Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bacon Ranch Chicken Rotini

A cross between pasta carbonara, macaroni and cheese and a casserole, this flavorful dish is popular and a good choice for family or to take to social functions.

Julian's Bacon Ranch Chicken Rotini
You can make the using freshly cooked chicken breasts and I'll give instructions for that below, or you can substitute a good quality canned chicken. That's what I'm using today because I'm trying to use up a few ingredients in my pantry.

With a bacony, cheesy top! Yum

1 1/2 to 2 pounds chicken, cooked and cubed
1 pound rotini pasta noodles, cooked
12-16 ounces bacon, cooked and chopped up
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 -2 cups milk or half and half
3/4 cup Ranch Dressing
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Mexican Cheese Blend
1 small can green chiles, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

A Note on the Chicken: if you are using fresh chicken, poach the breast following these instructions. Otherwise, good quality canned chicken will work fine. Chop the chicken in large but bit-sized chunks and mince the garlic cloves.

Fry the bacon until crispy in a large frying pan reserving two tablespoons of the drippings in the pan. Chop the bacon. Boil and drain the noodles per package directions until al dente, about 7 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Prepare a large casserole dish by spraying with food release (Pam) or rubbing with butter or vegetable oil.

Over medium heat, warm bacon drippings and stir in the butter until melted. Saute the onion 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more while stirring. Add the chicken and the flour and cook for about 1 minute while stirring. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and Ranch dressing. Stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.

Stir in 1 cup of the cheese until melted and blended in. Gently fold in the noodles, half the bacon and chiles until well blended. If it is too thick and seems dry, stir in more milk. Taste and correct seasoning by adding salt and pepper, if necessary. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top of the casserole followed by the remaining bacon. Bake for 15-20 minutes covered. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more until cheese is melted and bacon is crisp.

Creamy, delicious and full of flavor.

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