Sunday, 31 March 2013

Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta

I'm hoping everyone had a wonderful long weekend with friends and family!  I'll be sharing an appetizer recipe later this week that I made for our family's Easter egg-stravaganza.  All eighteen of my extended family were under one roof so we had lots of food and noise goin' on!  The recipe that I'll share soon is one that I cannot stop thinking about.  Oh ya. It was pretty yummy and can be used in two different ways.  A recipe that can be used as an appetizer AND a delish garnish?  Yuppers! 

But, before I share that recipe I thought I'd share one I made last week.  We'll call last week "The Week Our Family Schedule Attempted to Crush Me and Take My Sanity", shall we?

Last week our family was busy - with a capital B.  With Tae Kwon Do, Karate and Scouts plus two dentist appointments, work, blogging and nursing a sick child for two days I was hanging onto my sanity --- by a thread.

In order to feed my family something home cooked but not add more stress to my life I came up with this casserole.  I was able to make it in the early afternoon on Tuesday (after nursing the sick small human) and throw it in the fridge.  This way Boy 1 could pop it into the oven while I was at the dentist with Boy 2 and before Brad came home to inhale his supper before heading out to Scouts with both boys.  See?  Chaotic.  And that was just Tuesday.

Well, I knew that Boy 1 and Brad (our resident carnivores) would be on board with this dish due to combined yumminess of the added Oink and Cluck.  Even Boy 2 and Missy Moo ate this dish without complaining too much.  Apparently if it weren't for the chicken, the curly noodles and white sauce they would have gobbled it up. *sigh*

Well, I was right with the carnivorous faction.  Since this dish had a healthy dose of beast, freshly minced garlic, a creamy sauce with a hint of Ranch both of my carnivores loved it!  Boy 1 even made a point to tell me that this casserole was really good {Mom Points awarded and accepted!}.  I have to admit that I also loved this casserole (which I wolfed down after the dentist appointment and before the menfolk left for Scouts). 

With a few more of this kind of easy-yet-yummy casseroles under my culinary sleeve (and hopefully in my freezer) I'll be able to keep a hold of my sanity on these ca-razy busy weeks which hopefully will be few and far between.


10oz rotini or penne noodles, uncooked (approximately 2 1/2 cups)
1 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
8 slices of bacon, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half and half creamer
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 cup Ranch salad dressing (I used President's Choice '3 Cheese Ranch')
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
to taste -- salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large pot, cook rotini according to instructions on the package.  Drain and return to the pot.  Sprinkle olive oil over the noodles and toss to prevent them from sticking to each other.  Set aside.

In a large skillet,sauté bacon until almost crispy.  With a slotted spoon, remove bacon from skillet and set on a paper towel-lined dish. Set aside. 

Remove all but 1 tbsp of bacon drippings from the skillet.  Add garlic and chicken and cook for 2 minutes. 

Add butter to the skillet you just used for the bacon and let the butter melt.  Once the butter begins to bubble, add the flour and stir well (it'll look paste-like).  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the creamer, milk and onion powder to the flour mixture and stir well with a whisk over medium heat until it begins to thicken.  Add Ranch dressing, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Stir until blended together.  Add the noodles and bacon; toss to coat.  Pour casserole into a baking dish.

You can make this casserole ahead of time.  At this point in the recipe you could put the casserole into the fridge to use later.  Otherwise, bake casserole for approximately 30 minutes (covered) or until it is heated through.

Side Dish Ideas:
Lemony Caesar Salad
Garlic and Herb Topped Rosemary Bread

Note: If you have a moment I'd love it if you'd consider Pinning this blog post to your Pinterest account.  Just hover your cursor over the picture above (or any picture in any of my future posts) and a 'Pin It' button will appear {just like magic!}.  Click on the 'Pin It' button and share this post with all of your Pinterest peeps!  By pinning you'll also have an easy way to find your way back here!  If you'd like to follow me on Pinterest you can find me HERE.


Val Spiers said...

I am glad my days are not so hectic. We did have a wonderful family feast day on Good Friday which was lots of fun. I haven't had dinner yet so your casserole is making my mouth water. Thanks for the yummy recipe .

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Val, glad to hear that you had a wonderful Easter weekend. :) Let me know if you give this casserole a try.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Funny post! My life used to be every bit as hectic as yours, but things have slowed down, thank goodness. And a really nice casserole - looks like it has tons of flavor. I'd certainly clean my plate! Good stuff - thanks.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Kitchen Riffs -- Thanks! Unfortunately today was even busier than the day I described in this post. I'm sure I'll look back one day and wonder how I did it (and perhaps even miss it).

This casserole certainly was a hit here and full of flavour. :)

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