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italian chicken salad pasta.

Let’s talk stuff.

You have it, right?  Me too.

Let’s talk about how I’ve inherited about 368 different items from my parents in the last week due to an awesome move they’re making (self-centered?  yes, they’re moving my way…).  So consequentially, while blessed with a ton of gorgeous new items, I simply have a tiny house and don’t have much room for 12 white towels or 4 full sets of plates.  It’s enough that I have to find a place for the 49 new hand-me-down spices that I’ve crammed into our cabinet (Lord help me when I attempt to search for Cardamom the next time I’m cooking).

But I’m reading this pretty life-giving book about doing away with excess and how life-changing it might be if the rich (and that’s most of us) knew the poor.  So I decided to find people – REAL PEOPLE – to get these items to.  Yes, I thought 52 times about hauling the 4 large boxes full of stuff to Goodwill but instead I’ve been asking, searching, praying for people who need these items.

The short ending to the story is this:  I gave every last item to a friend who was at my house on Monday and who coincidentally was planning on stopping by a low income apartment building on her way home to visit someone she knew who indicated she and those around her in their building could use my items.  Wow.  2 days later I’m still stunned.

I wish I had an eloquent way to transition into this (potentially) gluten free pasta toss.  It was good.  It was easy.  I made it while I was re-organizing every last closet in our house after inheriting so many wonderful new items.  That’s it.  Just give it a go.

Here’s the lineup:  pasta (brown rice, whole wheat or regular), chicken, red onion, roma tomatoes, garlic, asiago or parmesan cheese, arugula and basil.

While the pasta is cooking, brown up the chicken with red onion and tomato…

…and add the basil and arugula, then top with cheese.

Admittedly your kids might pick around the green stuff but if they are anything like my kids they’ll gobble the pasta with chicken right up!

A fantastic(ally) easy weeknight pasta dish!  Enjoy.

Italian Chicken Salad Pasta

(adapted from Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook – serves 4)

What You’ll Need:

1/2 pound brown rice penne pasta

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, chopped into bite-size pieces

2 teaspoons italian seasoning

salt and pepper

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

4 roma tomatoes, chopped

2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped

3 cups arugula

1/2 cup shredded asiago or parmesean cheese


Bring pasta water to a boil in a large pot.  Salt the water and cook pasta according to the package instructions.  Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

While water is boiling, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil.  Season chicken with italian seasoning, salt and pepper and add to the skillet.  Cook until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.  Once chicken is cooked, add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.  Add tomatoes and cover pan with a lid.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften, about 6-7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add drained pasta and water to the skillet, toss 1 minute, then turn off the heat.  Add basil, arugula and cheese and toss for a minute more.  Serve immediately.

TOTAL:  $7.62 or $1.90 per serving
Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


471 calories per serving

18 grams of fat

43 carbs

3 grams fiber

34 grams protein

Did you give it a try?  Leave me a comment below or head over to Facebook and let me know what you think!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. 1. good for you for putting you stuff where it was needed
    2. recipe sounds great and looks good and you will not find me picking out the green stuff!

    August 15, 2012
  2. So colorful! Looks delicious!

    August 16, 2012
  3. I live in a small house as well, and while I’m not nearly as rigid as Monica from “Friends,” I have a Monica-style suggestion for your spices. I keep mine in a high cabinet with a little pull-down tray, and this is how I can quickly find any spice I need: I keep them alphabetized. Seriously. Just loosely alphabetized. So I know I’m going to find bay leaves on the front row, and likely thyme will be on the back row, and marjoram is going to be somewhere near the middle. It’s not perfectly alphabetized, but this system is really simple. I don’t organize my pantry this way, since it’s ground level and easy for me to see and find things. But if I had a deep-freezer (something I’m considering), I might organize it loosely in an alphabetized way as well. Hope that helps you locate your cardamom (on the front row, of course!)

    August 16, 2012
    • Love this! Where did you get your pull down tray? I have next to no space left and 30 spices to go! I’m desperate!

      August 17, 2012

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