Friday, June 13, 2014

New Mexico Family Vacation and Slow Cooker Creamy Pesto Chicken Ranch Pasta

This week we went on our first family vacation to Ruidoso, New Mexico.  Well, technically not our first. We went to San Antonio when Jude was two, but had turn around the very next day and come home after Jude got sick. So we were excited about this trip to New Mexico and the mountains and cooler temperatures. 

                 (A rest stop near Lubbock, Texas.)

Lance's mom (Nona) and stepdad (Grandpa) went with us and we caravaned to Ruidoso. We stopped in Roswell for lunch and photo op at the McDonalds. 

We stayed at this cute, quaint little motel in Ruidoso called Sitzmark Chalet Inn. We loved staying there. It was perfect for us. Clean with cute little touches that made it even better like complimentary fruit infused water, fresh baked breakfast muffins and coffee each morning and a colorful array of washcloths hand and bath towels. There's a lovely outside area where you can sit out and enjoy the hummingbirds and locusts. One day at lunch we sat at the picnic tables outside and Nona and I ate lunch from a wonderful little place called Cornerstone Bakery and Jude ate a Happy Meal. 

They even have a little barrel sauna guests can enjoy and an old-fashion mechanical horse you put a quarter in and enjoy the ride.

Also on our trip we discovered a nice little nature trail we went to twice. Once we took a walk, took pictures and scoped it all out and the second time so Jude and Lance could "climb a mountain". They seriously climbed a mountain one evening after dinner before it got dark. Lance was a little sore the next day after their adventure.

The water in the stream was very was across the street from where we were staying. 

My kiddo got the chance to go horseback riding with his dad and Nona. I would have loved to have gone, but I'm very allergic to horses. 

We enjoyed lots of time together as a family as you can see. The pictures speak for themselves. 

We ate fantastic food, did plenty shopping and saw some beautiful scenery...oh it's so gorgeous in Ruidoso and the surrounding areas like Hondo where we explored the Hondo Iris Farm.

We even saw some local wildlife...although what I really wanted to see were bears. There's always next time, I guess...

I don't think we could ask for a better family vacation...

We came home yesterday. Today was basically a "rest day" even though our vacation was actually pretty relaxing. I decided to put something in the crockpot to cook slowly all day to have for dinner. I wanted to try out another pasta dish incorporating chicken, pesto, Ranch and creamy cheesy goodness.  What I came up with certainly does not disappoint. The longer you cook it the more tender the chicken becomes and just falls apart. It's so easy and so good! Without further own Creamy Crockpot Pesto Chicken Ranch Pasta. 


4-5 frozen boneless chicken breasts
1 jar of pesto 
1 cup chicken broth
1 package ranch dressing mix
1/2 onion sliced into rings
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons onion and chive cream cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 package whole wheat penne pasta
Fresh shredded Parmesan cheese 

Spray the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray. Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of crockpot. Cover chicken with pesto, ranch dressing mix, broth, minced garlic and onion slices. Put on the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. I put mine on 10:30 am and cooked until 5:30 pm. After four hours, I  used two forks to shred the chicken breasts. Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package. While pasta is cooking, add the mozzarella and cream cheese to the chicken mixture. After the pasta is done, add it to the crockpot and cover completely with the creamy chicken pesto mixture. Let the pasta warm in the crockpot for 15-20 minutes if you have time, if not, just set crockpot on warm until ready to serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to taste when you serve pasta. Enjoy with steam broccoli on the side. 

This is a yummy pasta dish full of flavor and with chicken in every bite. You can use more or less chicken if you like and make it even cheesier if you wish. It was absolutely delicious. Let me know if you made this pasta by commenting in the comments and be sure to subscribe! 

Now back to Pinterest, where I will be beginning to research and plan next year's family vacation. What are some of you favorite family vacations you've gone on? Leave me a comment with some vacation ideas!