While browsing Pinterest the other day, I came across a couple different recipes for cheesy ranch chicken lasagna. The ranch/chicken combo reminded me of my favorite kind of pizza I would get in my hometown growing up from a local pizza shop, the chicken bacon ranch pizza. I thought that if I combined the idea of the pizza and the lasagna I would achieve casserole nirvana, and I do believe I did.
t I consider this a kitchen experiment success story. As my husband (and resident Guinna pig) isn't home from work yet, you'll just have to take my word for it. The bacon! The cheese! The ranch! It all comes together in delicious matrimony.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Bake
1/2 lb. Bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 Chicken Breasts, cooked and cut into 1/2-1 in. pieces
1 lb. Penne Pasta, cooked and drained
4 Tbs. Butter
1 Can (10 3/4 oz) Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Cups Milk
6 Cloves Garlic
1 small onion, diced
2 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, Divided
3 C. Cheddar Cheese (reserve one cup)
1 1/2 C. Ranch Dressing
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Basil
1/2 Tbs. Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tomatoes, diced.
Mix the butter, milk, onion, garlic, ranch, soup, and seasonings together in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat. Once the sauce is warm, start adding one cup of the Mozzarella and two cups of the cheddar slowly. If the cheese seems to be a little too firm then up the heat a bit, just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn. Once everything is combined, stir on medium for another five minutes. Add the bacon and the chicken. In a large mixing bowl combine the penne, sauce, and tomatoes. Bake in a greased lasagna dish on 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the cheese on the top browns and the bake starts to bubble.
It's a demonstration of my dedication to you that I stopped to take a picture before inhaling this. It was just the right flavor I was looking for from my favorite pizza and made for a great casserole. Next time I'll probably add a few cups of fresh baby spinach to at least pretend it's somewhat healthy and to give it a bit more color.
Anyone else have a recent kitchen success story? Tell me about it (or link me to it!) in the comments!