Wednesday, June 17, 2015

AD Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon

This summer-inspired comfort food recipe for Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerYum #CollectiveBias

I am totally amped to be sharing this Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon with you today! It's a marriage of two of my favorite side dishes: mac + cheese and pasta salad. Mac + Cheese is one of my all time favorite comfort foods - always has been and always will be. The taste of a warm, gooey bowl of Mac + Cheese reminds me of Grandma, corningware and snowy winters. It just doesn't feel right digging into a bowl of all that warm goodness during the hot summer months, it just doesn't. So, I switched it up and made a dish that can not only be enjoyed at home during the summer months but it also works great to bring along for all of those BBQs and July 4th celebrations on the calendar!

For this delicious Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon I started with the basics of Mac + Cheese - the elbow noodles, cheese {3 varieties}, breadcrumbs and ground mustard. Then I threw in some of my favorite elements of a pasta salad - green onions, tomatoes, garlic, greek yogurt {instead of mayonnaise} and bacon. Of course bacon. Then I performed a ceremony and wed the two - and it was beautiful. And tasted good. I honestly think this salad may taste good baked in the oven, but we will need to wait for Winter to try that out - you know how I feel about warm weather and hot dishes...

I made this batch of Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon for a little get-together we had this past weekend. By get-together, I mean last minute guests - per the norm in the summer months around our house. It's no complaint at all, it's part of the beauty of summertime. Everyone is ready to get out, socialize and of course share some meals together! I whipped up this Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon, threw it in the fridge and headed to the store for some last-minute items for our shin-dig.

While at Walmart, I stopped by the deli and picked up some fried chicken to pair with the Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad. The fried chicken is easy, it's ready and it's available in a wide range of sizes. I vividly remember being a young kid, no older than 4, and there being fried chicken at our summer parties. Boxes, buckets and trays of fried chicken. It wasn't until I got older that I realized the fried chicken was bought from somewhere and brought to the party, which I thought was a pretty cool idea. Keeps the kitchen cool and it saves me from the harsh reality that I'll never make fried chicken as good as Grandma did. So, I am keeping up with the party tradition and bringing fresh deli fried chicken instead of making it by hand.

The fried chicken and Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon worked out perfectly together, plus it was so easy for me. Just pop the salad out of the fridge and put alongside the chicken - easy peazy lemon-squeezy! If you use paper plates and napkins, clean-up will be a breeze. And if you know me, you know I like an easy clean-up. :)

Mac + Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon
3 cups elbow pasta {dry}, cooked according to package
2 cups greek yogurt, plain
1½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1½ cups colby jack cheese, shredded
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup cooked bacon, chopped {plus more for garnish}
3 green onions, chopped {plus more for garnish}
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs {plus more for garnish}
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Mix all ingredients together well.
2 Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to meld.
3 Top with garnishments, grab a fork and enjoy!

At the Walmart Deli counter, you can purchase single pieces of chicken, buckets of chicken, all the way up to bulk purchases {50 + 100 pieces} for pre-order. There are also 8pc grab-n-go fried chicken containers available at both the deli counter and on the mobile merchandiser near the checkout. However much chicken you need, Walmart Deli will have you covered for your next celebration or meal!


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