Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake

So, we've all heard the saying "Go big or go home." Well that applies here. If you're on a diet, you may want to make this on your cheat day...everything in moderation, right?
 
But really...it's one of my favorite baked pasta dishes, and because it's pretty rich, you'll have enough left over for at least two more meals. Chicken, bacon, and Ranch dressing just work together, and the creamy pepper jack cheese gives it a little spice. 
 
P.S. This is a picture from a few months ago when I made it for the first time. When it came out of the oven yesterday, I was in the midst of refereeing professional wrestlers my girls, and I was too hungry after that to break out the professional camera iPhone.
 
 
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake
 
8 ounces pasta (penne)
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 - 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken (I used an entire Rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup chopped, cooked bacon
1 cup chopped spinach leaves
1 - 12 ounce can evaporated milk
2 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
1/2 cup Ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente pasta. Drain and pour back into saucepan. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and toss. Cover and set aside.
 
Saute the onions and peppers in 1 Tablespoon oil for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, chicken, bacon, and spinach to the pan. Saute until the spinach leaves start to wilt. Pour the mixture into the pan with the pasta and stir. Cover and set aside again.
 
Heat the milk, ranch dressing, and 2 cups pepper jack cheese until the cheese melts and becomes creamy. Stir in the noodles and chicken mixture.
 
Spoon into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish. Top with the remaining pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese. Keep a close eye on it while broiling. Serve hot.
 
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I hope everyone has a great day...it's supposed to be terrible weather here, so we may be testing out our new bathtubs as storm shelters. Yikes!