Summer Greek Pasta Dinner Salad

Tonights dinner was a cool summer salad loaded with fresh vegetables, rotisserie chicken, roasted pine nuts, and penne pasta. I wasn't sure how it was going to go over for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised when they asked me to make sure we have it again. With the Texas summer heat I wanted something that wouldn't heat up the house, would keep well, and could be prepared in the morning and served at night. This salad did all of that, and was also nutritious, fast and healthy too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 box penne pasta
1 rotisserie chicken, cooled and shredded*
1 red onion, finely diced
1 bag of spinach leaves
1 lb. of fresh asparagus, steamed
2 lbs. grape tomatoes (we like tomatoes!), sliced in half
1 pkg. crumbled feta cheese
8 oz. kalamata olives, drained and sliced in half
1/2 c. pine nuts, toasted
Olive Oil
Greek Seasoning (I use the kind in the spice section at Wal-mart)


Directions:

Cook the pasta in boiling water. Be sure to season your water with 2T. of olive oil and 1t. of salt. It really does improve the pasta flavor, and helps the pasta to not stick together when you're done. Drain well. Put the pasta into a large bowl and cool.

Add all of the other ingredients in with the pasta. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil just to lightly coat the pasta (or to taste). Add 2 teaspoons of greek seasoning to the bowl of ingredients and toss it together. You can eat it right away, or let it sit in the fridge for a few hours and allow the flavors to blend together.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

If you're going to use a rotisserie chicken, don't throw out those bones! Boil them for a wonderful and healthy stock! It's really easy - just put the bones into a pot and add enough water to cover them up. Cook the bones on low for a few hours (I usually put them on after dinner and let them cook all night long). Strain the liquid from the bones and let it cool. I then put the liquid into food saver bags and freeze them so that they're available for another day. I love using this broth when I cook Jambalaya, or anything else where the water is going to be absorbed by food. Talk about an easy way to add flavor and nutrition!
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