I wanted to share a recipe with you today for a deliciously simple casserole that your family is going to fall in love with. This Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole recipe makes for one unbelievably tasty midweek supper option. One of our long time family favorites, it is creamy and delicious, as well as being quick and easy to make. That makes for a winning combination in my books!
It is also a great way to use leftover cooked chicken, and it all bakes in one dish that you can serve from at the table. The flavours are simply amazing!
It does make rather a lot so if you are a smaller family, I recommend breaking it down into two casseroles, baking both and then freezing one to enjoy at a later date. This is also incredibly popular for pot-luck suppers! People actually ask me to bring it as they love it. I don’t mind one bit! I always feel great when I bring home an empty dish!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE CHICKEN BACON RANCH CASSEROLE
Simple ingredients put together in the most delicious way.
|1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and cubed|
|2 TBS olive oil|
|3 TBS ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix powder|
|1 ½ cups uncooked rice (you can use either a long grain or a short grain)|
|1 small onion, peeled and minced|
|8 slices of crisp cooked bacon, crumbled|
|1 clove garlic, peeled and minced|
|2 ½ cups of chicken broth (low sodium)|
|½ cup half and half|
|2 cups grated cheddar cheese|
|2 tsp dried parsley flakes to garnish (alternately you can use 1 TBS fresh parsley)|
HINTS AND TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST CHICKEN BACON RANCH CASSEROLE
If you follow my hints and tips there is no reason why you can’t create a wonderful casserole for your family.
1. Read through the recipe several times to help familiarise you with the ingredients and equipment needed to create this dish.
2. Assemble everything you need before you begin. This helps to prevent you from leaving out anything integral to the recipe.
3. I like to use poached chicken breasts for this simple bake. This is incredibly easy to do. Put your boneless skinless chicken breasts into a saucepan, cover with lightly salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about five minutes, then turn off the heat. Allow the water to cool until you can reach in and pluck out the chicken without burning your fingers. Cut or shred your chicken. You will find that it’s not only perfectly cooked but is also nice and moist. You may also use leftover roast chicken.
4. You can use brown rice instead of white rice for this recipe if you wish. This is one way to increase its nutritional value and add some fiber to your family’s diet. If using brown rice, increase your liquids by half a cup in total and increase the first cook time by an additional 15 minutes. Do be sure to check the rice before removing the casserole from the oven to make sure that it is fully cooked.
5. If you don’t have any half and half you can use undiluted evaporated milk or heavy cream. One good thing about using evaporated milk is the fact that you can get low fat or no fat versions. This will help to cut down the calories and fat a bit. I have also used whole milk in the past, and it has worked fine.
6. You can break this down into two casseroles. Both will require the same time to cook. You can freeze one (cooked and properly wrapped) to use at a later date. You cannot freeze it without cooking it first because of the rice.
7. You can make this the day ahead. Simply cook and then store, covered tightly, in the refrigerator ready to pull out and reheat. To reheat preheat your oven to 300*F and cook it for 20 to 30 minutes, tightly covered.
8. This is a recipe that you can easily adapt by adding a vegetable to it. Frozen chopped broccoli is especially delicious. Corn, green beans, or peas are also excellent choices!
9. If you find that you don’t have any ranch dressing mix on hand it is very simple to make your own. Whisk together 2 TBS dried parsley 2 tsp dried dillweed, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp dried onion flakes, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp dried chives, and 1 tsp of fine sea salt. You can blend this in a coffee or spice grinder to a powder if you wish. Stored in a sealed container in a dark place it will keep for up to one year. You can also add 1/3 cup of buttermilk powder, in which case it can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, but only for up to a month. I tend to just leave out the buttermilk powder when using it in a recipe such as this one.
10. I always have already cooked bacon on hand in my freezer to use in recipes such as this. It is much cheaper to just make your own and freeze it, ready to pull out as and when. It thaws very quickly. I tend to cook a whole package at a time and then spread the rashers out onto a baking tray and freeze. Once it is frozen I remove it from the tray and place it into a zip lock bag. I can then remove as many or as few rashers of bacon as required.
11. I like to use strong cheddar cheese as it has lots of flavour and melts well. Grate your own cheese if possible. They add things to pre-grated cheese so help it pour better out of the bag. This might mess with the integrity of your bake. You can however use whichever cheese your family enjoys. Just make sure it has great melting properties.
12. I recommend using a low sodium chicken broth. As the cheese, bacon, and dressing mix are quite salty you don’t want to be adding more if you can help it.
13. I chop my own onion for this and mince my own garlic. If you are using pre-minced garlic use 1 ½ tsp, which is the equivalent of one clove.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN BACON RANCH CASSEROLE
If you have cooked chicken and bacon in the house, nothing could be quicker or easier!
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Butter a 9-inch by 13- inch casserole dish and set aside.
Toss the cubed chicken together in a bowl along with the olive oil and 2 TBS of the ranch dressing mix.
Combine the rice, onion, garlic, half of the bacon, chicken broth, half and half and the remaining TBS of ranch dressing mix together in the casserole dish. Stir in the chicken until everything is mixed together evenly.
Scatter the cheese evenly over top and sprinkle with the remaining bacon. Cover tightly with a sheet of aluminium foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover, discarding the foil, and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until the rice is cooked through.
Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes. Scatter with the parsley flakes and serve immediately.
This delicious casserole is a meal in one. You will only need a tossed salad and possibly a cooked vegetable on the side. If you add vegetables to the casserole (like broccoli, cut green beans, etc.) you really will only need a salad. I always like to serve some crusty rolls or bread and sometimes I pull out all the stops and bake a pan of biscuits. Never a bad idea! Homemade biscuits always turn any meal into a celebration!
As I said earlier this is also a very popular casserole to take to Covered-Dish or Potluck suppers! People really do love it and it is always one of the first dishes to be emptied.
HOW TO DEAL WITH ANY LEFTOVERS
You can keep any leftovers for about 3 days, maximum 4, covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you want to keep it for longer it is best to freeze it. Cover your dish and wrap it tightly in a layer of plastic cling film and a layer of aluminum foil. Make sure that the casserole is completely cool before either storing it in the refrigerator or the freezer.
I often reheat the leftovers by stir frying them in a lightly oiled skillet, just like fried rice, sprinkling some fresh cheese on top to melt prior to serving. Make sure everything is well heated through and hot!
So there you have it! A quick, easy and delicious casserole that the whole family is sure to fall in love with! Economical and very tasty, it is sure to become a real favourite in your recipe repertoire! If you are looking for a quick supper option that can be thrown together in a flash and basically cooks itself, this is it!
- 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and cubed
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 3 TBS ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix powder
- 1 ½ cups uncooked rice (you can use either a long grain or a short grain)
- 1 small onion, peeled and minced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 8 slices of crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
- 2 ½ cups of chicken broth (low sodium)
- ½ cup half and half
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tsp dried parsley flakes to garnish (alternately you can use 1 TBS fresh parsley)
- Preheat the oven to 350*F. Butter a 9-inch by 13- inch casserole dish and set aside.
- Toss the cubed chicken together in a bowl along with the olive oil and 2 TBS of the ranch dressing mix.
- Combine the rice, onion, garlic, half of the bacon, chicken broth, half and half and the remaining TBS of ranch dressing mix together in the casserole dish. Stir in the chicken until everything is mixed together evenly.
- Scatter the cheese evenly over top and sprinkle with the remaining bacon. Cover tightly with a sheet of aluminium foil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover, discarding the foil, and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until the rice is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes. Scatter with the parsley flakes and serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319 per serving (1/12th of recipe)
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.