Some girlfriends and I have been taking turns making macaroni and cheese (after we got tired of soup). I had been wanting to do something chicken, bacon, and ranch flavored for a while, and found a one-pot stovetop recipe that looked easy. It used velveeta and powdered ranch mix, which I wouldn't normally use, but I knew it would be easy to make early in the morning when I was tired.
It turned out so good! It was creamy and salty, with bacon and ground chicken in every bite. This is really good as a once-in-awhile indulgence. (But now I have 3/4 of a log of velveeta to deal with, hmm... More on that later.) Next time, I would definitely try making my own ranch mix instead of using the packet; but I would keep the velveeta - it provides a totally different texture from a bechamel/mornay sauce. Enjoy!
Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Mac and Cheese
adapted from What's Cooking Love
1 lb ground chicken
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2/3 cup bacon, cooked and diced
2 cups of elbow macaroni (or other short pasta), uncooked
1 packet ranch dressing mix (dry)
1/2 lb (8 oz) of Velveeta Cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4-1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Brown the ground chicken in a large skillet or wide pot on medium heat, adding 1/2 tsp of garlic powder to season the meat. Once the meat is browned, drain the fat.
Then add the water, bacon, ranch dressing seasoning, and remaining garlic powder to the chicken, mixing well.
Bring to a boil, then stir in the macaroni and cover. Simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
Stir in the Velveeta and cook until melted, stirring occasionally. If the sauce is too thin, add shredded cheddar cheese until it is thick enough to your liking.
It's time for another Secret Recipe Club post! This month, my assignment was The Tasty Cheapskate. Food was not a big focus for Jean growing up, neither eating it nor cooking it, which is pretty much the opposite of my childhood. Luckily all that changed for her as an adult. Now she focuses on whole foods and budget friendly family meals. She even did a challenge where she fed her 6 person family on $6 a day! Incredible!
Looking through her blog, I found a lot of yummy baked goods. Like a bunch of different pull-apart breads, but especially this coconut and lime one. Also zucchini bread with lemon or with coconut. And self frosting nutella pumpkin muffins - shut the front door! But despite all those yummy delights, what I really wanted was a nice healthy meal - so my eyes lit up when I saw this Broccoli Barley Casserole. And I was even more excited when I saw that the original recipe used farro, which I have been meaning to start using for a long time, and that it could be made in one pot.
Start by sauteing onions and garlic in a Dutch oven. Then add the farro and allow to toast a bit.
Add in frozen spinach, water, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the liquid is almost all gone and the farro is tender but still chewy, about 20 minutes.
Well, Folks - it's been a great year! I look forward to keep sharing delicious and (sometimes) healthy recipes with you in the years to come. Until then - here are my most pinned recipes of 2013!
#1 - This healthy version of Shepard's Pie with Sweet Potato and Turkey. I find this funny because the photos from this post are so bad!
#2 - Homemade Meat Ravioli - yum!
#3 - Homemade Spinach Ravioli. The raviolis are popular!
I saw this on Pinterest and thought it looked like a great idea! Put a bunch of ingredients in a pot, boil it for 10 minutes, and the cooking water becomes the sauce - cool!
Unfortunately, the first time I made this I followed another blogger's recommendation and used vegetable stock instead of water for extra flavor. Big mistake. The stock I used was darkly colored and had a very strong flavor. The end result ended up tasting like pasta with gravy - gross. The soupy flavor totally overwhelmed the tomato and basil, and it was really just not good.
But it seemed like such a good idea that I wanted to give it another try. Water, not stock, this time; and no red pepper flakes (too spicy for me).
This time it worked great! The starchy pasta water cooks down and clings to the pasta like a sauce, and the tomato basil flavor is nice. I still prefer a traditional Pomodoro, but this is great if you don't have a lot of time and only want to use one pot. Some things to keep in mind - stir frequently or it will stick to the bottom; make sure to cut the onion really super thin because it doesn't cook for very long; fresh roma tomatoes will give you the best flavor; and don't break your pasta to make it fit into the pot, after the water starts to boil the ends will become soft enough for you to fold the pasta down.