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31 December 2012

Cheesy Ranch Pasta with a Kick

Do you know what I realized making the Oreo cupcakes and this recipe I am about to share? I am not a spur of the moment, whip something up through guess-timating kinda baker/cook. I cannot look in my cupboards and think- hmmm...what could I make. I definitely cannot do a pinch of this and a pinch of that. Don't get me wrong-- sometimes I have those few and far between moments when a recipe will randomly pop in my mind and I actually do whip up something that was not planned--with a little bit of this and that. But those are rare...very...very rare :)

And maybe its a time thing- that through baking and cooking for years, you just learn to create recipes from random ingredients and add "pinches" of things. But for now- I shall stay aware from that--far, far away. I am more of a spend time scrolling through recipes, meal planning, grocery list creating kinda gal-- a gal that measures everything besides an occasional pinch of salt :)

I realized that my more popular posts are those recipes that are simple and easy to make. Those that require little ingredients. Which are a bulk of my cooking recipes because-- I neither have the time nor money to buy a lot of ingredients and whip up some extra-ordinary meal. I think my recipes click with busy moms and wives-- those that are busy running after children, keeping up their household, working, going to school and for some all of the above (to you-- I am so in awe) :) And that makes me happy. And you know what?! You can make wonderfully fancy and delicious meals for recipes that take a few ingredients and take just a few minutes to make!

So for 2013 my goal for cooking recipes are to make only simple, quick and easy meals! As for baking- its a bit more tricky-- as baking from scratch just takes a lot of core ingredients (but the same-- so I always keep them in my pantry).

Inspired by Plain Chicken
*I first tried Plain Chicken's recipe. It did not come out at all. The sauce was too watery and grainy (the dry ranch did not dissolve well), but they inspired me for a quick and simple recipe.


12 oz. of pasta
2 chicken breast, chopped and cooked*
1 1/2- 1 3/4 c. ranch dressing (I use light)
2/3 c. of shredded cheese (of your choice)
1/8 c. sriracha sauce**
16 oz. broccoli (florets), cooked (I use the steamable bags)***
Red pepper flakes for garnish

**I like spicy. You can add more or less depending on your taste preference. If you have little ones- you can also exclude sriracha entirely and red pepper flakes entirely- and maybe garnish with a bit of salt and pepper.

***This can be substituted with a family vegetable favorite.


*I cooked my chicken like this: heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. of garlic and 1 tsp. of red pepper flakes until garlic is golden brown. Then add chicken and cook till tender and no longer pink in the center. However, you can cook your chicken any way.

In a large pot, over medium heat cook pasta according to package directions- approximately 7-8 minutes until al dente. Then drain excess water and run cold water through pasta to prevent sticking. Set aside and allow to cool. Once pasta is cool- combine with ranch dressing. Next add shredded cheese-- fold well to fully incorporate. Then, mix in sriracha sauce- the pasta should become very slightly pink in color. Lastly toss in broccoli- be gentle as broccoli florets easily fall apart. Top with red pepper flakes.


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