October 30, 2017

Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad

A super flavorful, hearty pasta salad with everybody's favorites!


Though our fall season is almost over, we spend a LOT of time at the ball field. Between softball and baseball, we’re spending our entire weekend at a tournament at least every other weekend, pretty-much year-round.

AND WE LOVE IT!

Seriously, non-baseball/softball parents (or any other youth sport that eats up entire weekends in one giant chomp) look at us sometimes like we’re doing it wrong, like we must be insane to live like this. But y’all, this era my family is in right now has been the best season of my life as a parent.

I don’t know if we’re just the luckiest people on earth or if everyone experiences this, but the families we’ve landed with playing ball over the years have become some of our dearest friends. So getting to spend that much time with people I love while watching my kids do the thing they love has been such a blessing. And you want to talk about loving some kids?? SHOOO-WEE!! I didn’t know I could feel this way about a bunch of children that don’t belong to me. MMMMPH… my cup runneth over.

OK, back to living life at the ball field… Boy do you get sick of eating sandwiches. And I’ve got some serious tricks up my sleeve for keeping things interesting. I make different types of chicken salad, I assemble all sorts of mini-sandwiches on sweet Hawaiian rolls (egg salad, pimento cheese, seafood salad, etc.), I make giant subs and cut them into individual servings, I make wraps, etc. but sometimes you just don’t want a sammich.

So I decided to make a super hearty pasta salad that would eat like a meal instead of a side dish. And it was a HUGE HIT! This recipe makes a giant batch and we still ate every last bit! You can certainly make this for any occasion (it would be great for showers!) but the way I served this at the ball field was with a stack of small disposable 8-oz plastic tumblers and plastic forks then just let everyone serve themselves.

Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad! A pasta salad hearty enough for a meal and perfect for every occasion.

Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad! A pasta salad hearty enough for a meal and perfect for every occasion.

Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad! A pasta salad hearty enough for a meal and perfect for every occasion.

Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad! A pasta salad hearty enough for a meal and perfect for every occasion.

Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad
3 large chicken breasts
Spices (see below)
Vegetable oil
16-oz radiatore pasta
2 cups sour cream
2 cups mayo
2 .9-oz packets Bacon Ranch Dip mix (such as Hidden Valley)
2 heaping cups cooked, crumbled bacon
8-oz cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
2 bunches green onions, diced

Cut each breast into two thin cutlets. Season cutlets liberally with favorite spices (see below for the combo I used). Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet then heat on medium-high heat. Cook chicken for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Set aside to cool completely then cut into bite-sized pieces. Sometimes I cook chicken just like this for supper too! It's super flavorful and cooks up quick!

Cook pasta per manufacturer’s instructions for al dente preparation in liberally salted water. Drain, rinse well with cold water then drain again. Set aside.

In an extra-large bowl, combine sour cream, mayo and dip mixes then stir well. Add chicken, pasta, bacon and cheese then gently mix until well combined. Fold in green onions.

Refrigerate to store in an airtight container.

This recipe makes approximately 18-20 servings.

Notes:
  • These are the spices I seasoned my chicken with but feel free to use whatever floats your boat: salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, paprika, chili powder
  • You don’t have to cut your breasts into thin cutlets. I just always do so I have more surface area to season and because they cook quicker and more evenly.
  • You can use any type of pasta for this but I LOVE the radiatore because of the size and the way it really holds up to a hearty dish like this.
  • If you’d like your pasta salad to be creamier (or if it dries out overnight) add a little regular ranch dressing.
  • I cheated and used the Oscar Mayer real bacon pieces (I used 3 2.8-oz packs)
  • This recipe will easily cut in half if you want to make a smaller batch.
This recipe was featured at the Weekend Potluck!

PRINTABLE RECIPE


Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad! A pasta salad hearty enough for a meal and perfect for every occasion.


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2 comments:

  1. When can we expect another cookbook? I can hardly wait!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Lord, it'll be a spell! I took so much time off this year with my back, I haven't created as many recipes. I have to catch up! I'm so glad you are enjoying them though! :)

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