The rice dish was a version of the popular Black Rice Mediterranean Salad that's been a hit all summer (don't think I ever make this dish exactly the same way twice b/c it really depends on the best produce available).
The pasta dish was a Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Roasted Chicken, Spinach and Artichokes. This makes a BIG BATCH so cut the portions in half for a dish to serve 4-6 people as a side or main dish.
Most of the ingredients can be picked up already prepared in the grocery store, but you'll have to me mindful of the increased sodium content that comes with prepared foods, and honestly your roasted chicken will taste better than Hormel's (I'm just sayin') and this is a great dish to use up any leftovers.
Substitute ingredients as the mood and availability strike, and keep in mind the marinated artichokes and the lemon juice will provide the "dressing" for the salad so no need to add more fat.
Want a vegetarian version? Simply omit the chicken and put in your protein of choice: nuts, eggs, un-chickn, tofu, whatever floats your boat. This is a very forgiving, yet tasty recipe.
Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Roasted Chicken, Spinach and Artichokes
1 box of cooked whole wheat linguine
1 bag of pre-washed baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained & roughly chopped
18 oz roasted chicken breast, roughly chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
juice from 2 lemons
grated Parmesan cheese
Break linguine into 2" lengths and cook following package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain and set aside.
Combine onions, artichoke hearts, lemon juice, bell pepper, oregano, spinach and chicken in a large bowl. Toss in the cooled pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.