If you followed me on my old blog, you know that I used to cook a lot.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. The caveat though is the fact that DH and I live in your typical Philly rowhouse. Typical as in, we have no central air, and rely on those window air units throughout our home. The back of our house faces the sun during the day, so our kitchen becomes its own little oven. And when that happens, I like to stay out of there. Sandwiches from Primos are our friends in the summertime.
However, when the weather cools off, I like to cook more. I’ve kinda been ignoring the food blogs I’ve more or less faithfully followed for the last couple years and have instead focused on the random recipes I see in my Facebook news feed.
One such recipe caught my eye yesterday, posted by my BFF. It involved several of my favorite things, like chicken and bacon and cheese. It also called for cream of chicken soup, which I despise. So while the end result sounded delicious, I couldn’t bring myself to use the cream of chicken soup. I happened upon some interesting things though in the soup aisle, like a chicken broth infused with white wine and herbs. It was then I decided to change up this recipe. It became the chicken bacon ranch casserole.
Using the broth, I took some butter and flour and made a roux. It was sort of gravy-like, and tasted exactly like a gravy I once made for some stuffed chicken thing I made sometime last year. Anyway, I took that and mixed it with sour cream and ranch dip stuff, to make it more of a creamy sauce. Minus the weird unpronounceable ingredients from that cream of chicken soup, ya know?
Oh yeah, and the bacon.
I love bacon. Have I mentioned this before? I mean, I usually have a couple slices with my breakfast in the morning (or *for* breakfast, depending on my mood), and it’s a pain in the ass to cook it in the frying pan every morning. So I bought a bacon plate and cook it in the microwave. 1 minute per slice, more or less depending on desired level of crispness. I will say though, that after having to pan-fry some bacon for this dish, I definitely prefer the taste of pan-fried bacon over microwaved bacon. Some people like to bake it too, and that’s okay if you have to make a whole package. I only needed to make 6 slices so I fried it.
The original recipe had me taking 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts and cutting them into cubes before frying them up in the bacon grease. Because I was feeling lazy, I got those fully cooked grilled chicken strip things that you can use in salads or fajitas or whatever. I still fried em up in the bacon grease, and it was still exponentially delicious.
The end result was pretty damn tasty. I think the next time I make this, I might use regular chicken broth for the roux instead of the one with the white wine, because the wine pretty much overpowered the ranch flavor. I suppose one could fix that by using the whole ranch packet instead of half (I was only using 8oz of sour cream as opposed to 16oz. Regardless of that, the casserole was a big hit with DH and I. I think I might try using a different type of pasta though as well. For some reason I wasn’t a fan of this one for a change.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole – serves 6
- 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes (or 1lb of fully cooked chicken breast strips)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 8oz sour cream
- 1/2 ranch dip packet (the dip, not the dressing. makes a big taste difference!)
- 6 slices of good bacon
- 2 cups monterrey cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1lb of rotini pasta
- fry the bacon until crisp, and set aside, keeping the bacon grease in the pan. When cooled, chop the bacon.
- in a small bowl, add half a ranch dip packet to 8oz of sour cream and mix thoroughly.
- in a small sauce pan, melt the butter down and whisk in the flour, making a roux. Be sure to not burn the butter, otherwise you will ruin it. Let your roux cook until it starts to bubble, and whisk in the two cups of chicken broth. Let it cook until it starts to boil and becomes thick. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
- Add cubed chicken and garlic powder to the pan with the bacon grease and cook on medium-high heat until it’s cooked through. If using chicken breast strips, cook until heated through.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and return to the pot. Add in the chicken, chopped bacon, roux sauce, ranch dip mix, and 1 cup of the cheese. Transfer pasta mixture to a grease 13×9 baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.
- Serve and enjoy!
Please don’t bother asking how many calories or points are in a serving of this. I decided that I’d rather eat it than figure it out.