Today, they are calling for 3-5 inches of snow here in Northern Mississippi. I have lived here for a year an a half and have come to the conclusion that MS will close EVERYTHING at the sight of two snowflakes that haven't even fallen on the dry ground yet. As a Pennsylvania veteran, I am a little ashamed. But alas, it is how my new surroundings work. What is better than a cold, snowy day than some yummy pasta? I can't think of too many things to top that.
A few months ago, I was invited to be a substitute at a Bunco night (if you don't know what Bunco is, it's a competitive dice game that gets very loud and is a ton of fun and there are prizes involved. Need I say more?). And while I was there, our lovely host, Kim Steed, made an incredible pasta dish. About a week later, Troy and I tried to replicate it with items we had on hand and we fell in love. This is our go to pasta. It's simple. easy. and of course, ridiculously delicious.
1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups of penne pasta noodles
1 jar of alfredo sauce (whichever kind you prefer)
8 pieces of bacon, divided (again, whichever brand is your fav)
Italian cheese blend
Olive or canola oil
Hidden Valley Ranch Packet
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces. Cook the chicken in a large pan over high heat. Add a little bit of oil to keep the chicken from sticking. Cook until there are no signs of pink and add salt and pepper to taste. You can also boil the chicken but since we're using a big pot to cook the noodles, we decided to use a pan.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. I've read that to boil water faster, add some salt and cover the pot. Boil the noodles uncovered for the recommended time on the box (about 10 minutes). Then drain.
3. While the noodles are cooking, use a skillet to cook 8 pieces of bacon at medium heat. Pat the grease with paper towels and crumble into tiny pieces then set aside.
5. Add cheese and remaining two pieces of crumbled bacon and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted. Last time we made this, I broiled it for two minutes after baking.
6. Enjoy immediately. Pasta waits for no one and doesn't like to stay hot for long.
You can pretty much throw anything else in this pasta that you like... one time I added shrimp and sauteed mushrooms but I could only add it to one side since Troy doesn't care for either. This is one easy dish that needs to be added to your recipe book.... right now.
I'm pretty much starving by now.