Tag: summer salad

Chipotle Macaroni Salad Is All You Need This Summer

Chipotle Macaroni Salad Is All You Need This Summer

Spicy Chipotle Macaroni Salad Recipe

Here’s a fun story. 7 years ago I entered an original recipe salad contest Fresh and Easy Markets were hosting. The ask was for people to submit their best Summer salad ideas and the winning salad would be packaged and sold in all Fresh and Easy Markets. I casually decided to enter my chipotle macaroni salad. Why not? I had just started blogging and was anxious to get involved in the big wide web, and seriously didn’t give it much more thought than that. A few weeks later I received an email saying out of 5 thousand entries my chipotle macaroni salad was crowned the WINNER! Say what? I thought I was going MAD and had misread the email. I couldn’t believe it, never in a hundred years did I think I would win.

It took about a year before I saw it on the shelves. I felt so humbled, and proud, and excited…it was definitely a surreal feeling seeing my creation displayed and sold in a supermarket. As part of the salad launch Fresh and Easy invited me in-store to take photos with my new packaged salad. A Facebook memory popped up today with these images that my friend Stephen (LatinoFoodie) took of me as I was being photographed by the photographer the market had hired.

Chipotle macaroni salad photoshoot nicole presley

It was an amazing experience for sure, and one that made a little space for me among the blogging world. I look at these photos and think… I’ve learned so much since then, I’m still grateful for this slice of recognition, I like that I was wearing the evil eye around my neck on a red string (keeping the haters at bay), and it looks like my hair was in an awkward stage of mid-length bangs that needed to be pinned down. With all the growth that has come with time one thing remains the same, my chipotle macaroni salad is still a winner, if I do say so myself, and should be celebrated all Summer long. I hope you’ll love it, as much as I do. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Chipotle Macaroni Salad:

  • 1 – pound elbow macaroni (cooked according to box al-dente)
  • 4 – tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1  – teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 – teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/3 – cup green onion (minced) (about 10 stalks)
  • 1 – red onion (diced small)
  • 1 – cup frozen peas (thawed)
  • 8 – oz. corn (about one cup)
  • 4 – hard boiled eggs (peeled and chopped small)
  • 1/2 – cup chopped black olives
  • 1 – jar zesty dill pickles (chopped small)
  • 1 lb – sharp cheddar cheese (cubed small)
  • 6 – heaping tablespoons pimento (diced)
  • 1 1/2 – cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 – tablespoon ground chipotle chile pepper ( feel free to add more if you like it extra spicy or less if you just want a tad of heat)



  1. In a big bowl add drained/cooled macaroni and mustard.  Mix well.
  2. Sprinkle in salt, black pepper, and dill.  Mix well.
  3.  Add both the red and green onion. Mix to combine.
  4. Next add the peas and corn. I mix with each addition to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  5. Add chopped hard boiled egg, black olives, and pickles. Mix to combine.
  6. Add cheddar cheese cubes and pimento. Mix well.
  7. Now add mayonnaise into the salad and mix well. Lastly sprinkle in the chipotle chile pepper. Mix well and serve!
  8. I prefer the taste of the salad the next day after all the flavors have had a chance to mingle in the fridge.
  9. Enjoy!
Aromatic Grilled Chicken Panzanella Salad

Aromatic Grilled Chicken Panzanella Salad

Thank you to NatureRaised Foods for sponsoring this article. Learn how NatureRaised Foods is “Doing What’s Right, Right from the Start™” in your area.

It’s as if the grill beckons me once the hotter temperatures start to set in. As you know, I love cooking but am not always up for being in the HOT kitchen during these scorching summer months. With that being said I want to spend less time inside and more time outside. I start to dream up meals that could be prepared on the grill with very little prep inside the house. Yet, I don’t want to just throw anything on the grill, I still want my meal to be wholesome and nutritious.  Majority of the time I want tasty grilled chicken, and NatureRaised Farms® brand chicken makes that part easy…..  They are accountable when needing to feed my family something that is right, right from the start.  Here’s an important side note….  They do not add antibiotics ever, in fact their chickens are fed a 100% vegetarian diet (no animal protein and no bakery by-products), with no added hormones or steroids. I like knowing that and thought you would like knowing that too. No wonder it tastes so good…. It’s 100% all-natural. Okay, I’ll stop with all the scientific part of it and get back to my grilling and chicken love.

One of my all time favorite dishes to make on the grill is chicken panzanella salad. I always start it the night before when the kitchen is nice and cool. I whip together a little marinade drop it in a bowl with my chicken and let it stand over night. Then I chop all my veggies and place then in another bowl and place them in the fridge till I’m ready to eat the next day. It’s so easy. The next day I grill my chicken (depending on my mood, I’ll either use breasts or if I want some dark meat I’ll use thighs) and couple slices of bread. Chop both the chicken and bread, then add it into the veggies. Crumble some feta on top and give it a splash of salad dressing and there you have it….. one of the best salads I know how to make in a matter of minutes. The best part is…. It’s super fresh, yet filling with the bread, and hearty with the grilled chicken. It’s almost like having a deconstructed chicken sandwich but with way more veggies in it. Plus it’s a meal in itself…. No need for anything else on the plate.

Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Panzenella Salad:

  • 1 – package NatureRaised Farms® chicken (either breasts or thighs)
  • 2 – tablespoons brown mustard
  • ½ – cup white wine
  • ½ – onion (sliced into big pieces)
  • 3 – tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – tablespoon chopped garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 – hothouse cucumber (cut into ¼ of an inch slices)
  • 1 – pint cherry tomatoes (I use both yellow and red) (cut in half)
  • 1 – red bell pepper (sliced into strips)
  • 1 – yellow bell pepper (sliced into strips)
  • 1 – red onion (sliced thinly)
  • 1 – bunch of asparagus (blanched and chopped into 1 to 2 inch pieces)
  • 1 – French bread loaf or mini sourdough loaf (grilled and cubed)
  • 5 – leaves fresh basil (chopped)
  • 5 – ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ – cup Italian dressing



  1. In a large bowl add chicken, brown mustard, white wine, onion, olive oil, chopped garlic, and salt and pepper to your liking. Place in the fridge over night to marinade. 
  2. In another bowl add cucumber, cherry tomato halves, sliced red and yellow bell pepper, red onion, and asparagus. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge over night.  
  3. When ready to eat slice up the bread and lightly brush with olive oil then place on a hot grill / bar-b-que and grill on each side until crisp, toasty, and golden. Then remove from the grill and set to the side.
  4. Then grill the chicken on both sides until fully cooked. About 7 to 8 minutes on both sides. Then remove from the grill and chop up into 2-inch cubes. Add to the bowl of vegetables.  
  5. Then chop up the grilled bread and add to the vegetables and chicken bowl.
  6. Then top the whole bowl off by adding in basil, feta cheese, and Italian dressing.
  7. Mix the salad to fully incorporate all ingredients, and place salad back in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow bread to soak up some of the dressing and for all flavors to mix.
  8. Serve with your favorite beverage and you’ve got a complete meal.
  9. Enjoy!

Thank you NatureRaised Foods and Technorati for being sponsors of this article. All opinions expressed here are my own.