A Fresh And Fruity Chicken Salad

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 01, 2008
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If you ever wanted to learn to tap dance, it’s not too late to learn this popular form of exercise. Jim Hutchison, who’s been dancing his whole life, teaches tap classes Thursday nights at Ballet Hawaii in Dole Cannery.

Jim was on Broadway at an early age. He was in the famous production of Pajama Game that launched the career of Shirley MacLaine, doing the acclaimed Steam Heat number he’s passed on to youngsters at Ballet Hawaii to keep the choreography alive.

He’s subsequently done everything from movies to serving on the board of the Screen Actors Guild, directing at local theatres (his production of Always, Patsy Cline at Manoa Valley Theatre opened in early September) and appearing in various shows.

Here’s to talented folks like Jim who keep us on our toes - or rather, taps!

In the United States, good quality pasta is made from durum wheat. Pasta can also be made using soft wheat flour, a blend of hard and soft wheat flour, buckwheat flour or rice flour, to name a few. The coloring of pasta may be provided by the adding of food-coloring agents or vegetable purees. In Asia, noodles are more commonly made of buckwheat or rice flour.

The choice of pasta shape is a matter of taste, but also depends on how you will be using it. Thinner pastas are more commonly used in soup and broth, while curved, tubes or twisted pastas are good for soaking up sauces.

Pasta should be cooked in rapidly boiling water. It is best to cook pasta al dente, (slightly firm to the bite). Make sure you use enough water and a pot that is large enough to allow for swelling, as good-quality pasta will expand to about four times its initial size. Too much water is better than too little; use about 12 cups to one pound of pasta. Drain pasta as soon as it is cooked.


* 1 12-ounce package rotini (spiral) pasta, cooked al dente and cooled

* 4 cups diced cooked chicken breast (you can buy thick-sliced breast at the deli counter to save time)

* salt and pepper, to taste

* 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into bite-size chunks

* 3 tablespoons dry-roasted, lightly salted peanuts

* 2 firm, ripe papaya, cut into chunks

* 1 head Manoa or romaine lettuce, to line plates

* 1/2 cup raspberry vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette lowfat/nonfat dressing

* fresh mint sprigs

Toss chicken breast with salt and pepper until well-blended. Mix chicken with macaroni until combined. Fold in pineapple and mix until combined. Add peanuts and mix until combined throughout the salad. Gently fold in papaya. Sprinkle in dressing and toss lightly.

Line six plates with lettuce and spoon salad on top; garnish with mint sprig. Makes six servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 380
Total Fat: 7.9 grams
Cholesterol: 31 milligrams
Sodium: 65 milligrams plus dressing

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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