Pasta salad with a twist

Beat the heat by making this taco salad recipe for dinner.


I start each day making my bed, brushing my teeth, making coffee, and cooking noodles or rice for dinner. It feels like summer is here and my days are long, jam-packed, and oftentimes stressful. At the end of the day, I’ve found this trick a great way to make cooking dinner easier. Either noodles or rice make a great canvas for whatever I decide to make, which I then have the entire day to figure out. If all else fails, I can always throw a dab of butter and garlic salt on either and call it a day.

Today I woke up and made rotini, put a little oil on it, put it in a Tupperware container and tossed it in the fridge on my way out the door.

I intended to make a taco casserole, topped with pickled jalapeños smothered in ooey gooey melted cheese. It was going to be amazing. I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and picked up the ingredients I didn’t already have in my pantry. When I arrived home I realized my apartment was a little warmer than I anticipated. That’s a lie, it was hotter than hell, I was sweaty, irritable, and worst of it all — hangry.

I decided immediately to pivot dinner plans from a baked pasta casserole to pasta salad. Brilliant, I thought to myself, same ingredients minus the heat.

I’ve included a list of ingredients since measurements seem to be obsolete these days (unless of course you’re baking something, then please dig out the measuring cups).

Taco Ranch Pasta Salad

rotini pasta
ranch dressing
black beans (rinsed and drained)
Perdue chicken shortcuts (or rotisserie chicken)
red onion
green pepper 
taco seasoning
pickled jalapeños
shredded Mexican cheese

Stir it all up and serve chilled. Alternatively, try it as a baked casserole, depending on the season.