I make this pasta all year long, every few weeks. It’s perfect for a quick lunch or dinner–especially if you don’t want to heat up a hot summer house any further by turning on a stove. It would be perfect to bring to a summer gathering as it’s pretty everyone-friendly. Everyone in my family loves it so it’s a go-to quite frequently.
You can very easily modify it to your taste by changing the base ingredients and sneak in any veggies you’d like. Try cherry tomatoes, or broccoli, avocado, fresh basil, or cucumbers! Be creative! Substitute ham cubes for chicken for an entirely new salad! Just use the basic flavors as your guide and then make it what you would like it to be!
Begin by boiling 1 lb. of pasta in salted water until al dente. If you are making it ahead, drain the pasta and let it cool. If you’re in a hurry, give that pasta a quick, cold shower to cool it off.
While the pasta cooks, fry up four slices of bacon until mostly crisp.
In a large bowl, mix together one of the following combinations:
Either 3/4 c. mayo, 1/4 c. sour cream, and 2 T. Ranch powder
OR 3/4 mayo and 1/4 c. prepared ranch dressing
Add to that the following:
1 tsp. brown mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. chopped celery
1 c. cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. frozen peas (blanched)
Add in 1-2 cups of chicken. Your choice how you cooked it. You could use this easy, full of flavor recipe. You can use shredded rotisserie chicken. You can use yummy, leftover grilled chicken.
Now, add in your cooled pasta. Don’t put it in hot or it will melt the cheese.
Mix everything together well, and garnish with the crumbled, cooled bacon. Serve with lemon pepper and some delicious muffins.
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