Saturday, July 2, 2016

Only As Good As Your Star Ingredient


Here's a recipe that is simple, tasty, and which completely relies on one main ingredient for its success. Don't skimp on this very important ingredient. What is the ingredient that is so vital in this recipe, you ask? Ranch dressing. My suggestion here is to skip the bottled ranch dressing (unless it comes from the refrigerated section/produce section) and make a homemade ranch dressing with milk/buttermilk, mayo, and a Hidden Valley Ranch dressing packet. There. You've been warned. If you follow this advice...ambrosia. If not, mediocrity.

Make-Ahead Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta


1 lb. uncooked rotini pasta
3 cups shredded or pulled deli rotisserie chicken
1 bottle (16 oz) ranch dressing (go big or go home! Make it from scratch or use something bottled that is really good!)
1 cup crisply cooked and crumbled bacon (9 to 11 slices)
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (8 oz)


Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

In large bowl, mix pasta and remaining ingredients.

To freeze: Spray 2 (8-inch) disposable foil cake pans with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. In large bowl, mix pasta, chicken, dressing, and bacon. Divide mixture between pans. Top with cheese. Spray pieces of foil large enough to cover pans with cooking spray. Cover pans with foil, sprayed side down. Place foil-covered pans in gallon-size resealable freezer plastic bags, or wrap in double layer of plastic wrap. Label and freeze. To bake: Thaw pan(s) overnight in refrigerator. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove from plastic, and place foil-covered pan(s) on cookie sheet. Bake 40-50 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of mixture reads 165 degrees F. If baking from frozen, bake 60-75 minutes.

Source: Pillsbury website. You can find it here.

Notes: This is good and kid-friendly. Just be sure not to skimp on the quality of ranch dressing you use!

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