Southwest Ranch Pasta Salad

I have a love/hate relationship with potluck situations.  I love to cook for people, I get really nervous that they might not like my food.  I could easily spend hours looking for and debating the right recipe.  I like to have some direction – hot vs. cold… salad vs. dessert… really I should just not worry about it.

Tomorrow, we are going to have dinner with some people from our church.  We are supposed to bring something to pass.  My dear husband had no ideas or suggestions.  He said he didn’t care.  So, I sat on pinterest for a few minutes after school.  I was intent on finding and picking out a recipe before I went home so that I could hit up the grocery store before getting all comfy and lazy at home.  I came up with nothing.  I went to the high school to meet with one of the other teachers.  We ended up going to a coffee shop with a few of the other teachers.  They offered a few suggestions (very, very good suggestions), but nothing really stuck out to me.  I ended up going home before the grocery store.

In the long run, going home first was probably a good idea.  I ate before I left.  Who knows what crazy thing I might have bought out of hunger while shopping otherwise. Actually, I do know.  I probably would have convinced myself that I needed frozen taquitos or frozen pizza.  My binge food choices may be slightly predictable.  Anyway, as I ate my leftover Chicken Lo Mein, I chatted with my best friend. She lives in Colorado.  She always has good food suggestions for me.  We both searched pinterest and google and sent each other links.  I decided to make a version of this Betty Crocker recipe.  Everyone loves cold pasta salad, right?  Well… my sisters, parents, and I do!

Here’s what you’ll needIMG_0274

  • 1 box of Suddenly Salad Classic Pasta Mix**
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1/2 cup of creamy ranch dressing
  • 1 splash of lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped raw broccoli
  • 1 cup (ish) of grape tomatoes
  • Green Onion
  • Fresh Cilantro

To start off, boil some lightly salted water and cook the pasta from the Suddenly Salad mix according to package directions.  When the noodles are almost done (1-2 minutes left), put in the corn and let it boil along with it.  When the pasta is done, drain the water out and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, mix the seasoning from the Suddenly Salad box, ranch dressing, and lime juice well.  Set aside.  Chop up the broccoli, slice the grape tomatoes in half and toss them into the bowl with the sauce.  Chop up some green onion (I used about 4 stalks) and a little cilantro.  Cilantro is a strong flavor, so you don’t need more than 2 Tablespoons at most, but add it according to your taste!  Toss the green onion and the cilantro into the bowl as well.  Add the pasta and corn mixture into it and mix it well.  You want to make sure that the sauce coats everything pretty well.  It might seem like a lot, but according to the recipe it should soak in after a few hours.

I’m letting mine sit overnight since I’ll be at school all day tomorrow.  When the time comes to head out, I’ll just have to grab it from my refrigerator.  I hope it tastes as good as it sounds!IMG_0275

**  You don’t have to use a box of Suddenly Salad.  You could make it yourself.  Just boil 2-3 cups of a small noodle (macaroni, penne, spirals, bowties, etc.) and then use 1/4ish cup of italian dressing for the sauce.

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