We do lots of hiking and picnics during the summer, and sometimes it’s nice to stray away from the cooler full of sandwiches.  Recently, I made a quick pasta salad before we headed out on a hike for the day, and by mid-afternoon it was a welcomed meal.  As with so many other things I love to make, it is easy customizable to what’s in the fridge, what your family does and doesn’t like, and what strikes your fancy.

A portable pasta salad

To make, start by poaching two trimmed chicken breasts in chicken broth.  When cooked through, remove, cool, and shred.  While the chicken is cooking, boil half a pound of pasta- any whole grain variety of shells, elbows, fusilli, or rotini would do.  Combine cooked pasta and chicken, and mix in two cups of lightly-steamed veggies.  Here I used baby spinach and corn, but broccoli and red peppers, or carrots and green beans would be nice too.  Finally, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Whip out your cooler, and your picnic lunch is ready to go.  We brought along grapes and cheese sticks, and this kept us satisfied for the day.

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