With summer coming it is fun to think about picnics, sunshine, and cool salads. While it is not officially summer or really officially warm out, you can still have a cool salad. While I used traditional ingredients for my Cobb salad you can use any of your favorite ingredients. And this Cobb Pasta salad is a great dinner for a busy night, because if you do not have time to prepare everything, you can find most of the ingredients prepared at the store. You can find pre-cut meats in the deli or meat section and you can find many of your pre-cut vegetables in the stores salad bar. So enjoy your salad and think warm thoughts.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups, a rubber spatula, a large mixing bowl, a strainer, a paring knife, a knife, a cutting board, and a sauce pan.
If you are not allowed to use a knife or the stove by yourself you can ask an adult for help.
ChefElla's Cobb Pasta Salad (Yields 8-10 servings )
1 box Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta (13.5 oz)
1 ½ Cups Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing
-You can substitute your favorit dressing for your Cobb Pasta Salad.
7 oz. Chicken Breast, Grilled, Roasted, or Sautéed, Medium Diced
-7 oz is the size of one large chicken breast.
4 ea. Green Onions, Thin Sliced
1 Large Roma Tomato, Medium diced
8 oz. Bacon Crumbles, Raw Weight
1 Large Avocado Diced
2 oz. Blue Cheese Crumbles
1 ea. Hard Boiled Egg, Diced or Grated For Garnish
3. Cook Pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Drain Pasta and rinse with cold water until it is cool. Let the pasta sit in your colander and dry while preparing the rest of your ingredients.
4. Slice green onions, dice tomatoes, chicken and your avocado.
How To Cut An Avocado: If you have never diced an avocado before it is easy. The avocado has a large pit in the middle and we will want to cut around the pit.
a. Cut into the avocado lengthwise. When you hit the pit stop.
b. Turn the avocado up on its base and cut from the top of the avocado down to the pit.
c. Turn the avocado onto its side and cut into the avocado lengthwise again stopping at the pit.
d. The only part holding the avocado together will be the skin at the base. Put the avocado up on its skinny end and connect the side cuts to complete cutting the avocado in half.
e. Turn the top half of the avocado from the bottom half and it will come apart.
f. Put the half of the avocado with the pit in it on the counter. Chop your knife at the pit so that the middle of your knife embeds itself into the pit. Keep your other hand clear.
g. While still holding the knife use your other hand to pick up the avocado. Twist your knife while firmly holding the avocado. The pit should pop out cleanly. If it does not the avocado may not be ripe. If the knife slips out of the pit repeat the process.
h. Using a paring knife cut the avocado into strips while still in the shell. Turn the avocado 90 degrees and cut the avocado the opposite way making squares. The closer the cuts the smaller the pieces. Scoop out the now diced meat of the avocado.
5. To prepare your bacon, cut bacon into thin strips. Preheat pan on medium high heat. Add bacon and mix well separating the pieces of raw bacon. Stir the bacon in the pan occasionally. As the bacon begins to crisp keep a close eye on it and stir more frequently. When the bacon is done cooking remove the pan from the heat. Put your strainer over a large bowl. Pour the bacon into the strainer and let the bacon grease drain away. Let the bacon sit in the strainer until it is cool. Some people like to keep the bacon grease for cooking. If you do not keep your bacon grease let the grease cool in the bowl and put into the trash.
6. In your large serving bowl mix cool and dry pasta with the dressing. Mix well so that the dressing coats the pasta.
7. To top the pasta start in one section of the dish and add your scallions in a triangle pattern. Next to the scallions add blue cheese in the same pattern. Repeat the process by adding the rest of your ingredients in the same triangle pattern. Add your bacon pieces, avocado, chicken, and tomatoes. When the pasta is covered you are done. Don’t worry about making it perfect you can always spread the ingredients a little to cover any empty spots.
8. Add your egg to the middle and you are done.
9. Let everyone see how nice your dish looks. When it is time to eat mix all of the ingredients together with the pasta and serve.
To make your salad one of your favorite recipes you can add or substitute any of your favorite ingredients. Try garbanzo beans instead of chicken, or cheddar cheese instead of blue. Substitute grilled shrimp for bacon or try mangos instead of tomatoes. This is your salad and you can make it your own with just a few minor changes.