Caesar Pasta Salad With Grilled Chicken

3 cups fusilli or rotelle or other salad pasta
¾ lb. skinless boneless chicken breasts or chicken tenders with tendons removed and lightly seasoned with oregano, garlic, powder and lemon pepper or salt and pepper and grilled or baked
½ cup ripe olives, thinly sliced
½ medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced or chopped
½ small red or white onion sliced in rings and quartered
4 to 6 artichoke hearts packed in water or rinsed well if packed in oil, thinly sliced and halved
½ cup low fat mozzarella cheese (1.5 to 2 grams fat per 1-oz. serving)
1/3 cup fresh grated Asiago cheese
½ cup chopped fresh basil

2/3 cup fat free Caesar Salad Dressing, preferably Cardini’s
1/3 cup low fat mayonnaise (1 to 2 grams fat per tablespoon)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
4 anchovy fillets, drained, rinsed and finely minced
fresh ground pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions without salt and oil. Do not overcook, pasta should be al dente. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. If you don’t plan on assembling the salad until later, lightly spray pasta with cooking spray, tossing gently to mix. This will prevent pasta from sticking together.

2. Mix all spices together and season both sides of chicken. Place chicken on a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment paper and bake in a 350F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until juices run clear; Or wrap seasoned chicken in a tight foil package and cook on grill for 15 to 20 minutes. (Note; the amount of time needed to bake or grill tenders is about half that of a breast.) Allow chicken to cool then shred or cut chicken into small pieces; cover and chill.

3. In a blender, food processor or in a small bowl using a wire whisk, combine Caesar dressing together with mayonnaise, lemon juice pressed or minced garlic, olive oil and anchovies. Mix all ingredients together well and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, add cooled pasta with olives, onions, peppers, artichokes, chicken, cheeses and fresh basil.

5. Gently toss 3/4 of dressing with pasta mixture. Refrigerate salad and remaining dressing until chilled, 2 to 3 hours. Just before serving, toss salad with remaining dressing and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Yield: 10 1-cup servings at approximately 178 calories; 4.4 grams total fat; 1.3 grams saturated fat; 22 milligrams cholesterol; 21.3 grams carbohydrate; 2.6 grams dietary fiber; 13.5 grams protein; 602 milligrams sodium.

High Fat Version Contains 346 Calories vs. 178 and 23 grams fat vs. 4.4 grams fat.

Recipe from the cookbook, Lighten Up – The Art of Low Fat Gourmet Cooking, by Mary E. Ross

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