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January 11, 2014

Culinary Conversation: Make it fast, easy and light

NEW CASTLE — If I’m on target, the word of the moment is light.

It’s especially appropriate after the holiday season when overindulgence often occurs.

Today, Culinary Conversation has just the antidote to start off the new year with some lighter selections.

There’s some bonuses. All are also easy. And fast.

Everybody’s busy. And often, there’s just not enough time to cook. If you keep your pantry stocked with some basic ingredients, you not only are able to throw together a quick, nutritious meal, the cost of constant take-outs is eliminated.

There’s even a quick dessert in today’s selections that has a surprise inside.

So, you can have a main course or toss a main course salad, make dessert and still have time for all the other things that matter.

What recipes do you call on when you need something that is quick and easy?

Share them at Culinary Conversation — the tasteful place to be in 2014.

Mexican Pasta Salad

  • 11⁄2 pounds fusilli pasta
  • 11⁄2 tablespoons plus 1⁄3 cup olive oil
  • 1, 21⁄2 pound roasted chicken, skinned, meat shredded
  • 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 4  cups)
  • 3 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  • 3 large carrots, thinly sliced on diagonal, slices cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • 1⁄2 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced
  • 11⁄4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 11⁄4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Cook fusilli pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse pasta with cold water to cool. Drain pasta well. Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil and mix thoroughly to coat. Add shredded chicken, diced tomatoes, corn kernels, carrot strips and chopped onion, and toss.

Mix Dijon mustard and fresh lime juice in small bowl. Gradually mix in remaining 1⁄3 cup olive oil. Mix in minced jalapeno chilies, chili powder and ground cumin. Add dressing and chopped fresh cilantro to salad and mix to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(*Note: Salad can be prepared four hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Also, for convenience, use a roasted chicken from your market or favorite take-out place. Remove the skin and toss the chicken meat with the cooked fusilli and vegetables.

Citrus and Pepper

Tuna Salad

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