Smoky Chicken, Peppers and Spinach Pasta Salad

Since I’m not free on the last week of May, I asked Michelle if I could attend the South Arm Hungry Men Community Kitchen instead of missing the session for women. Most of the times, the recipes are the same for both kitchens.

Here is my observations of the Hungry Men Community Kitchen; they are eager to learn to cook and they socialize well with one another. They are helpful with the clean up too. I wish the men in my home are the same. They only need extra guidance  with some basic kitchen skills and more complicated recipes ((in term of many steps) .


For this kitchen, the main course is a Smoky Chicken, Peppers and Spinach Pasta Salad. This salad can be served hot or cold.


  • 12 ounces rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions (vegetable rotini is preferred)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauce + 1 tablespoon for cooking chicken
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper,or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • about 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups (2 heaping handfuls) fresh spinach leaves, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and diced small



Yield: serves 8 generously


IMG_3422Cook pasta in a big pot of salted water according to package directions, drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
IMG_3432In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, add the honey, vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and stir to combine; set sauce aside.
IMG_3421In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, add chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, flipping intermittently so all sides cook evenly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness and sizes of chicken pieces. Chicken should be about 90% cooked through.
IMG_3434Carefully add the sauce, noting that it may bubble up in the first few seconds. Allow sauce to bubble at a medium-fast boil for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced some and chicken is cooked throughout.Stir sauce and flip chicken intermittently throughout. You’ll still have quite a bit of sauce in the pan after 3 to 4 minutes which is good because there’s lot of pasta and vegetables to coat. Allow chicken to rest in pan off the heat while you chop the spinach and peppers.
IMG_3441Add the spinach, peppers, chicken and all the sauce to the bowl of pasta and stir well to combine. Taste and check for seasoning balance, making any necessary adjustments. This dish can be served warm immediately or can be served as a cold pasta salad. It will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.Serve cold or re-heat gently prior to serving if desired.

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