Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad!

 

If you love buffalo hot wings and you also like pasta salads, you will really love the combination of the two in this pasta salad.   This is a very flexible recipe and can be adjusted to your individual tastes.  Some folks like bleu cheese dressing with their wings, some prefer ranch, so this salad has a ranch dressing with bleu cheese crumbles.  If you don't care for the taste of bleu cheese, substitute some crumbled feta cheese for a milder taste.   No one taste overwhelms in this salad which makes it more appealing to a variety of taste buds.   It also goes together so quickly because you can use diced rotisserie chicken or roast your own.  Even left over chicken breasts work great!  Here is what you will need:

2 cups diced chicken breast
8 oz. uncooked pasta or half of a box ( I used bow tie, but penne or even elbow would work)
1/2 cup hot wing sauce, like Frank's or Texas Peete, divided
1 Tbs. butter
1 cup ranch dressing (whatever you prefer, I like to make mine but a good bottled works)
1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles (substitute feta if you don't care for bleu cheese)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped green onions including some of the green blade
seasoned salt to taste
black pepper to taste
garlic powder

IF you are cooking your chicken breasts for this, place them in a pan and sprinkle with seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Divide the butter and put pats on each chicken breast.  Drizzle with half of the hot sauce.  Bake until done but still moist. Dice into bite size pieces. If you are using rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken, chop into bite size pieces and toss it with the butter, seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder and half of the hot sauce in a skillet until well coated and seasoned.  Set aside off heat until ready to mix salad.  
Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, about 1 minute less than the package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water for a just a few minutes to stop cooking.  Dice celery, green onion, and grate carrots.  Mix pasta, vegetables, crumbled bleu cheese, chicken and ranch dressing in a mixing bowl or I just add it back to the pan I cooked the pasta in (make sure it's dry and cool).




Add the remainder of the hot sauce, a dash of seasoned salt, dash of black pepper (fresh ground is really good), and a dash of garlic powder.  Gently fold it all together.  At this point, taste and if you like more spice, add a little more hot sauce or if you like more dressing add a little more ranch dressing.  Place in a pretty salad bowl and you can serve it as is, at room temperature or refrigerate to chill.  The flavors do intensify as it melds together so remember that when adding hot sauce.

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