Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta Bake

Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta casserole -- A Pinch of Joy
Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta casserole -- A Pinch of Joy

Soooo good you’ll want seconds – and thirds!  Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta Bake goes together fairly quickly.  While you are preparing the pasta, you can also cook the bacon and then the chicken. I prefer to use thinner chicken breast cuts because they cook quickly and can be more easily cut into uniform pieces. Cut the bacon before browning, either with a knife on a cutting board or with a pair of kitchen shears. I always burn my fingers trying to cut bacon after it is browned! Roux is melted butter (or other fat) and flour mixed together. When the flour has been incorporated into the fat, cook just long enough for the mixture to turn slightly golden before adding the liquid. Cooking too long or over too high a heat will make the sauce lumpy. Better to prevent lumps than try to whisk them out!   I had a bottle of Bacon Ranch dressing in the refrigerator when I made this for dinner. Using it added a nice depth to the bacon flavor.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta Bake
Soooo good you'll want seconds -- and thirds!
Recipe type: Casserole Main Dish
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
  • 2 ½ cups (8 ounces) rigatoni
  • 8 slices bacon, chopped and browned
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup of Milk
  • ¾ cup of Ranch Dressing
  • 2 cups cheese
  1. Bring pot of water to boil and cook rigatoni according to package directions.
  2. Cut bacon into one inch pieces and place in skillet to brown.
  3. Dice chicken.
  4. When bacon is done, remove from skillet with slotted spoon or spatula and drain on paper towel.
  5. Add diced chicken to bacon fat. Cover and cook until done.
  6. When rigatoni is done cooking, drain. Melt butter in bottom of pan, adding minced garlic.
  7. Add flour to melted butter and stir to make roux. Add milk and ranch dressing to roux and whisk over medium heat until slightly thickened and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  8. Add 1 cup of cheese to white sauce and mix thoroughly. Fold in rigatoni, bacon and diced chicken.
  9. Pour into greased 8x8 pan or equivalent sized casserole. Distribute remaining cup of cheese over top of casserole.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and casserole is hot through.

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Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti -- A Pinch of Joy

Chicken Spaghetti -- A Pinch of Joy

Chicken spaghetti is a versatile dish. 1) It can easily handle add-ins, like a 10 ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables or 8 ounces of sauted mushrooms 2) Can be wrapped and frozen for up to six months for make ahead meals, before or after baking. 3) Can be made ahead and kept covered and refrigerated for two days before baking – great for making in advance when you’ll have guests. 4) It’s perfect for a potluck – creamy, cheesy chicken and spaghetti will please everyone 5) Bake in disposable pans for a take in meal when someone is sick or in need. 6) Package in individual serving sized microwavable containers for a weeks worth of lunches or to warm when the family schedule is crazy.   A hardworking dish that everyone loves!

Chicken Spaghetti
Cook time
Total time
Creamy, cheesy comfort food that everyone loves!
Recipe type: Main Dish Casserole
Serves: 8 xervings
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 16 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 cans Cream of Mushroom OR Cream of Chicken soup
  • 2 cups sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup finely diced green pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Break spaghetti into 2-3 inch pieces. Cook according to package directions, until al dente.
  3. Combine all remaining ingredients except topping cheese.
  4. Drain spaghetti when done and mix with other ingredients.
  5. Spray 9x13 casserole pan with cooking spray. Place mixture in pan and top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes until bubbly.
Fettucini or regular spaghetti work best -- be sure to leave slightly underdone. Otherwise, the spaghetti will turn mushy as it bakes.

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Creamy Italian Ranch Crockpot Chicken

Creamy Italian Ranch Crockpot -- A Pinch of JoyChicken
Creamy Italian Ranch Crockpot Chicken  -- A Pinch of Joy

Cooking during a kitchen remodel has definitely been a challenge!!  The stove is out in the garage and the kitchen is full of three guys wielding power tools.  My cooking space is one crockpot on a tv tray in the front hallway adjoining the dining room and a second crockpot on the little chest in the dining room.  The dining room  is stuffed with boxes full of cabinet contents.  They were orderly when the project started four days ago.  Operative word – “were”.     The motto is:  “Keep calm and cook on.”  Because that keeps the crew fueled and those new cabinets going up! 

One crockpot today contained our lunch.   Left over soup  – begin with a packaged vegetable soup mix and throw in what is left of yesterday’s crockpot roast and just about everything else found in little containers in the fridge.   The second crockpot bubbled with a new- to- me recipe for our dinner.  I improvised a little by using dried onion flakes instead of sautéing a fresh onion and used minced garlic from a jar.  I also mixed them into the cream of chicken soup and cream cheese right in the crock pot on top of the chicken using shallow strokes of my mixing spoon.  This was supposed to be creamy Italian chicken – but I put in a package of ranch by mistake.  I couldn’t get to my spices to kick up the ranch flavors so I just went ahead and added the Italian dressing too.  I would make it the same way again because it made a very good and flavorful chicken and gravy dish served over brown rice. 

Creamy Italian Ranch Crockpot Chicken
Rich and flavorful gravy and tender chicken is delicious served over brown rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.
Serves: 8 servings
  • 3 pounds chicken
  • 1 package Italian Salad Dressing Mix (2/3 ounce)
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • additional 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (10 ½ ounces)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  1. Place chicken in crock pot, pour melted butter over chicken.
  2. Sprinkle Italian and ranch dressing over chicken, including between pieces.
  3. Pour water evenly over chicken and dressing mixes.
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  5. Saute onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter.
  6. Add cream of chicken soup, cream cheese and stir until smooth.
  7. Pour over chicken and cook on low for an additional hour.

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