Today marks the start to my favorite week of the year! Independence Day is my all-time favorite holiday and it’s even better this year since it’s on a weekend. My family comes to Utah from all over the nation and we spend the entire day together. Our day is non-stop: parades, BBQs, water balloon fights, naps and then fireworks. There is eating and home-cooked food all day long. We start with homemade cinnamon rolls while we watch the parade and finish with festive cookies and cupcakes as we wait and watch the fireworks. But the best food comes at the BBQ. We always eat barbecued chicken and our Hawaiian Pasta Salad. If you’ve never tried our Hawaiian Pasta Salad then you are missing out! Tangy mandarin oranges, sweet pineapple, crunchy red onion, and delicious avocado are all topped off with our signature lemon poppyseed dressing. It is requested at every family barbecue we have because it’s such a crowd-pleaser! I always make this salad the night before – ALWAYS. That way, the pasta and the fruit have some time to marinate in the dressing and it really makes a difference.
Make the salad the night before and then you only have to cook the chicken when you’re ready for dinner. This meal is SO simple that you’ll make it more than once or twice this summer.
BBQ Chicken & Hawaiian Pasta Salad
1-2lbs Chicken Breast, boneless/skinless
1/2 bottle BBQ Sauce
1 pkg. Plentiful Pantry Hawaiian Pasta Salad Mix
1 8oz. can Pineapple Tidbits, drained
1 11oz. can Mandarin Oranges, drained
1 small Red Onion, diced
2 small Avocados, diced
1/2 C. Olive Oil
1/4 C. White Wine Vinegar
Prepare Hawaiian Pasta Salad:
Heat 4 quarts water to boiling. Stir in pasta and return to boil. Cook 5-8 minutes. Do not overcook – pasta should be quite firm for salads. Rinse with cold water until cool. mix spice packet with olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl or shaker with a tight fitting lid. Shake until well blended. Pour dressing over pasta, fruit, onion and avocados. Toss and chill for at least 1 hour.
Prepare BBQ Chicken:
Coat chicken evenly with favorite BBQ sauce. Heat skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in skillet, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn chicken, replace cover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove cover and check chicken for doneness (if juices run clear). When cooked completely, pour half of BBQ sauce over chicken. Turn chicken over, and pour remaining sauce over the other side. Cook 2-3 minutes more while using a spoon or basting brush to coat chicken with sauce.