Monday, May 17, 2010

Bacon, Broccoli and Tomato Pasta Salad & Grilled Salsa Chicken

I had seen both of these recipes posted on $5 Dollar Dinners. The first is Bacon, Broccoli and Tomato Pasta Salad and the second is Grilled Salsa Chicken. We were celebrating our daughter in-laws birthday last night so we had 8 people gather around the "Honeymoon" table. This gave me the perfect opportunity to try these 2 new recipes out on a crowd! Happy Birthday Ariel!

  • 2 cups elbows or penne pasta noodles
  • 6 strips of bacon or turkey bacon, I bumped it up to 8
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes drained, I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted
  • About 1/2 cup homemade ranch dressing or your favorite store bought
  • Fresh fruit , we had apple slices.

1. Cook the pasta as directed on the box. Drain and rinse with cool water.
2. Cook the bacon in a skillet or in the microwave on paper towels. Let cool, then crumble.
3. Steam the broccoli florets for just 2 or 3 minutes, in a stovetop steamer or in the microwaveable bowl with 1/2 cup of water, covered with plastic wrap.
4. Place the cooked and cooled pasta in a large mixing bowl and toss with the crumbled bacon, broccoli florets, diced tomatoes and homemade ranch dressing. Toss. Toss. Toss.
5. Serve BBT Pasta Salad with fresh fruit.
This Salad was very good and we will make it again. I like that I could prepare this in the morning, put it in the refridgerator, and pull it out at dinner time. I think in summer this salad is hefty enough to be dinner itself when it's hot and we don't want to cook or eat anything hot.
  • 1 cup salsa - I doubled this
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder - I doubled this
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin - I doubled this
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder - I doubled this
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper (I skipped the salt) - I doubled this

1. Toss the garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

2. Separate the skin from the thigh. Do not remove but rather lift it to create a pocket for the spices and salsa.

3. Spoon in some seasonings.

4. Spoon in some salsa. Repeat for all the chicken pieces that you’ll be grilling.

5. Sprinkle any remaining seasonings on top of the chicken thighs.

6. Spread any remaining salsa into the bottom of a shallow dish or baking dish and let the chicken sit on top of the salsa, so the underside of the chicken marinates and takes on a bit of the salsa flavor. Let sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

7. Grill until cooked through.

This was a really delicious dinner to pull together for a crowd. I liked cooking with something other than BBQ sauce, it made for a nice change. I was skeptical as to whether the boys would eat the spicy chicken. They devoured it! We give these recipes a solid 4 spoons.

If you haven't checked out the $5 Dollar Dinner site I highly recommend it. Erin and her contributing cooks are mothers on a budget just as we are and the recipes are tried and true.

If you liked to see how I was able to purchase this large dinner for 8 people for just $12.50, you can pop over to Money Saving Maine-iac and check it out!



  1. love seeing ways to use turkey bacon..


  2. Oh, I love the site recommendation, thank you!


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