Summer Time is a breath of fresh air for me… time to reflect and relax, time to enjoy fun outings with friends and concerts, time to just hang around the house, (maybe even not wash your hair as much as usual), and a time for memories to flow from years gone by. Summer reminds me of being a kid and getting so excited for summer, counting down the days of school till summer break would finally begin… I could spend days running through the sprinklers in the front yard, nights playing hide and seek with all the neighborhood kids, eat a million popsicles because it was so hot, go swimming at the YMCA and have picnics at the park, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches . Luckily for me, being a teacher, I still get to enjoy summers off and am reminded of all those feelings and memories that I had growing up. (Searched for pictures of me and the siblings to show ya’ll but I couldn’t find any).
One of my favorite summer memories growing up was the fun evenings with the family spent at the YMCA pool. I loved swimming as a kid and I still do today, although today most of my time is spent laying out and relaxing instead of swimming like a mermaid and racing my brother to the other side. I remember going to the pool, my mom packing literally everything ( can you ever be over prepared when you’re a mom, right?!) meeting my dad there her got off work and having some awesome family time. One of the best parts about summer nights at the YMCA pool, other than swimming of course, was my mom’s summer pasta salad. This was a must have for our pool outings and I can’t remember a time in which she didn’t bring it. So, every summer as I reminisce, I make this pasta salad. So I decided to share the recipe with you all!
Okay, so the recipe is really really simple. I am one of those people that can enjoy cooking sometimes, but it is a rare occasion. I would much rather give the cooking job to someone else! And man have I been lucky… I married a cooking man! (Side not: Ladies, if you’re not married yet and you know the qualities that you want in your husband, pray for them! Seriously! I prayed for so many things and one of the things I prayed for was that I would have a husband who loved to cook… and God must really love me, cuz I got that!!!!) But as I was saying, I don’t like cooking much and that is another reason I love this recipe so much- it is super easy and fast! Maybe you’re just like me and you don’t have a lot of time to prepare meals, or maybe you just don’t like to cook… this recipe is for YOU!!!! Or you’re a mom of kiddos that will not eat their veggies.. this recipe is for YOU!!!
Secret to the moms: My mom would pack the salad with lots of vegetables and the secret to us not realizing or (not caring as much) was her use of multi-colored noodles and ranch dressing topping to disguise the veggies!
Okay all… Here is the Recipe!!!
My Mom’s Summer Pasta Salad!
Items you will need:
Chicken breast ( I usually use 4 chicken breasts)
Pasta (multi- colored pasta or I love the bowtie pasta)
(any other veggies you want to add)
Ranch Dressing and/or Italian Dressing
1. Cut up all of your vegetables so they are ready to go later.
2. Cook the chicken! There are a couple different ways you can cook the chicken.
You can bake the chicken in Italian Dressing
Boil the chicken in chicken broth
Pan searing the chicken
-If Baking the Chicken- put 3-4 breasts in a covered baking dish and cover with Italian Dressing. You don’t really have to measure the Italian Dressing, just pour over. Place in the oven at 350-400 degrees for 30-40 min and check. If not cooked, place back in oven for 10 min increments.
-If Boiling the Chicken- place the chicken breasts in a pot with enough water to cover the chicken and add a cup of Chicken broth to it for added flavor.
-If Pan Searing the Chicken– Spray skillet or add olive oil, Place thawed chicken breasts in skillet and add seasoning. I add onion powder, garlic powder or garlic cloves, pepper and salt. ( you could add more if you heart so desires)
3. Cook the noodles. Boil some water in a high pot and then once boiling add the noodles. Make sure you only keep the noodles cooking for about 8-10 min. (depends on how hot your stove gets… check the texture periodically)
4. Once the chicken is cooked, cut the chicken up into smaller bites.
5. Mix the chicken, veggies and the noodles all together and add more seasoning if wanted. (I added more onion powder and garlic powder as I mixed.)
6. Place in the refrigerator and let cool. If you want it to set for a while, you could make the summer salad the day before you want to eat it, then all the flavors will have set really well. But the same day is fine too!
Once chilled layer with Ranch Dressing and some Parmesan cheese if you like and Eat!!!