Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Gutsy Easy Pasta Maindish Salad for Summer #2

OK folks, my motto for hot weather is 'summer is for salads'.  And I don't mean tossed green salads either!  I mean a salad that eats like a meal.

Once again, I started with one of those Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad mixes; this time I used Bacon and Ranch.  I also cooked the pasta just 10 minutes instead of the 12 minutes they suggest.  Al dente pasta is much healthier, and mushy pasta in a salad just doesn't appeal to me in any kind of appetizing way!

Now comes the good part, all the added stuff:  chopped bell peppers, grated carrots, chopped black olives, grated Tillamook cheddar (I live near Tillamook), chunked up chicken breast and some extra bacon. 

For the chicken, I like to use the frozen Foster Farms Chicken Breast Grilled Strips. You can thaw just what you need in the microwave, and if you have a Costco nearby, they sell large packages much cheaper than the small packages that grocery stores sell. In fact, I use this chicken in a lot of different dishes. It's really good quality and so convenient to use.  For the bacon, I also take the easy route and use the already cooked real bacon bits.  In the summer I hate to heat up the kitchen any more than I have to.

I made the dressing in the box according to the directions, but then I added some extra ranch dressing (I use lite, but not fat-free), and a little milk to make it creamier.  Just wing it here!

So there you have it.  QED!  :)

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