You’d think the fact that we’re all home with no real schedule would make lunch easier, but we’re finding that is so not the case. By the time lunch rolls around, I’m always scrambling and, of course, going out to grab something just isn’t an option right now.
To remedy the chaos, I’m trying to prep my lunches ahead. Salad jars are my favorite lunch prep – and these buffalo chicken ones are my current obsession.
Chicken + Bacon + Ranch + Pasta = My Kids’ Dream Meal.
For real though, this dish is a total crowd-pleaser. Pasta and chicken are covered in a creamy, ranch sauce and the whole thing is topped off with bacon and a generous helping of cheese. What’s not to love?
If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal, this is a great option.
It’s fast as it is, but there’s two ways to really speed this up. You can grab a rotisserie chicken, pre-cook the pasta, and opt for microwavable bacon. Those three elements will speed up prep considerably.
The other option to to prep the whole thing beforehand, cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. This can be made a day or two in advance, just add a few minutes onto the cook time.
I’m always a little meh on pastas with red sauce while the weather is still warm, but this sauce felt lighter, even when warm. It’s going to be my new go-to for bringing a meal to friends during the summer months!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
15 oz. jar Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup ranch dressing
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×11″ pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, shredded chicken, Alfredo sauce, and ranch dressing. Pour into prepared pan. Top evenly with chopped bacon and cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until hot throughout and bubbly. Let cook for 5 minutes before serving.
Mark and I love Tex-Mex. I used to cook it at home a lot, but then kids happened. We’re lucky that neither of ours are overly-picky eaters, but they’re not into spicy and that nixes a lot of my go-to Tex-Mex.
These were a great in-between. They’re spiced enough that Mark and I enjoyed them, but the kids didn’t find them spicy. (And, served with extra ranch for dipping, they were a huge hit.)
I sped up the prep time by using cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie works great!), but you could also cook chicken breasts in a pot or slow cooker with the broth and seasoning and shred once cooked.
Chicken Ranchiladas (A Kate’s Recipe Box Original) Serves 4-6
5 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. taco-ranch seasoning
3/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup ranch dressing + additional for topping
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
Shredded lettuce, for serving, optional
Chopped tomato, for serving, optional
I wanted to sneak in one last Thanksgiving leftover post before the big festivities tomorrow. This is pretty much the perfect day-after sandwich – super quick to throw together in the midst of shopping trips but it doesn’t feel like leftovers.
The crunchy onions and cranberries are staples in lots of Thanksgiving dishes so I’m guessing you’ll have them (and turkey!) on hand. A few extra ingredients and you’re good to go.
I made a few of these during the last week and I’m genuinely looking forward to refreshing my turkey stash tomorrow so I can have another.
Chipotle Ranch Turkey Panini (a Kate’s Recipe Box Original) Makes 1 sandwich
3/4 cup chopped turkey
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. crunchy onions
1 Tbsp. real bacon bits
2 Tbsp. chipotle ranch dressing
2 slices provolone cheese
1 Ciabatta roll
In a small bowl, toss together the turkey, cranberries, onions, bacon bits and dressing until evenly combined.
Slice the roll in half, top with turkey mixture and cheese. Press in a Panini press until warmed through and crunchy on the outside.