Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad and Shopping in Tijuana

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It's wonderful having a handy husband!  If I want an odd shaped bookshelf or a curio cabinet to perfectly fit a certain spot all I have to do is ask. 

On the other hand, I have an abnormal fear of hearing the words 'son of a B**TCH!' shouted concurrently with the lights going out. 

The lights are back on, my computer is working and, due to enforced outside time, a significant part of my herb garden is weed free!

Besides being handy with hammer and saw, mon mari actually knows his way around a kitchen.  His specialty is Caesar Salad.  I have adapted and tweaked his recipe to come up with Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, my entry this week to Ruth's Presto Pasta Night.Presto2bpast2bnights1

Did you know the famous Caesar Salad was invented in Tijuana, Mexico?

I have been to Tijuana.  People here (France, Andorra) often ask if I've been to Mexico.  I always say no because I don't think Tijuana and Nogales really count.  They're border towns, designed for Americans to cross into Mexico, browse through tacky tourist shops looking for the 'good deal' and, inevitably, pay more for less.

Oh, not for everything.  If you stick to the local crafts or things made elsewhere in Mexico you can get wonderful bargains.  I have some lovely silver jewelry and a beautiful set of hand-painted pottery dishes that I bought in Nogales.  While I considered both purchases to be a good deal they were not ridiculously cheap. 

It's when you think that the heavy, 18k gold bracelet, stamped Bulgari, can be yours for only $95.00 that you may come away less than happy.  A friend bought that bracelet in Tijuana and her wrist was green before we crossed the border.  By the time we got to San Diego there wasn't a speck of gold left to be seen!  All she has to show for her money is a funny story.  (I think it's funny, anyway)

Maybe it's the haggling that tempts us.  We read in travel magazines about a young woman who traveled alone to Marrakesh, spent a lovely afternoon sipping mint tea and negotiating for 5 carpets.  Upon returning home to Wherever, U.S.A. she discovered that they were a rare weave of raw silk and resold them for enough money to by a small vineyard in Napa Valley and retire.

We can do that! 
So when the handsome young man on the street approaches and tells us the tragic story of his only sister who needs immediate and expensive surgery, we listen. 
When he shows us the family jewelry that must be sold quickly, we look. 
When he asks if we can give him something, anything, we make an offer.  He counters.  Finally, as a special concession 'to you, kind, pretty lady' a price is agreed.  He gets the cash and is gone before the clasp can be unfastened; the buyer gets a green wrist.

I'll stick to the salad.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad Chickencaesar

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 tbs chili powder
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 cups penne
1 tbs olive oil – the good stuff
Caesar dressing

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  When done, drain, put into a large serving bowl and toss with 1 tbs olive oil.  Mix chili powder, Worcestershire and garlic.  Slice chicken breasts into bite size pieces or strips and toss with chili powder mixture.  Cook on barbecue grill in pan or sauté in nonstick skillet on stove.  Either way cooking time is 5 – 7 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add cooked chicken and 2/3 dressing to pasta and toss to mix. (A tongs works great for this!)  After mixing taste and add rest of dressing if you like.   

Caesar Dressing

2 cloves garlic
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs tarragon white wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 anchovy filet's, mashed or 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
1/2 cup Greek or plain yogurt
2 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
1 tbs snipped fresh chives
3 tbs Parmesan

Mince garlic and put in small bowl.  Add mustard, lemon, Worcestershire, vinegar and yogurt (and anchovies, if using) and mix well with wire whisk.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil whisking constantly.  Whisk in Parmesan and chives.

Stop by Ruth's Once Upon A Feast on Friday for the complete pasta recap of the 20th Presto Pasta Night! 

Pasta rocks!

BTW: Mon mari claims that a good Caesar Salad causes a slight sheen to appear on the forehead of the diner by the time the salad is finished.  I have tried to live up to his standards.  You my adjust to suit your own.

13 thoughts on “Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad and Shopping in Tijuana”

  1. Great summer dish — I love Caesar salad, and chicken, so why not put them together! I love Mexico, too — if you ever have the chance to travel to other parts of the country, like Oaxaca, you will fall in love with it.

  2. You will cringe when I tell you that I had a caesar salad at McDonalds today. It was of course very mediocre, I will have to make your good version.

  3. Lydia, I would love to actually see Mexico, Mon mari has been to Mexico City and loved it! It’s a bit of a haul for us now…
    Meredith, hmmmm, I say hmmmm. McDo’s? (Actually I usually eat their chicken caesar, too. Mon mari can only go so long with out his McDo fix)

  4. What would cause the sheen on the forehead? I don’t see anything really hot in the recipe. But it does look like a keeper. How can you go wrong with pasta and chicken?

  5. Chicken and Caesar salad, yum. Add pasta? Double yum! What a great idea. Sorry I haven’t been around in a while. My summer vacation started out with me being busier than when I was working! I’m hoping to change all that and get back into blogging. Had to read all your posts to catch up and am so glad I did. Those mussels!!!

  6. Farmgirl, I think it’s the garlic and the anchovies. And there is no cooling yogurt in mon mari’s ‘proper’ salad… it’s not hot but there is a sheen LOL
    Christine, summer’s have a way of doing that… So much to do, so little time. Try to relax a bit 😉
    Chris, Well said! Thank you!;-))

  7. This sounds like the “cadillac” of all chicken caesar salad recipes! Your blog layout is so beautiful, by the way. I love the soothing lavender and green together. I have my guest bath done in these shades…love them. 🙂

  8. Yum yum , now you are making me miss mexico! I love Caesar salads.
    I bought a fake diamond bevel rolex in TJ for 10 dollars and it lasted for three full years–amazing! Then one day it fell off my wrist and shattered into a MILLION pieces while I was in a book store. I just laughed and laughed.

  9. Oh the stories that come out of bargaining in Mexico!
    The pasta looks totally wonderful and wonderful with the garlic. I know I will feel compelled to toss in some fresh baby spinach at the last minute to wilt with the heat in the pasta!

  10. Riana, I love that story! 10 bucks is great!
    Tanna, now why didn’t I think of that? I was wondering what to put with it for veg and spinach would be perfect! Color and nutrition….

  11. I’ll definitely try this recipe..actually,there is a chicken caesar salad in McDonald,if i’m not mistaken.But i want to try to make it in my own..
    thank you for sharing your recipe..
    seth

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