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When I was a little girl, my grandmother one summer introduced our family to chicken cordon bleu thanks to a local deli that prepared the rolled up chicken dish and sold it ready to bake. Immediately, I fell in love since it combined several of my favorite things: ham and cheese, chicken and breading.
It’s always felt like a special meal. Something to reserve for fancier dinners. But it doesn’t have to be.
Later, I discovered that ready to bake chicken cordon bleu was available in my local grocery store — in the freezer section. Barber Foods makes a great version that comes frozen and raw, already prepared and ready to bake according to package directions (hint: the chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, as measured by a meat thermometer). It’s great to have in the freezer for those nights when you forget to defrost something — or for when you just really want something a little fancier for dinner.
Recently, Barber Foods updated their recipe, and it’s even more like the chicken cordon bleu of my childhood. And the breading! It’s crispier than ever, which I love.
In fact, there’s a whole line of Barber Stuffed Chicken Breasts — like Broccoli and Cheese and Chicken Kiev. My kids and I like to each choose different varieties when we’re at our local Hannaford grocery store — Three boxes mean two meals for us, with limited hands-on work for me. Score one for this busy family!
But what do you serve with Barber Stuffed Chicken Breasts? Side dishes are what take this from a tasty dish to a really satisfying meal. I love serving this with veggies like green beans, cucumber salad or fresh corn on the cob — or even better, a rainbow veggie platter with fresh tomatoes in a variety of hues, cucumbers, bell peppers and more. And besides that, a veggie-filled pasta salad can complete the meal deliciously.
This recipe for Lemon Parsley Pasta Salad is a flavorful side dish that’s easy to make while the chicken is cooking.
With a boost of tart lemon flavor, this satisfying pasta salad combines raw diced zucchini, sweet red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, with the lemon and fresh parsley to create a light, refreshing salad. These, to me, are largely the flavors of fall — when zucchini is plentiful, tomatoes are having their swan song and herbs like parsley are bright and fresh.
And the best part? The leftovers are delicious to pack up for lunches.
Lemon Parsley Pasta Salad
- 1/2 lb pasta , prepared
- 1 cup diced raw zucchini
- 1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper , to taste
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together cooled, cooked pasta with the zucchini, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and parsley.
- Sprinkle with lemon zest and drizzle with lemon juice. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.