Tag Archives: ranch dressing

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

It has started to warm up, but in that usual spring way of being 70° one day and 46° the next. Still, I can feel spring around the corner and am in the mood for a cold salad. The trick is not to make too much for the two of us, so that we don’t feel obligated to eat it for a week or throw it away. I’m only going to use 6 0z. of the pasta, but I know it will still be too much.

I’m using fresh garden peas, now that my local grocer carries them, a few jarred roasted red peppers, hard boiled eggs, and the chicken breasts of the previous post. And bacon.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 3-4 as main dish
  • Difficulty: easy
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6 oz pasta—I used white fiber pasta shells that have more whole grain—cooked according to package directions

2 large roasted red bell peppers, diced

8 oz fresh shelled garden peas, microwaved for 1 minute, or frozen peas, uncooked

4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped

4-6 slices thick-sliced bacon, browned and chopped

4 small poached chicken breasts, about 2 lbs, cut in large chunks (see previous post)

1 1/2-2 cups ranch dressing (below)

Ranch Dressing:

1/2 cup each whole buttermilk, real mayonnaise, sour cream

2 tablespoons dried chives

1 tablespoon dried dill weed

1 clove garlic, grated or minced

salt and pepper

  1. Whisk all ingredients until smooth. You can double the recipe if you think you need the larger amount, and it never hurts to have more on hand.

Combine all the salad ingredients, tossing with the ranch dressing. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The garden peas are a nice addition with that fresh pop in each bite.

What to Bring to the Summer Get Together

Side dish or dessert? Side dish or dessert? You’d think with only two choices, making one would be easy, but whenever I hear that option, my head starts swimming with all the possible dishes I could make. First, I lean toward dessert, because within the narrow confines of my family I am known for some pretty good ones, whether elaborate or simple. But then I start panicking about all the possible things that can go wrong, most of them having to do with accidental burning or insufficient rising, overworked crusts or underbaked centers, or missed ingredients—in a dessert, the littlest thing turns into a disaster.

The dessert disaster scenario takes only seconds and I start thinking about side dishes. Now, that’s a gigantic category encompassing appetizers, salads, vegetables, each one of those its own abyss. I’ll have to admit that what first popped into my head was a corn-black bean-mango salsa, but did I want to bring chips or turn it into a pasta salad? Not really. I quickly fell back on the old standby macaroni salad because it’s easy to make and hard to ruin, but with visions of seeing 12 different bowls of the stuff, I had to figure out how to make mine stand out or at least compete well with the others so as not to be faced with taking home the only untouched dish.

Bacon, obviously

A quick trip around the web showed me the right dressing to go with the bacon, so I’m taking Bacon Ranch Macaroni Salad with homemade ranch dressing.

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