Dayton's/Macy's Chicken Pasta Salad

Back in the early 90's I rented kiosks in malls for the Christmas season. One of my favorite malls was Rosedale Center in Roseville Minnesota. My rental agreement was for the months of November and December. I loved being there, but the days were long in November. People don't start thinking about Christmas until Thanksgiving weekend. Then, all hell breaks loose. 

In order to cut expenses, I worked the day shift for the month of November. Like I said before, people don't start thinking about purchasing Christmas presents until after Thanksgiving, so the purchases were very slow. 

Every day I would bring my own lunch from home. I was always trying to save a few bucks. But now and then I would purchase something from the food court. One day I ventured into Dayton's (which is now Macy's) basement where they had a small deli. I thought I would try one of their many salads that were on display. I purchased their Asian Chicken Pasta Salad. After that day, I had to have that salad at least once a week if not more.
The Asian pasta salad was go dang good! I almost became addicted to it...LOL! My neighbor's daughter worked in the deli and I asked her if she could get a copy of that recipe for me. Remember, back in the 90's the internet was in its infancy and finding a recipe online was not there yet. Finding anything on the internet was not there yet. She said not a problem and once I got my hands on that recipe, I made it for lots and lots of occasions. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe also.

I think I liked it so much because they used sesame oil in the recipe. I love Chinese food. I love the taste of sesame oil, ginger or any other spices that make it taste like heaven. This salad was definitely heaven.

What you will need to make the Asian Pasta Salad...
This salad uses Long Fusili pasta (broken into 2-3" pieces), but any spiral pasta will work. I love the Fusili because it's a little thicker than regular pasta. It's like thick spaghetti and oh so good! I found fussili pasta at Target.
  • long fusili pasta
  • Cooked chicken breast
  • pea pods
  • green onions
  • mushrooms
  • wontons (I use wonton strips that can be purchased in the salad dressing isle. It's so much simpler than making your own strips, which the original recipe called for)
  • Mandarin oranges
  • sesame seeds
For the Dressing you will need...
  • egg yolk
  • sugar
  • soy sauce
  • rice white vinegar
  • white pepper
  • sesame oil
  • vegetable oil
Let's Make Asian Chicken Pasta Salad...
First you will need to blanch the pea pods. Blanching gives the pea pods a beautiful color and keeps the pea pods crisp. 

Start by filling a saucepan with about 2-3 cups water and bring to a boil. Once the boil has started add the peapods and turn the heat down a little. Cook for about 3 minutes and then strain the peapods and drop them in a ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once they have cooled, strain again and place in bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces. Also cut the green onion and mushrooms into bite size pieces and add half the can of Mandarin oranges. Place all the cut items and mandarin oranges into a large mixing bowl and mix together. Set aside. The remaining Mandarin oranges will be used for garnish.
Now it's time to toast the sesame seeds. Place sesame seeds in a frying pan with no oil. Turn on the heat to about medium and stir them until they are browned. Make sure you stay with the frying pan while toasting. They turn brown very quickly and there's nothing worse than burning them. It changes the taste of the salad. It's like cooking garlic. If you burn it, the taste of whatever you're cooking will change.

I use a food processor to make this dressing. It's easier and makes the dressing into a mayo type dressing. The dressing should be creamy, not thin.

Time to Add the Finishes...
After you have added the dressing, move mixture to your serving bowl and top with the remaining Mandarin oranges and the toasted sesame seeds. Save the wontons and place on salad just before serving.

And that's it! Truly a simple salad with BIG, BIG flavor. It will last in the refrigerator for a couple of days. However, I have never had much leftover...it's that good! 

Dayton's/Macy's Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe...
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. Long Fusilli Pasta
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast
  • 2 cups pea pods, sliced on the diagonal and blanched
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pkg. wonton strips (located in the salad dressing isle)
  • 1 cup Mandarin oranges
  • 2 T. sesame seeds, toasted - for garnish
Dressing:
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 T. sesame oil
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
Directions:
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
  2. Drain and cool
  3. Hand tear chicken to bite-size pieces.
  4. Then in a large mixing bowl toss together the chicken, pasta, peapods, green onion, and mushrooms. 
  5. Chill
Dressing:
  1. In a blender or food processor, add the egg yolk, sugar soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and white pepper, process to combine.
  2. With motor running, slowly add sesame and vegetable oils.
  3. Dressing should be thick
  4. Chill dressing
Combine:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss salad with dressing. 
  2. Chill.
  3. Garnish the finished salad with the oranges, toasted sesame seeds and the wonton strips
Serves 6-8



One Final Thought...
This was a fun recipe to make and post. Not only because it's a good recipe, but it also was a great way to make this recipe once again. It's so good, you won't be disappointed! I think I already mentioned that I was addicted to it!!! LOL!


The internet has so many useful websites and video channels that can make your every day life a little easier. I love sharing good ideas, recipes, DIY's, home maintenance and other useful tips that I have seen or visited on the internet throughout the years.

Clean My Space...
I came across this gal's youtube channel, Clean My Space by accident and wanted to share her expertise on cleaning. She has many videos on different issues regarding cleaning your home on her youtube channel. I would like to introduce you to Melissa Maker from Clean My Space. Her cleaning techniques are great. If you have a few extra minutes, it would be worth it for you to check it out. Below is one of her videos called "7 expert tips you need to be using"...
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Always remember..."Life's short, eat dessert first!"...words to live by!