Thursday, July 22, 2010


When you love to cook, you get inspiration in just about everything and everywhere. Sometimes I'm eating out and I'm inspired to recreate my meal at home. Sometimes I'm watching a cooking show or reading a cooking magazine and I get idea's about food combinations, flavors, unique ingredients etc...and I I'm inspired to try something new. Some times I'm just at a loss for dinner idea's and I open my pantry and play my own version of Door Knock Dinners... the way, does anyone remember that show. A chef would be lucky to knock on my door. I always have full pantry and freezer. The possibilities would be endless...

Anyway, we were discussing inspiration. So this dish was inspired by my good friend Lisa. she brought a really yummy tortellini salad to our 4th of July BBQ. Believe it or not, I had never cooked tortellini before. I've eaten it in restaurants, but never cooked it or had it at home. Lisa's salad was so good, I just had to do a little experimenting of my own. This is what I came up with.

I'm a big fan of tortellini now and plan to try a few more ideas in the near future....stay tuned.


(Mindi Original)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. red wine vinegar
4 T. olive oil
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 lb. cheese tortellini; cooked to package directions and set aside (I use Bertolli)
½ C. roasted pine nuts (optional)
½ C. basil; rough chopped
½ C. Parmesan or Asiago Cheese; grated
2 large Roma tomatoes; diced (or one pkg. grape tomatoes; sliced in half)
1 C. Ranch Dressing (I make Hidden Valley, but feel free to use what ever brand you prefer.)

1. In a zip lock bag or bowl, combine the chicken, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
2. Grill the chicken, then allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice thin and set aside.
3. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain, and set aside to cool.
4. When the chicken and the pasta are cool, Toss together and add the nuts, basil, cheese, tomatoes and dressing. Mix until well combined.
5. Eat immediately or allow to chill in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour. If you’re making it the night before and plan to take it to a party or event, you may want to wait to add the dressing until right before serving, or you can just add a little more dressing later.

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