There's Only So Much Grilling You Can Do

Summer suppers in the South. It can be challenging because there's only so much grilling you can do to try to keep the heat out of the kitchen.  A friend who lives in the Pacific Northwest (or maybe it was my friend in New England. Either way, she's not from around here!) asked what we fix during the summer. I don't know what everyone else does, but here's one of our favorite summer suppers.
Pasta & green salad with tomatoes in a white bowl on a counter
Special thanks to MS for letting me use his plate for the picture!
I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website, so of course, I tweaked it just a bit. It's called Layered Summer Pasta Salad. The ingredients: Romaine Lettuce, broccoli, carrots, plum tomatoes, ranch dressing, and Suddenly Salad. I just chop up some Perdue Shortcut Southwestern Chicken to make it a meal. The chicken is already cooked and in strips, so it makes it a real "shortcut"!
Package of cooked chicken on counter

The Directions

  • First, fix the Suddenly Salad.  The recipe calls for the ranch & bacon one, but personally, I prefer the Chipotle Ranch, It really doesn't matter which variety you use. 
  • When the pasta is cooked, rinse with cold water to prevent it from cooking further.
  • In a bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups Ranch Dressing with the seasoning packet. Then add the pasta and the cut up chicken. 
  • In a salad bowl, place the Romaine (or whatever greens you want), broccoli, and carrots. Add whatever veggies you want in there.

Since it's called a "layered salad", you're really supposed to layer the pasta mix on top of the green salad but we've found we like it better keeping them separate. That prevents someone from only getting the pasta...or the salad.

  • I slice the tomatoes and put them in a bowl.
  • Everyone serves themselves by layering the green salad, then pasta salad, then adding tomatoes (or bacon bits) on top. 

I usually have some kind of crackers or pita crisps to go along with the salad.
There you have a quick, easy, Summer Southern Meal!


  1. I don't think I've ever had this. Hmmm...I'm all about easy summer suppers so might have to try it out.


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