March 09, 2015



Pasta salad with an Italian flare with a little help from pene pasta, chicken, olives, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mozzarella pearls, fresh basil, Italian dressing, and Parmesan shavings. It's substantial enough to have as a meal.

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Hello there! It looks as if spring is going to arrive after all. The snow has finally started to melt, so we are making some progress. And with the time change this weekend, I can still see glimmer of lights at 7:00 PM. Hooray!! Unfortunately, we have not weathered this winter without some casualties. Our next door neighbor has been hospitalized for over two weeks after he fell off the ladder while cutting down a large tree branch with my husband and our son. He suffered major injuries on his legs and has a broken thumb and will undergo a second surgery this week. His prognosis is good, thank goodness, but he has a long road to recovery. 

On a less severe front, both my husband and I have wiped out on ice in our yard, and our kids have had near misses driving on icy roads. We are hoping the worst is over and are SOOOOO READY for spring!

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I am sharing my easy go-to pasta salad with you today. It has an Italian flare with pene pasta, chicken, olives, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mozzarella pearls, fresh basil, Italian dressing, and Parmesan shavings. This dish assembles quickly, thanks to store bought rotisserie chicken and salad dressing. I use Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian dressing (not a paid endorsement). It's my favorite bottled dressing—so flavorful and cheesy. If you have a favorite brand, use that, or make your own. I'm not there to stop you. But if you haven't tried Newman's Own, give it a whirl...the man knew how to make salad dressing!

Okay, confession time. The pasta salad you see directly above is missing something. Can you guess what it is? ...Anyone...? Yup, the mozzarella pearls! Once again, I was trying to rush through the assembly and photo shoot because I had a long to-do list, and it wasn't until I was cleaning up from the shoot when I realized the mozzarella was still in the fridge. Well, it turned into a longer photoshoot than I had anticipated because I opted to do a second shoot so that there would be some pictures with the cheese in them. However, I didn't take any wide shots the second time, so you get to see the mozz-less one from the first session. It still looks delish though, doesn't it?



1 pkg. (16 oz.) pasta, I used mini pene
3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, diced
1 can (DR WT 6 oz.) slice black olives
1 tub (8 oz.) mozzarella pearls
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup hand torn or julienned basil
1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 bottle (16 oz.) Italian salad dressing (I use Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian), divided


Cook pasta according to package directions or until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pour pasta into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving about 1/2 cup of Italian dressing. Mix to combine. Serve or refrigerate until ready to use. 

Note: Pasta may dry out upon standing. Add the reserved dressing if needed.

Great finds for the home and family! Any commission made on purchases help towards the running of this blog.


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Grilled Chicken Salad with Balsamic Dressing

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  1. Salad looks superb and so crunchy

  2. I am also, SO ready for spring! And what a wonderful way to ring in the new season. Gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Kathleen. I just realized that spring is officially only 9 days away..keeping my fingers crossed for no more snow!

  3. I am so ready for warm weather, picnics, and pasta salad! This pasta salad looks amazing!

  4. This pasta is beautiful! It looks light and fresh, just the way that I like it.

  5. Looks like a wonderful salad, hopefully spring is right around the corner. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

    1. It is really good. Can't wait until all the snow melts. Thanks for stopping by, Laura.

  6. We would really enjoy this salad, it looks so good. Happy St. Patrick's Day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thank you, Miz Helen. I don't get tired of eating it. Have a great week!

  7. Great little recipe. Top marks. Thanks for sharing this.


  8. Mmmm this looks JUST my sort of dish! Will definitely be creating it, thank you for sharing! :)