Super simple, and packed with yummy and healthy ingredients! This main-dish pasta salad is sure to become a family favorite!
Do you name your cars? Ever since I got my license I’ve named all my cars…I feel like every car has its own personality, don’t you? The very first car I drove (which actually belonged to my parents) was Slater, a white GMC Safari van. It was umm…just plain old (sorry mom and dad!), and would shake like crazy anytime you drove uphill…Lolz it kinda looked like a van a creepy person would drive, hence the name Slater. Definite character building happened during the years I drove Slater! Ha!
Now, the car I currently drive’s name is Baxter. Baxter’s definitely a grandpa-like car…but honestly, he’s my favorite car I’ve ever driven! A long white boat that’s HORRIBLE at U-Turns, but that has tons of leg room, cushy seats, and just an all-around happy vibe to him! But, unfortunately, since it’s the type of car an old person would usually drive, everyone around me thinks I’M an old person driving Baxter…I have no idea why, but driving behind old people cars brings about majorly crazy behavior in some people! Seriously, ever since I started driving this car, almost every car around me seems to get all huffy, and will tailgate me (even tho I drive over the speed limit) and will swerve violently to get around me. This never ever happened before Baxter! Why do all traffic laws get to suddenly be thrown out the window, just because that white boat right in front of you is an old person car?? I was just leaving my house today and was driving to work, still in my neighborhood (speed limit – 25mph), driving 30-35 in a one-lane each direction-type of road, when the truck behind me crosses the double yellow line to my left, and vrooms ahead, barely missing a tree in the process! And this type of thing happens multiple times a day to me!! I blame Baxter…but he can’t help it! I just pet his steering wheel and tell him it’s going to be ok, that I still love him anyways. Sigh.
Anywhoo, after crazy days of driving in the Arizona summer heat, the LAST thing I want to do is spend an hour heating up the kitchen to bake a complicated dinner! This Chicken Macaroni Salad is SO perfect for summer (and winter and other seasons that other states seem to get)! It can be made ahead of time (even a day ahead), and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to eat! It’s the perfect dish to bring along to a picnic in the cooler, and is super customizable to you and your family’s taste preferences—just use the ingredients you like and have on hand! Don’t have leftover chicken to use? Throw in a couple cans of flaked tuna! Don’t like peas? How about cooked broccoli, green beans or corn? Hard boil a few eggs, chop em up, and toss those right into the mix for a little extra protein! It’s oh so easy to double, triple, quadruple the recipe and bring along to a potluck, and honestly, I typically will just make half of the recipe for Nate and me for dinner! I’m allergic to gluten, so I use GF macaroni—my husband says it tastes exactly the same as traditional pasta salad! Seriously—yum. I’m soooo looking forward to dinner right now…my mouth is literally watering right now as I type and think about the bowl of yummy deliciousness in the refrigerator!
- 8 ounces uncooked macaroni (I use Maplegrove Foods Gluten Free Elbows)
- 4 ounces shredded cooked chicken
- 1 and ⅓ cup peas
- ½ cup shredded cheese (use your favorite - I like using a 2% Mexican Blend)
- 16-20 olives, sliced
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry
- ½ cup ranch dressing (my favorite is Hidden Valley Fat Free Ranch)
- ¼ cup Sun-dried tomato dressing OR Italian dressing
- Cook macaroni according to package dressing; drain.
- In a large bowl, combine macaroni, chicken, peas, cheese, sliced olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.
- In a small bowl, combine ranch dressing with sun-dried tomato/Italian dressing and mix well.
- Pour dressing over pasta mixture, and mix well to evenly combine all ingredients.
- Refrigerate until ready to eat, at least 2 hours; serve cold.
- Serves 4
For more simple and delicious main dishes, try these next: