I had planned to make my mom's old favorite tuna-noodle picnic salad for an office potluck because all the ingredients were in my pantry: a can of tuna, penne pasta, mayo, cucumbers, celery, frozen peas and Old Bay seasoning. But just after I had boiled my pasta I discovered the big can of tuna in my pantry was actually a big can of chicken. I had forgotten I'd bought that for a Buffalo chicken dip for the Super Bowl that I never made.
Take those same ingredients and add sliced grapes, raisins (or cranberries) and some Zest Coast Original seasoning and I had a salad that tasted like an awesome chicken salad with pasta and a little kick.
I love love love chicken salad. But to make a large amount of traditional chicken salad for a crowd would mean you'd need the meat from a whole flock. And maybe a few Seagulls. But turning it into a pasta salad, you can stretch it out for a crowd but still get the savory and sweet flavor of mayo, chicken, grapes and other spice elements of a chicken salad, but extend it for many plates.
Zest Coast Picnic Pasta Salad
1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente
10 oz can chicken (or 1-1/2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken)
1 cucumber peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup frozen peas
2 stalks of celery, chopped small
1 cup seedless grapes cut and quartered
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
3/4 cup mayo (we prefer Dukes but we won't judge you -- But you should try this stuff!)
1 tbsp Zest Coast Original seasoning blend (but add more to taste (much more in my case)
Add salt to taste
Boil pasta and put frozen peas in the bottom of the bowl you plan to mix the salad in. Dump the hot pasta on top of the peas and add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well blended. Add more mayo as needed, sprinkle some salt and more seasoning blend to taste. It should have a slight red color when done and the flavor will get even stronger after the dish has rested in the fridge for an hour (or overnight).
Put out the jar of Zest Coast Original seasoning blend so your guests can sprinkle some on top.