Sunday, August 11, 2013

H-E-B/Con-Agra Meal Maker Challenge Week #2: Chicken Caprese Tortellini Salad...Featuring Hunts Diced Tomatoes

Welcome, my friends, to Week #2 of the terrific H-E-B/ConAgra Meal Maker Challenge! I hope all of you enjoyed my Salsarific Taco Skillet from Week #1 featuring H-E-B Salsa. The challenge to create delicious family-friendly meals containing no more than seven ingredients that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less was really fun. I really enjoyed using my culinary creativity to get maximum flavor using only a few ingredients. With only seven ingredients in a recipe, everyone has to count. To me, the key was to use ingredients that pack a lot of flavor bang for the buck. Ingredients like fresh herbs, salsa, cheeses and garlic. 

This week, our featured ingredient is Hunts Diced Tomatoes. I checked out all their different flavor varieties on the shelf of my neighborhood H-E-B. I knew I found just what I was looking for when I saw their Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic. The roasting adds a bit of color and a deeper flavor to the tomatoes, and the garlic brought a great depth of flavor. I knew the tomatoes would be perfect in a quick-cook easy main dish salad. With temperatures hovering near 100 degrees the past few weeks, I wanted to feature something that didn't require an oven and could be enjoyed on the warmest of Texas evenings. One of my favorite salads is a caprese, so I used that as a springboard to create my Chicken Caprese Tortellini Salad. This dish is full of the flavors, colors and textures found in a caprese salad...with a few extra surprises.

To make the prep work as quick and simple as possible, I used refrigerated tortellini, pre-cooked chicken breast strips and bottled Italian dressing. While the tortellini cooks, you have a pocket of time to chop some red onions and fresh basil. Simply add all of the ingredients to a pretty serving bowl, pour the zesty dressing on top, and give it a quick toss before serving!

Chicken Caprese Tortellini Salad
a Weekend Gourmet Original

  1. 14-ounce can Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic, drained well
  2. 8-ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini (mixed spinach and regular)
  3. 1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls (or diced fresh mozzarella)
  4. 2 cups HEB Fully Cooked Diced Chicken Breast
  5. 1/4 cup purple onion, cut into thin slivers
  6. 3-4 basil leaves cut in a chiffonade
  7. 1 cup bottled Italian dressing
  1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. When cooked, immediately drain and plunge them into a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes to quick chill.
  2. While the pasta cooks, prep the onion and basil.
  3. To assemble the salad, add the cooled tortellini to a large serving bowl. Drain the tomatoes very well. Add the tomatoes, diced chicken, mozzarella pearls, purple onion and basil to the bowl.
  4. Pour the Italian dressing over the top and toss well to combine all ingredients.

That's it! This dish is simple to make, gorgeous to look at...and delicious to eat. This is the kind of salad that will even get the thumbs up from everyone who tries it...even men who might not normally enjoy salad for dinner. The hearty tortellini and double shot of protein from the chicken and mozzarella make this dish filling, yet light. We loved the freshness of the Hunts tomatoes, and the way the fire roasting brought out their sweetness. This is a regular in my Summer dinner rotation, and I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do!

The H-E-B/ConAgra Meal Maker Challenge is a lot of fun, but it's also a contest. So...if you like my recipe, I would certainly appreciate it if you visited the H-E-B voting microsite and repinned it via Pinterest. Anybody can take part in the voting process, but my Texas readers will receive an added bonus: weekly coupons to save on the featured ingredient at your local H-E-B. At the end of the contest next month, the two food bloggers with the most votes will win some really cool prizes. I'd be honored if you voted for my Salsarific Taco Skillet! Be sure to come back next Sunday for 
another speedy family-friendly recipe.

Disclosure: I received compensation, as well as H-E-B and ConAgra products as part of this promotion. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

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