One of my favorite, easy summertime dishes is a pasta salad usually made with chicken. It’s inexpensive and my family loves it. I love the richness of the flavors and it’s perfect for any day of the week. I’ve found that making dishes like this is a great way to get in and out the the kitchen fast on days when the weather is warmer.
This past week, my dinner plan was to keep it cool in the kitchen and make some easy summer meals. And since I’ve reorganized the pantry to fit my needs a little better while I’m in the kitchen, I’ve been out in 30 minutes or less.
This recipe made more than six generous adult servings, it was indeed inexpensive and good.
Ranch Chicken Pasta Salad
1 Tablespoon olive oil
12 boneless & skinless Breast Tenders (faster to cook)
1 package spaghetti noodles
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Chedder and Colby Jack cheese mixed
1 bunch green onions, chopped
5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
1 cup Ranch dressing
1 green or red bell pepper chopped if you have it on hand.
1 teaspoon dried parsley OR 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley for garnish
- Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Cook breast tenders until no longer pink and slightly brown 5-7 minutes. Remove and set on a plate with paper towel to cool. (You could season with a little salt and pepper if desired.)
- Add pasta and cook according to package instructions, usually 8-9 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Add bacon to same skillet breast tenders were cooked in and cook until desired crispiness.
- In a large salad bowl, add pasta, chicken, vegetables, bacon and dressing. Toss and serve.
Noel’s Quick Notes: This is a perfect dish to prepare a day ahead and let the flavors meld overnight in the refrigerator.
Noel’s Money Saver Tips:
- Bone the chicken yourself instead of buying packaged chicken tenders or cutlets. With a little practice, you’ll be able to do it quickly and save over one dollar per pound.
- Purchasing pre-shredded cheese from your local supermarket may be a convenience, but you will save money if you buy the cheese in block form and shred it yourself.