My game plan is simple. Eat fruit in the car on the way over. Its a reasonably health conscious couple, so I can't imagine the side dishes will be horrible. But go easy. Take one serving/small portion and leave it alone. Then, when I'm done with my plate, pop in a piece of gum. You know, to close the meal.
If they were allowing us to bring something, this is what I'd bring:
Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 (8 ounce) package bow tie (farfalle) pasta
- 1/2 cucumber - scored, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion
- 2 diced Roma tomatoes
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1 (6 ounce) bag fresh spinach
- 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments, drained
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- To make the dressing, whisk together the ginger root, rice vinegar, orange juice, vegetable oil, sesame oil, soup mix, sugar, and garlic until well blended. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the bowtie pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, and rinse under cold water. Place pasta in a large bowl.
- To make the salad, toss the cucumber, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, carrot, spinach, mandarin oranges, chicken, and almonds with the pasta. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture, and toss again to coat evenly. Serve immediately.