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Ready, Set, Cook! Hidden Valley Contest Entry. One day I was looking for something new to do with pasta salad. I entire family loves pasta salad so I wanted something special also. Now I do not like Ranch Salad dressing however I absolutely love the Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet. I have used it on potatoes, on chicken and many other ways. I decided why not add it to a light pasta salad. So my recipe was made, eaten and enjoyed. The best thing besides the taste of this Chicken Pasta Salad is how versatile you can make it. Do not like spinach, omit, substitute...no problem. Want to use beef or tofu...no problem. It is easy to make it your own. I know your family will love it too.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (1 ounce) packet Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dressing and Seasoning Mix, divided
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
- 1⁄2 cup scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese cubes
- 1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat penne, uncooked
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
- 3⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1⁄2 cup balsamic vinegar
- In quart size sandwich baggie add lemon zest , 2 tsp salt,1 tsp black pepper, crushed red pepper and ½ packet Hidden Valley seasoning mix.
- Toss Chicken in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Shake to drain lightly.
- In 3 to 4 batches shake chicken breast cubes to coat all sides. Remove and place on a plate. After all chicken has been coated discard mixture and baggie.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large sauté pan. Sauté chicken until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
- While chicken cooks, prepare penne pasta according to package directions.
- Remove chicken from pan and place in large mixing bowl.
- Pour spinach over chicken and cover to allow spinach to wilt.
- Drain pasta well and pour on top of chicken and spinach. Toss well. Allow to cool 5 minutes.
- In small mixing bowl whisk remaining olive oil, Italian seasoning, remaining Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix, Dijon mustard and Balsamic Vinegar until well blended. Set aside.
- To chicken mixture add cherry tomato halves, scallion slices and Mozzarella Cheese cubes. Toss well.
- Pour dressing over pasta mixture.
- Sprinkle with remaining salt and black pepper. Toss Well.
- Sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese.
- Serves well warm or cold.