I was actually planning on having pancakes on Wednesday night–nice and easy, not much prep required, right? Unfortunately, I had maple syrup on my leftover cornbread at breakfast, and try as I might, I couldn’t manage to get myself excited about breakfast for dinner. For once. If we weren’t having pancakes, however, then the next burning question was, of course–what were we having?
I opted to scan my Casserole board on Pinterest on a whim. After all, I’ve always got cheese, and there was half a pound of bacon in the fridge that needed using. Promising casserole material, right?
Exactly. It didn’t take me too long to spot this Bacon Ranch Chicken Casserole, and the more I looked, the more I liked what I saw. I had just enough bacon and I wouldn’t have to grate the cheese myself; the recipe was relatively simple; and pasta generally goes over nicely at my house. Once thing about the recipe, however, struck me almost at once. Why, why, WHY would you bake your chicken for 45 minutes in the oven when you have bacon grease available and you need it cut up anyway? I can’t tell you why the blogger would, but I sure as heck didn’t. I cut my raw chicken into bite-sized pieces, reserved a tablespoon or two of bacon grease after I removed the bacon, and bam! Flavor-town. Once the chicken was done, I added the garlic and butter, and from there I went ahead with her directions. The only substitution I made was for the Ranch dressing; I didn’t have any, but I did have the container of Ranch powder that Costco sells. I measured the cup of milk into a 2-cup measuring cup and added 5/8 C plain yogurt and 1/8 C mayonnaise (I love displacing liquids!), plus a generous tablespoon of the Ranch powder. It worked perfectly well, too.
(Okay, to be perfectly honest, I also used a pound of pasta instead of a 10-oz box. (I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen a 10-oz box.) It was laziness on my part, and I ended up ambivalent about the results. I enjoyed it, and it made more that way, but it was a lot of pasta for the ideal level of sauciness. I’d say 10-12 oz would probably yield the best results.)
Anyway. My son loved it; his level of enthusiasm startled me. My oldest and my hubby liked it fine, but my third (the one that hates Mexican food) couldn’t handle the slight kick from the green chilies. (To be fair, they had more of a kick than they usually do, but no one else minded.) I’m hoping the next time I make it we get a milder can–but rest assured, there will be a next time.