The wind sure is sweeping down the plain here in Oklahoma.
We’re gusting to 30 miles per hour almost, and have already seen a few grassfires spark out west. There’s an ugly brown hue replacing the brilliant blue sky. Even when we’re blessed with some warmer weather, we’re cursed with these hellish winds.
You’ve got to take the good with the bad, I guess. Since our heater has been turned off to accomodate our strange January warm-up, I decided to sneak some summer like meals into the rotation. You’ve got to take the good with the bad, remember?
Nothing screams “summer” to me like barbecue. It’s everywhere during the hot June, July and August months. Since we’re not really hot, per se, I thought a casserole would fit much better. Plus, you’ve got to use your oven as much as possible before just looking at it makes you sweat.
There is one thing you may not know about me. I had a slight obsession with ranch dressing. It follows me when I order pizza and I can’t help but dip chicken in the creamy stuff. I have a bottle of Whataburger Jalapeno Ranch in my fridge that is just about the most heavenly thing I’ve ever tasted.
Barbecue. Ranch. Let’s mix those two together. Great idea, right? Right!
More summery ingredients: sweet corn and red onion. Those two veggies are amazing little nuggets of sweet, delicious summer goodness. Mix it all up with some cavatappi pasta and cheese, and you’ve got yourself a good weeknight dinner.
I’m not sure why I’ve never combined barbecue sauce with ranch dressing before. Those two sauces work extremely well together. Also, casseroles are my life blood. Rob makes fun of me all the time and my constant casserole-making skills. Hey, casseroles serve their purpose and they serve it well. Everything you need is in a nice little 13×9 inch baking dish.
Barbecue Ranch Chicken Casserole
Chicken and pasta in a barbecue-ranch sauce mixed with Monterey Jack cheese.
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 TBS. olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 (15 oz) canned corn, drain
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 lb. cavatappi pasta (or other spiral-shaped pasta)
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until done, about 5-6 minutes per side. Place on a cutting board to cool. Chop into 1″ pieces.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, except cook for 2 minutes less than instructed. Drain.
- In a bowl, combine corn, onion, and tomatoes. Add 1 cup of the cheese, chicken and pasta.
- In a small bowl, combine barbecue sauce and ranch. Pour into chicken mixture and toss to coat.
- Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Pour pasta mixture into dish.
- Top with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes per side until done. Place on a cutting board to cool and then chop into 1″ pieces.
Cook pasta according to package instructions, but for 2 minutes shorter. Drain. In a large bowl, stir together onion, corn and tomatoes.
In a small bowl stir together barbecue sauce and ranch dressing.
Pour barbecue sauce and ranch dressing in with chicken mixture. Toss to coat. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Pour chicken mixture into dish.
Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes.