Tuesday, March 8, 2016

House Full of Boys

My poor daughter and I are outnumbered.  Other than the two of us, there are two males in the house and three male dogs.  Yes, three.  There is a lot of snoring, burping, and other gross boy stuff going on around here.  And a lot of hungry boys.  My son is 15 and he eats enough to feed at least three people, but he looks like he's borderline starving since he's so thin.  And tall.  And the dogs all have to be fed separately so they don't fight over food.  Roscoe, the puppy, who is only 35 pounds, eats his food in 8 seconds flat.  I don't think he chews.  Then he tries to eat Cooper's food.  Now, Cooper is the big boy in the house.  He's a 100-pound Boxer. Cooper isn't about to share his food with anyone.  And poor Bentley, who is the oldest dog, has to eat his food in an entirely different room or else he doesn't get any food.  Good times.

So I made this pasta last night with the human boys in mind. They both like chicken and bacon and Ranch.  I combined the Ranch flavors with homemade Alfredo sauce.  Yep, you read that right.  And it was fantastic!  It's actually my most favorite pasta I've made in a long time.  And I scaled it back a bit so we didn't have a huge pan with a lot of leftovers.  There was some leftover, but I didn't have to pawn it off on coworkers.  This was easy to put together and darn tasty.  I hope you enjoy it!

1 1/2 C cooked, shredded chicken
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 packet Ranch dip mix
8 ounces pasta, any shape
1 C shredded Cheddar cheese
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 C heavy cream
5 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
Black pepper, to taste

NOTES:  You can use rotisserie chicken here or, as I do, I boil chicken breasts, shred them, and freeze them in smaller portions for occasions like this. 

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, melt the stick of butter in a pot.  Whisk in the heavy cream and garlic.  Let it come to a boil.  Turn the heat off or down to the lowest setting.  Whisk in the Ranch dip mix.  Whisk in the Parmesan cheese in small handfuls, making sure it's smooth before adding more and continuing until all the cheese is melted. Stir in black pepper, to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the drained pasta, chicken, bacon (save some for the top), and the sauce mixture.  Put the pasta in a 2-quart casserole dish.  Sprinkle the Cheddar cheese on top.  Bake the pasta for about 10-15 minutes to melt the cheese on top.  Sprinkle the saved bacon on top and chopped Italian parsley, if desired.

Adapted from Damn Delicious

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