Ranch Turkey Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of my favorite summertime meals. The versatility is never ending so it's always new, but always easy. Add a loaf of crusty bread and fresh lemonade or iced tea and you have a terrific beat-the-heat dinner. Making pasta salad is so simple and this formula will help you on your way to being a pasta salad expert.

  • 8 oz. uncooked macaroni pasta 
  • 2 cups Ranch dressing* (I use fat-free or reduced fat - depending on price)
  • bacon bits for garnish (I use turkey bacon - less fat) 
You will need about 4 cups of a combination of the following - I say about 4 cups cuz I'm not much of a measurer - I'm more of a throw it in till it looks good kind of gal.
  • macaroni pasta (you can substitute whole wheat pasta too) 
  • cubed turkey breast
  • cubed cheddar cheese (low fat or fat free)
  • peas ( I use thawed frozen peas cuz the canned ones are mushy - ewee)
  • shredded carrot 
Directions: Cook the pasta until done to desired tenderness and drain well. Al dente is best since soaking in dressing can cause the pasta to become mushy. ( I usually cook the pasta for about 7 minutes - it usually comes out perfect) Cool completely. Toss with turkey, cheese, peas, carrots and dressing. Garnish with bacon bits. Chill for an hour before serving. 

*Ingredient Tips.... There are some salads that need a bit more or less dressing, but if you do it often enough, you can get a good idea what is needed beforehand. This recipe is ready in about an hour and 15 minutes and makes about 8 servings so if you're having a party, double or triple it!! It won't stay in the bowl long! 

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