Friday, August 14, 2015

A Pasta Salad with a Southwestern Flair

If you read my post on Tuesday, you know that I haven't really been home a whole lot this summer.  When we were home I tried to keep our meals simple.  Lots of grilling...a little take out...and too many "finger foods" :)  I realized that grocery shopping during the busy summer months isn't quite as organized as it is during the school year.  All that to be said, one thing that was easy to prep and lasted us a few days worth of meals was pasta salad.  

Oh sweet, sweet pasta salad.  I definitely have my favorites in this category.  My dear friend, Jill, gave me the most AMAZING tomato, basil, & feta pasta salad recipe years ago and it's one of my favorites to make and eat.  However, it doesn't last long at all.  I eat it like it's going out of style.  Mr. Spouse isn't a fan of eating the same thing over and over, so I had bring in a few new recipes that would satisfy his palate.  I'm pretty sure we hit a home run with this one!!!

2 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cubed & cooked
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. box of tri colored rotini pasta
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 CUPS frozen corn, thawed
1 can Rotel, drained
1/2 C. green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 C. red bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 TBSP chopped cilantro

1/2 C. Mayo
2/3 C. plain Greek yogurt
1 TBSP. dry ranch dressing (Hidden Valley dressing)
1 TBSP. taco seasoning

Heat olive oil in a skillet and add chopped garlic.  Let garlic sautee for about 1-2 minutes and toss in the cubed chicken.  Heat until cooked through.  Remove and set aside.

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain, return to pot, and set aside.  

While the pasta & chicken are cooking, start chopping the bell peppers, green onion, and cilantro.

And go ahead and prep your dressing, too.  

Now add the chicken and veggies/cilantro to the pot of drained pasta.  Toss in the Rotel, black beans, and corn and stir to combine.  

Mix in the dressing one tablespoon at a time.  Just add until the consistency is to your preference. 

Transfer to a large bowl, serve, and enjoy!

This is a great salad served slightly warm or cold.  I love the creaminess!!  We've also tried this same recipe with Italian dressing instead of the one mentioned here.  Absolutely DELICIOUS.  Another great dressing to incorporate with these ingredients?!  Bolthouse Cilantro Avocado dressing.  YUM!   This has been a great side dish for us (without the chicken), but it's perfectly fitting for a full meal, too!!!  Now it's off to make some more!!  Summer's not over yet ;)

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