I swear it's getting harder and harder to cook around here. I'm looking for dishes that take less and less time because it's hard to cook with a soon to be toddler who is crawling around and pulling up on everything! Even though I try to get a lot of the prep work done whenever he is sleeping there's still 20-30 minutes of cooking to do once he is up.
So I've been trying to make things that last several days. If I put something in the Instant Pot I will re-purpose it as something different the next day. I've been making side dishes that can go with sandwiches and other lunch items all week long. Most of these are pasta salads, vegetable salads, or just cut up veggies.
I already have a million different pasta salad recipes on this blog because I have a love of pasta. I have a classic Italian pasta salad, a fun Mexican pasta salad, and an antipasta pasta salad. But I figure someone like me can never have too many pasta salad recipes so I opened up the refrigerator, took stock of what was in there, and decided to make BBQ Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad.
Now I've had Bacon Ranch Pasta Salads before but they are super creamy and full of fat. This version adds in BBQ sauce and reduces the creaminess and the fat and the calories by a whole lot but it still tastes delicious. I recommend you use a small shaped pasta like the macaroni noodles I used because they really hold the sauce well.
Like any pasta salad, feel free to add in whatever vegetables and cheese you have in the kitchen. I used a red pepper, a red onion, and cheddar cheese because that's what I had on hand. I think broccoli or celery would be good in this pasta as well. I used a sweeter BBQ sauce but again, a spicy sauce would be tasty too.
This recipe makes a lot of pasta salad. I know it's just the 3 of us but we probably ate this for 4 or 5 days for lunch. Now Baby J can only eat a very small portion but still, this is a great side dish for a picnic or a cookout because it would serve a whole lot of guests. Give a try and let me know what you think!
- 16 oz. macaroni noodles, cooked and drained
- 4 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 8 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
- ½ c. BBQ sauce
- ½ c. light sour cream
- 1 packet Ranch dressing mix
- 1 t. black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ c. water
- In a large bowl combine the macaroni noodles, bacon, red pepper, red onion, and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl mix together the BBQ sauce, sour cream, ranch dressing mix, black pepper, garlic, and water. Mix well.
- Pour the dressing over top of the pasta mixture and toss to coat.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.