Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

With Halloween almost upon us, Boyfriend and I decided to host a party on Saturday night.  As this party would be including alcohol, we figured a heavier dinner, full of yummy carbohydrates, was probably necessary.

Enter the recipe below.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

The link for this can be found here and the ingredients and directions are copied below:

Ingredients:

8 ounces penne pasta
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp dry ranch dressing seasoning mix
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup cooked, chopped bacon
2 cups cooked chopped chicken 

Directions:

In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In same pot melt butter. Add flour and stir. Cook flour for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue cooking until sauce thickens. Stir in ranch dressing mix and cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Add chicken, bacon and pasta. Stir to coat.

Notes:

8 oz of Penne pasta was about 1/2 of a regular box.
2 tbsp of the ranch dressing seasoning mix was 1 envelope of the hidden valley ranch mix – it’s no where on the box how much mix is in each envelope and I felt rather silly opening the envelope into a bowl to then measure it out so hopefully this will save someone that step.
1/3 cup bacon is 6 slices according to a Google search – timing for this dinner couldn’t have worked out better for me – I’d already planned a larger breakfast for Saturday of pancakes, eggs and bacon.  I just fried up the extra slices and tossed them in the refrigerator until later.
2 cups cooked chicken is about 1 lbs again according to a Google search – the original blog talks about how she used a rotisserie chicken.  I boiled up a whole package of boneless skinless chicken (a bit more than a lb (more like 1.3) because I’ve never seen a package of chicken in the food store that was 1 lb even or close to it) and chopped it and the bacon up while the pasta was boiling.
This recipe came with an important reminder: read the comments before starting the recipe or tutorial.  I recently had a similar problem when I started to crochet a hat from a youtube video tutorial (more on that if I ever actually finish the stinking hat) and I thought I learned that lesson.  Clearly not though.
One of the steps above talks about cooking until the sauce thickens.  I’m not the biggest cook and most of the things I make are really simple meals.  As such, I’ve never had to thicken milk before.  After quite a while my milk was still real soupy.  Another Google search told me it should only take a few minutes for milk to thicken so I moved on – thinking maybe I was overestimating how thick a sauce like this should guess.
Later on, I read through the comments on the original recipe to see if anyone else had any improvements or suggestions.  Several people noted that when they used Skim milk (which I had used), the sauce wouldn’t thicken and offered suggestions – one person put part skim, part half and half; another added more flour – either way, I wish I had seen this before dinner and I would’ve tried something like that.
Oh well.  Hopefully the reminder sticks this time.
And even with the soupier sauce – both Boyfriend and I enjoyed the pasta a whole lot.  The recipe says it serves 4 – for us it served 2 large helpings for him, 2 smaller helpings for me, and a decent enough portion to bring to work for lunch. I think this is definitely a recipe to repeat.
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One response to “Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

  1. Reblogged this on Noms Away and commented:

    I made this again last night using rotini instead of penne (no real difference – pasta is pasta to me) and Hormel “Real Bacon Pieces” instead of cooking the bacon. I was real impressed with the Hormel find. I was expecting just little bacon bits kinda of things but this contained larger chunks of bacony goodness.

    I attempted to use more flour to counterbalance the sauce not thickening – I had this problem before likely because I use skim milk. It ended up making the sauce a bit grainy. I’d rather have the thinner sauce than how it came out yesterday so prolly not worth continue to mess around with.

    Pretty much as good as I remembered though.

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