BBQ Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

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I’m always looking for ideas of things to cook that Duke will actually eat other than hotdogs, corndogs or chicken nuggets. Last week, I somehow stumbled on a recipe for Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole on a site called Damn Delicious. Duke likes chicken. And bacon. And ranch. And pasta. For sure he’d like this.

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Two chickens on the Egg, raised direct at 400F

Of course there would be some tweaking. The recipe calls for seasoning two boneless, skinless chicken thighs with olive oil and Ranch seasoning and cooking them in a skillet. You know I’m not going to cook them in a skillet, but rather on the BGE. And I had scored a couple of chickens on sale the previous day for $5 each, so I was already going to cook those. I’d just take the thighs off one of them and use it for this recipe. The rest of the chicken we’ll just eat as is this week and vacuum seal what’s left over for future casseroles. If you are already BBQing one chicken, might as well do two. Doesn’t take any extra effort, time or charcoal.

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Casserole assembled and ready to go into the oven

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 smoked chicken thighs
  • 8oz rotini
  • 1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped Italian parsley

For the Alfredo Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Grill the chickens on the Egg at 400F raised direct until they breast registers about 160F (they will continue to carry over and will reach 165). Remove the thighs and dice them up. Save the rest of the chicken for other uses.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rotini according to the instructions. Drain well.
  3. Cook the bacon until crispy. Allow to cool and then dice it up
  4. To make the Alfredo sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in heavy cream. Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more heavy cream as needed. Add 1Tbsp of Ranch seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Add the pasta to a 9×9 baking dish. Add the chicken on top of the pasta and then drizzle the Alfredo sauce over that. Sprinkle the cheese and bacon on top. Place into a the oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted.
  6. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley
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Ready to eat. You might notice I didn’t use a 9×9 baking dish. Guess I didn’t read the directions thoroughly, but it still came out good.

While I thought it came out great (I went back and had seconds in fact and brought some for lunch today) not so much for Duke. He didn’t want the “leaves” on it. He didn’t want the chicken. Or the bacon. I had to negotiate how many bites of pasta he had to eat before we could go outside and ride bikes. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good. I think he was just being really picky last night. I guess you can’t win them all.

So how did I change the original recipe to make it my own?

  1. Cooked a whole chicken on the Egg instead of 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a skillet
  2. Seasoned the chicken with a grilled chicken seasoning instead of Ranch seasoning
  3. Added Ranch seasoning to the Alfredo sauce instead of to the chicken

If you like this recipe, make sure to check out Damn Delicious. I haven’t had a chance to look through her site much, but I’m going to when I get some more time.

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