enough lime juice to cover the tops of the chicken, then sprinkle a generous amount of pepper evenly across the top then.  Stir to combine then seal the container.  Put this in the fridge to marinate for at least 12 hours.  I normally prepare my chicken the night before I make the pasta salad so it has all night to marinate.
        After the chicken has marinated, it’s time to sauté it.  In a cast iron skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter over low heat.  Then raise the temperature to medium heat and add a scoop of chicken to the pan.  Cook until the centers are no longer pink.  Use your spatula to chop the pieces into smaller chunks as they sauté.  Then remove the cooked chicken from the pan and transfer onto a plate with a paper towel to help soak up the excess oil.
       Continue this process until you have cooked up the chicken.  Depending on the size of the chicken breasts, you should end up with around two cups of chopped chicken.

 Set aside until needed.

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Crisp-Tender Vegetables

You'll need:

1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, halved then slivered

1/2 cup red bell pepper, halved then slivered

1/2 cup onion, sliced

1/2 cup mini portabella mushrooms, chopped


       Once you’ve prepared all of your veggies, melt one tablespoon of butter into the cast iron skillet, then add your vegetables to the pan.  Over medium-low heat, sauté the veggies just until they are cooked but still slightly crisp.  This took me about four minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer into the dish want to use for the pasta salad.  
    Place the prepared chicken on top of the veggies.  Now it’s time for the pasta!

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Pasta

You'll need:

16oz package gluten-free fusilli pasta

Pinch salt

       In a large pan, fill halfway with water and add a pinch of salt.  Bring the water to boil then add the package of pasta. I suggest using the instructions on the package of pasta, since the cooking instructions may vary depending on the brand or ingredients used in the pasta.  I boil my pasta for about 10 minutes before removing from heat and draining.

              Once you’ve drained the water, it’s time to add it to the chicken and veggies.  Pour the pasta over the top of the mixture then gently mix until fully combined.  Now it’s time to make a nice oil and lime dressing…

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Put the Lime in the Coconut Dressing :)

You’ll need:



1/4 cup lime juice

Zest from one whole lime

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

       In a small bowl, combine all of these ingredients and mix well.

       *Note: do not attempt to use regular coconut oil that you have melted.  Since this is a chilled pasta salad, the coconut oil will solidify very soon after you put it in the fridge.  This is why we’re using a fractionated coconut.  It may be a little less nutritionally rich than regular coconut oil, but it allows us to use that wonderful flavor in chilled recipes.

       Once the dressing is ready, pour it over the prepared pasta, veggies, and chicken.  Mix until fully coated.

       One final touch…

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

       Stir the final two ingredients into the salad, then chill in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavors to combine.  Give it a good stir before serving then enjoy!