Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta

Bacon Ranch Chicken pasta

I am always looking for ways to improve recipes I find.  Usually I avoid any recipe that says it’s “Lite” or “Skinny” or the notorious “Low Fat”.  I’m sorry but they always are lacking in taste.  If you watch your portion size you don’t have to trade taste for calories.  Just my opinion, but we only live once and everyone needs to live a little.  This is one “Skinny” recipe that I saw on Carlsbad Cravings.  Really like their site, they have some really good recipes.  I looked it over and liked the general way they were going, so had to get in the kitchen and make it mine.  For those of you not afraid of a little extra, I think you will like the changes.

1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1/4 cup ranch dressing (use the regular, it much tastier)

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

zest from the lemon – should give you about 1 tablespoon

1/2 tsp coarse grain Dijon mustard

Mix everything together and place in zip lock bag, add chicken and place in refrigerator overnight.  The longer you marinade it , the better the flavor.

 

2 stalks broccoli, cut off florets and break down into small pieces

1 pound penne pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cup chicken broth (I use home made, but any really good brand would do)

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 tsp. coarse grain Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing seasoning mix

2 tsp. minced fresh basil

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

8 slices thick applewood bacon, fried and chopped

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the broccoli and cook 3-5 minutes.  Remove broccoli and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process.  Place in a bowl and in the same pot add the penne.  Cook to al dente.  Drain and rinse with water.  In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and over medium heat, sauté the chicken and marinade and shallots.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Cook until chicken no longer looks pink, then add the bell pepper and garlic.  Cook about 2 minutes more.  Add to the bowl with the broccoli.  In the same skillet melt the butter and the other tablespoon of olive oil.  When butter is melted, whisk in the flour, cook the rue stirring the whole time for about 2-3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low.  Whisk in the chicken broth, the half and half, stirring till smooth.  Reduce heat to low and simmer.  Add mustard, ranch seasoning, basil and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow sauce to simmer until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.  Add broccoli, chicken and penne and stir to coat.  Sprinkle the chopped bacon over the top and if desired, sprinkle with additional shredded cheese (it makes it even better)

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