Comfort Food Classics: Chicken Casserole

A pasta-based casserole can be a lifesaver. They are pretty quick to put together, can be assembled ahead of time, and the leftovers tend to reheat well and feed an army. This is just what we need in a month filled with Thanksgiving planning. So let dinner be a casserole tonight and spend the time you save figuring out what to serve with turkey later this month.

One of the great things about casseroles is how versatile they are. You can use bacon … or not. You can use chicken … but pork will also work. You can switch out the ranch for another favorite bold seasoning … although my family really loves this one. Use a different kind of pasta or creamy sauce. Use one kind of cheese … or five. You get the picture!

In the spirit of helping you get dinner on the table during the busy Thanksgiving planning season, we're offering you a couple of simple, versatile meal ideas that make a lot of leftovers. Enjoy this one and come back next week for some ideas on soup!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pkg. Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
  • 16 oz. rotini, prepared according to package instructions
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
  • 1 c. coarsely torn greens (I used red chard, but spinach, kale, or the like will also work well)
  • 1 c. Alfredo sauce (make your own or use a good quality jarred version)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.

Add the chicken to the skillet, seasoning with the ranch seasoning mix. Cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes on each side; set aside.

Toss the prepared pasta with the torn greens and Alfredo sauce. Add the pasta to the prepared baking dish and layer with the chicken; sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese and bacon. Place the baking dish into the preheated oven and bake until bubbly and heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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