Alison Miksch
Active Time
30 Mins
Total Time
50 Mins
Yield
Serves 6

Three words that always guarantee a slam dunk at supper time? Chicken, bacon, and ranch. Throw them all in a casserole dish with hearty penne pasta and a creamy, cheesy sauce to bind it all together? Slam. Dunk. This family-friendly casserole recipe is the new addition to your weeknight lineup that you never knew you needed—and will happily earn you praises every time. It’s equally great for when you need a crowd-pleasing make-and-take dish or when you want something that reheats well at home as leftovers.

The best part about this chicken-bacon-ranch casserole dish is undoubtedly the short ingredient list and the super easy prep. It’s a lot of stirring and pouring (not a lot of chopping or fussing!), which is right up our alley on any busy weeknight. The bacon adds a salty crunch to the incredibly rich, creamy casserole, while the penne pasta is the hearty, chewy component you’ll keep dreaming about afterwards.

One of our Test Kitchen Professionals put it best: “This is comfort food at its finest.” You’ll make this Chicken-Bacon Ranch Casserole recipe over and over again.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook penne according to package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Place pasta in a large bowl, and set aside.

Step 2

Heat a large skillet over medium. Add bacon, and cook, stirring often, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve drippings in skillet.

Step 3

Add garlic to hot drippings in skillet over medium, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in whipping cream and cream cheese; cook, whisking often, until cream cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in Parmesan, ranch dressing mix, pepper, and reserved 1 cup cooking water. Pour over pasta. Fold in chicken and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Pour mixture into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with bacon and remaining 1 cup cheese. 

Step 4

Bake in preheated oven until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

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