Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mexican Macaroni Salad **

I loved that this was a spin on the traditional macaroni salad.  I normally gag when thinking about macaroni and mayo, but the fact that this used rotini and ranch really interested me.  Sadly, the kids didn't like it at all.  Dh and I thought it was okay.  It really could have been smoother, in my opinion.  I'm thinking about maybe subbing sour cream for half the ranch next time.  That would help it "blend" more, I think.  I really did like the flavors, though.  I made the mistake of using whole grain noodles, which didn't go well in here at all.  Regular would have been much better.  I'll definitely try it again.  It's possible if I cut down on the taco seasoning, I might be able to get the kids to eat it as well.  I let it refrigerate for about 2 hours, but I'll bet it would be even better if you could do it overnight, to give the flavors more time to soak in.

(Amy – amylz ~ Pillsbury)

6 cups uncooked rotini pasta (1 lb)
1 to 2 tablespoons grated lime peel (from 2 medium limes)
3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice (from 2 medium limes)
1 cup ranch dressing
1 package (1.25 oz) Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled and finely chopped
1 pint (2 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 medium green onions, sliced (including tops)
1 can (19 oz) Progresso® red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (6 oz) pitted large ripe olives, drained, cut in half
1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, drained

1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water to cool; drain well.
2. Meanwhile, grate peel from limes; place in small bowl. Squeeze juice from limes; add to peel in bowl. Stir in dressing and taco seasoning mix. Stir avocado into dressing mixture.
3. In large serving bowl, toss pasta with all remaining ingredients. Pour dressing mixture over salad; toss gently to mix. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving to blend flavors.
Makes: 8 servings (1 1/4 cups each)

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