Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Alfredo Penne Pasta

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.
4. Add the drained noodles into a pan (we used a glass, Pyrex pan). Add the chicken, HV ranch packet and approximately six pieces of crumbled bacon. Add the jar of sauce and mix so that the sauce is evenly distributed over the chicken, bacon and noodles.
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.


  1. another instant classic. i too, am now quite hungry as i finished reading this

  2. I need a napkin cuz I'm drooling haha... will definitely be trying this recipe! Have you tried freezing it at all? I'm always looking for things to make ahead and freeze for nights that I am working and Dave needs dinner.

  3. No, I haven't tried freezing it. I usually have it for leftovers for my lunch the next few days. But I really want to learn the best ways to freeze meals like lasagnas and such. If you find out any tips about freezing, let me know!

  4. The two best tips I've ever gotten as far as freezing things are as follows:

    1. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than directed on the box (it will be very al dente, but this works since you are going to be baking it later)

    2. Put into disposable pans, with lids, so that you can take it right from the freezer, thaw it in the fridge, and pop it in the oven (minus the lid), and then later store in the refrigerator for leftovers. I also always write the instructions on top of the lid for Dave so he knows what to do when I'm not home -(such as bake at 350 for 45 minutes, etc.)

  5. (ps - the reason for tip #1 is that the pasta wont become mushy when thawing/baking later)

  6. Awesome! Thanks! How long would you recommend to thaw it for?

    You are such a good wife! Labeling and all!