Recipe of the Week – BLT Salad

Bacon?

Pasta?

Ranch Dressing?

Each on their own…wonderful. Mixed together in a delectable pasta salad? Um…yes please.

I discovered this little gem of a recipe while searching for something new to take camping with friends. I always bring the standbys…lunchables for the kids and ham/cheese sandwiches for the grownups. At lunch time my husband and I always take our pathetic little sandwiches out of the cooler, almost too bored to even consume them. Our friends bring things like BBQ Pork Pulled Sandwiches, creamy southern coleslaw, roasted red pepper and fresh mozzarella paninis. You get the picture. Their lunches? Rockin’ their worlds. Ours? Mind-numbingly dull.

So this year I thought to myself, “Self, you have really got to step up your game and bring a lunch that is a teensy bit more exciting than ham and cheese. Maybe, just maybe, you could actually have a little more enthusiasm about eating your own lunch rather than feeling compelled to scope out everyone else’s to see if they have any extras!” So I set off on a path of culinary discovery with the ultimate goal of finding something new and delicious. I was immediately drawn to this recipe because, hello, it’s got bacon in it. So I took it andreworked it to my taste (i.e. more bacon and some peas.)It also sounded like a good use for a few of those tomatoes my “hubby the gardener-extraordinaire” has provided for me. (Actually, it only takes care of about 15 grape tomatoes. The other 25 romas/beefsteaks sitting on my counter are still there…stressing me out.) I’ve included a picture below of these beautiful gifts from God for your viewing pleasure.

Tomatoes

So, here goes.

BLT Pasta Salad

(Disclaimer: there is no actual “L” in this recipe. I use peas. They’re green. Like lettuce. Besides, BPT Salad does not have the same ring to it and I think ultimately would confuse a lot of people.)

  • 1 (16 oz.) pkg small pasta – I used baby bow ties.
  • 1 pkg grape tomatoes (or several homegrown)
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 lb sliced bacon
  • 1 cup ranch dressing (can use bottled or prepared from packet)
  1. Cook pasta according to package. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon until browned and crispy. (I actually microwaved mine and it turned out perfectly.) Drain on paper towels. Once cooled, crumble into small pieces.
  3. Add ½ cup crumbled bacon to 1 cup ranch dressing. Allow to sit and marinate for full bacon flavor.
  4. Mix together cooked pasta, sliced grape tomatoes, peas and bacon ranch dressing. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Pasta will absorb some of the ranch dressing so more or less could be added for taste.
  5. Right before serving, sprinkle remainder of bacon over the top.

Oh, baby.

Recipe of the Week – Taco Pasta Salad

Jer has been working, pretty hard I might add, at growing a garden. We have all kinds of things going at any given time. Lots of things. Good things. Like, tomatoes. And corn. I think there might even be zucchini in there. Maybe some cucumbers? Honestly, I don’t even know. I spend about as much time out at the garden as I do working my abs. Not nearly enough.

Occasionally, Jer brings ripe, beautiful vegetables in from his garden and lays them before me, a bountiful spread, with a look on his face that is saying, “There, go forth wife and provide a fulfilling meal for me. I have given you this wonderful harvest and now, with that innate ability you have as a woman, cook.”

And I usually stare back with a look on my face that says, “There, go forth husband and take a flying leap.”

But, in the interest of preserving my marriage I have been trying to come up with recipes that use up the so-called harvest so Jer can’t accuse me of wasting his bounty. Hmm. So here it is. I call it Taco Pasta Salad. Enjoy!

Taco Pasta Salad

1 lb small pasta (such as elbow, cavatappi) cooked and then drained
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1/4 cup each diced red and greenbell pepper
1/4 cup sliced olives
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup pinquito beans (chili mix), rinsed and drained

Mix the above ingredients together in a serving bowl.

For the dressing:
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1/4 cup sourcream
1/4 cup ranch dressing
2 tbs. taco seasoning from packet (more can be added for taste)

Mix the dressing ingredients thoroughly and add to the pasta mixture. Consistency should be creamy.