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Summertime is potluck season. Whether it’s a family reunion, neighborhood block party, or the t-ball end-of-season party, there always seems to be a need for a great potluck recipe. I have been buying a Chicken Caesar pasta salad from my local deli and I decided it was time to create my very own version. I went to my local Smart & Final to get all the ingredients I needed. I am happy to report, I won’t be needing to overpay at the deli anymore. This Chicken Caesar pasta salad is so good!
This recipe is a great mix of pantry staples and fresh ingredients. You can have the whole rest of the salad prepped while the pasta is cooking. The hard part is waiting for it cool. I bet you will want to sneak a taste, I know I did!
Smart & Final is in the process of rebranding and I wanted to see what it was all about. My dish is centered around two Smart & Final private label brands; First Street, and La Romanella. The first thing I went to find is the Caesar dressing, because you can’t make a Caesar salad without the dressing. The aisle was clearly labeled Salad Dressing and there was a large selection of First Street salad dressings. For this recipe, you will want the Old World Caesar.
Keeping up with the old world theme, I chose La Romanella penne rigata for the pasta because it is actually made in Italy. Let’s get cooking!
- Bring 4 qts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and stir. Cook uncovered for 10-12 minutes to al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain the water and set the pasta aside.
- While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, chop the bell peppers, Italian parsley, and garlic.
- Add the cooked pasta and ½ the bottle of Caesar dressing to a large serving bowl. Add all the other ingredients and stir to combine. Pepper to taste. Refrigerate the salad until cold, or at least 3 hours. Stir every 30 minutes or so to speed up the cooling process.
- Before serving, stir the salad. Add some additional dressing if it looks too dry or it needs an additional flavor boost.
The Caesar dressing had a really great flavor. I know that sometimes store brands can get a bad wrap, but I was genuinely thrilled at how much this tasted like the deli salad I was buying. One of the other things I really like about Smart & Final is that it is a great mix of warehouse store and market. You can find all the basics you need plus bulk items too. I always assumed the name Smart & Final came from it being a “Smart” place to shop and your “Final” destination because they have everything you need. It turns out though that there was a Mr. Smart and a Mr. Final that went into business together 144 years ago. That seems like it was a partnership meant to be!
Curious about what else Smart & Final has in store with their rebranding? Let me tell you about Instacart. You can shop online and have your groceries delivered in an hour! This is a new feature so check to see if it’s available in your area here: http://bit.ly/1KInlOP. If it’s available you can get $5 off and free delivery with promo code: SMART5.
What’s your go-to potluck meal? Let’s hear it in the comments!