Thursday, June 13, 2013

cucumber ranch pasta salad

After moving and going through one of my busiest times at work, to say these past two weeks have been exhausting is an understatement! (But sometimes, food can be a blessing!)

I spent all last weekend painting our bedroom, we just got new windows thanks to our apartment management company, and we still have unpacked boxes to deal with.

Sneak peek at the color we picked. A very royal and luxurious purple. More photos to come!

We've also been social butterflies and have had plans every evening. I love to be on the go, but I think an evening on the couch sounds equally fabulous right now.

Jacob and I with the TBS "Just for Laughs" mascot. Got to see Russell Brand at the Chicago Theatre for free!

When I am that busy or slightly overwhelmed with life, grabbing something that is already made in the fridge when I'm hungry is like an answer to my prayers. (Jacob's too!)

One of my favorite summertime things is pasta salads. This recipe for cucumber ranch pasta salad was passed onto my from Jacob's uncle a few summers ago in the aisle of a grocery store, and it's stuck around ever since. Although I love pasta salad with an Italian dressing, I adore the variety that this version brings.

Cucumber Ranch Pasta Salad

What You Need
1/2 lb. small shell pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
1/2 cup of Cucumber Ranch Kraft Salad dressing, added in 1/4 cup increments
1/4 cup of real bacon bits
3 oz. of pico de gallo, or similar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Seriously, it's that simple!

Boil water, salt it, and cook 1/2 lb. of small shelled pasta as directed on it's package. Drain the noodles, and toss them into the fridge in a separate bowl for half an hour if you have the time.

I always like to pour cool water over my pasta after it's drained to speed up the cooling process.

With the cooled pasta in hand, mix in 3 oz. of pico de gallo, or similar. I used a small container from Chipotle (oh the joys of having connections), but any will do. Add in 1/4 cup of real bacon bits, or you could cook and crumble some bacon yourself. Sprinkle in 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder. Add 1/2 cup of Cucumber Ranch Kraft Salad Dressing 1/4 cup at a time. 

Then, mix all the ingredients together. Give it a little taste test too.

After I mix everything together and give the initial test, I toss the pasta salad back into the fridge for a few hours. Inevitably, the pasta will soak up quite a bit of the dressing and you'll want to more of it, along with possibly some of the other ingredients. I always add a few more squeezes of dressing to make it the right amount of creamy.

This is such a tasty alternative to more traditional pasta salad. I love this as a snack or adding it to my lunch. Full of flavor and quite the spin on something everyone loves.

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