After a stint of virtual school and then a year of homeschool, having them back in school feels so weird. We’re definitely out of practice of having to leave the house on time every day.
And, I had totally forgot how done everyone is by the time dinner rolls around. They are tired and hungry and our days of leisurely family dinners are officially on sabbatical. “What can I get on the table quickest?” is the current name of the game.
How’s life lately? I mean really – are you hanging on?
I’m hearing from so many friends that they’re overwhelmed. There are so many balls in the air that things like dinner just get pushed to the back burner. They want to make dinner but they can’t handle more work.
This is a great meal for those nights.
Hot sandwiches make a great, easy dinner. These are individually wrapped – making them easily customizable for each family member – and warmed in the slow cooker – which makes the cook time flexible.
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.
Julie’s now 7 weeks old and I’m just getting into enough of a rhythm with the kids that I can actually stand over the stove and cook some nights. Up until this point, dinner has been something I can throw in the crockpot or oven between diaper changes. It’s been nice to do some hands-on cooking for a change!
Still, dinners haven’t been anything too involved – this easy, one-pan meal was a recent favorite. I added a loaf of crusty bed and dinner was on the table in a half hour. Mom win!
2 chicken breasts, cut in half and slightly pounded out
8 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, coin-sliced
In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat.
In the microwave, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan and flour. Coat the chicken in the butter then in the bread crumb mixture and add to the skillet.
Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through and the breading is golden. Remove chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add the remaining butter to the skillet. When melted, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add in the zucchini and cook until tender. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Add the chicken back and cook until heated through.