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Lighter Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

It’s Wednesday folks, and I don’t have a wine to share with you! 😱 I know, right? Imagine how I feel! Being wineless. It happens though, but don’t worry! I’ve got an amazing pasta salad recipe for you though! It’s that time of the year where people fire up the grill, host cookouts, or get invited to cookouts and outdoor potlucks. When the grill masters get that itch to fire up the grill, that’s when it’s the perfect time for pasta salads, potato salads, fruit salads, you name it cold salads to make their grand entrance! This one in particular will steal the spotlight, and if you’re still working hard  to eat healthier, like I promised myself I would, or if you just want to keep your lovely figure, don’t worry! This beautiful salad is all lightened up. It tastes absolutely sinful though. I found the original recipe over on Life in the Loft House, and thought to myself “how can I lighten this up so I can enjoy this without feeling guilty?” Well, here’s what I came up with! Come on in the kitchen and I’ll show you how simple this is. Another one of my favorite things about the salad. Simple!

So first, you’re going to cook your Rotini pasta until it’s al dente. That should take about 8 minutes or so. While that’s bubbling away on the stove, dump your mayo, sour cream and ranch dressing mix in a large bowl.

Then whisk it up real good until it’s all combined. When your pasta is finished cooking, drain that, and rinse it in cold water until cool. Set the pasta aside and cut your grape tomatoes in half.

Now add your pasta, bacon (which I used a pkg. of real bacon pieces), tomatoes, olives and cheese to the large bowl with the dressing.

Toss gently to combine. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. I hope you enjoy this delicious, creamy pasta salad as much as we all did.

 

 

Print Recipe
Lighter Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rotini and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, dry ranch dressing mix, garlic powder and milk with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Add pasta, cooked bacon pieces, tomatoes, olives and cheese. Gently toss to completely combine everything together.
  3. Cover and chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

If after chilling in the fridge, and your salad seems a little dry, just add a little milk and stir to combine to moisten it up.

Slightly adapted from Life in the Lofthouse

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Awesome Beef Enchiladas

Cinco De Mayo 2017 has passed! Not that I need an excuse to devour Mexican food, but if I ever do, that will be my excuse. Mexican food is my favorite kind of food, in fact most of my menu this week is made up of Mexican inspired food. Italian is a close second. I do cook a lot of Mexican and Italian inspired recipes. We had a lovely couple over to our home on May 5th. My husband has known them since he was just a kid, and had not seen them in quite some time. So I knew I wanted to make something really good, and since it was Cinco De Mayo that they came over for dinner, it wasn’t difficult for me to figure out the menu.

This recipe is my very first recipe that I developed as my own. I have made it several times in the past, and it always goes over well with my family and company alike. It’s super easy, and it makes a lot, so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd or taking to a potluck. I always make two pans of these because one is never enough, even for just my family. Plus, they reheat really well and we like to have leftovers for lunch the next day. Since I had not made this recipe in quite some time, simply because I’ve been too busy trying out new recipes, I felt it was the perfect dish to serve to our very special guests. Needless to say, it went over great with them too! Super easy and quick, and all you really need is some tortilla chips and salsa to serve along with them. You can top these with anything you like. We had sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, salsa and verde sauce. You could even top these with some shredded lettuce and fresh chopped tomato if you wish.

So, you want to try them? Good! Let me show you how easy this is. First, you want to prepare your Spanish rice mix according to the package directions. I do this well in advance so it’s cool enough to handle when I’m ready to roll these babies up. You can use your favorite brand of Spanish rice mix. I use Zatarain’s.  Set that aside. When you’re ready to start cooking the whole… enchilada… (HA!) just brown up  your ground beef in a very large skillet, stock pot, or dutch oven. Crumble it up as you go until no pink remains.

Once it’s cooked through, remove it from the heat and drain any fat if necessary. Now add in your prepared and cooled Spanish rice (warm is ok, you just don’t want to burn your fingers here in a minute), some cheese, and some enchilada sauce. I don’t measure the enchilada sauce, I just add some. You want the mixture to be moistened with the sauce, not drowning in it.

Now, mix it all up.

Now the fun part! Spoon some of this delicious enchilada filling onto one end of a tortilla and roll it up.

Place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. A 13×9 baking dish should hold 10 enchilada’s.

Once you have all of your enchiladas rolled up and in the baking dish, pour the enchilada sauce over them. As much as you like. We like ours saucy. Then cover in cheese. I use a lot of cheese. You can never have too much cheese. I use about two cups of cheese on each baking dish. Then top with sliced black olives. Into the oven at 375 it goes!

You’re gonna bake these for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Remember not all ovens are created equal, so check them at 15 minutes and go longer if needed. You want the cheese melted and the sauce bubbly.

Let it sit for just a few minutes, then dish ’em up, top them with whatever you like to top your Mexican food with, and enjoy! Don’t be afraid to spice this up if you like things spicy. Add jalapenos to your toppings, use hot enchilada sauce instead of mild. Add spicy chiles to the filling. Whatever your family likes, mild or spicy, this is the perfect dish. See, nothing to it! I hope you and your family and/or friends enjoy this as much as we do.


Print Recipe
Awesome Beef Enchiladas Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare Spanish rice mix according to package directions, using the diced tomatoes and butter (I do this in the microwave). Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two 13x9 glass baking dishes.
  3. In a 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in the prepared Spanish rice, about 1 cup of cheese, and some enchilada sauce (you want it moistened, not drowning).
  4. Spoon enchilada filling onto tortillas; roll up and place steam sides down in baking dish.
  5. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over tops; sprinkle with remaining cheese and black olives.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  7. Serve with sour cream, salsa, or any of your favorite Mexican toppings.
Recipe Notes
  • Let the enchiladas sit for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven, for easier serving.
  • Don't be afraid to spice this up if you like things spicy. Add jalapenos to your toppings, use hot enchilada sauce instead of mild. Add spicy chiles to the filling.
  • Top with your favorite Mexican toppings like sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cilantro, shredded lettuce, fresh chopped tomato, taco sauce, salsa verde. The options are endless.
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