Healthy and Delicious: Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Pasta for the Whole Family

My girlfriend and I are big fans of experimental cooking. A little bit of this, a dash of that, maybe some bacon (who am I kidding? We gotta have bacon right?), mix it all together and voila- an unexpected masterpiece!

So when we got turned on to these new Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mixes from our local grocery store we were anxious to make something creative. While we were sure we could very easily make a delicious dip from Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix that we purchased, what we really wanted is a more sizeable meal. I was thinking about some kind of casserole while we were wandering through the aisles of the grocery store, but my girlfriend said those three little words that always make me fall in line, “chicken, bacon, ranch’…. SOLD.

When this girl has a vision involving any of these things I’m always on board, so we went ahead and tracked down the necessary ingredients: bacon bits, non-fat Greek yogurt, chicken breast, Cavatappi pasta (my favorite pasta), some light cream, and of course the Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix. Once assembled, we trekked back home to prepare our feast.

First things first, we opted to boil our boneless chicken breasts. This worked out super well because we would then pull apart and shred the chicken. Cooking the chicken this way, we saved ourselves from the extra butter and oil we so often rely on when cooking in a pan or casserole. Also, by boiling the chicken it cooked very evenly, this made the pulling and shredding much easier.

While we were cooking the chicken, we prepared our pasta, a kid friendly Cavatappi, by boiling it in some light cream and water. In retrospect, if you wanted to make this dish even lighter, you could very easily eliminate the light cream and simply boil with water instead as the Greek yogurt gave the sauce enough creaminess to do the trick by itself. In fact, when made with non-fat Greek yogurt, Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix has 67% Fewer Calories in Prepared Greek Yogurt Dip and 3 Times More Protein in Prepared Greek Yogurt Dip. When we first tried the recipe we didn’t anticipate how perfectly the Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix would blend with the Greek yogurt and the overall dish. On subsequent tries, noodles cooked in water worked perfectly but the water needs to be drained away once the noodles are tender and done.

Okay- so moving on you take the noodles and stir in your non-fat Greek yogurt, Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix, bacon bits, and shredded chicken over a warm stove. This will allow the pasta to soften a bit more and you can play around with how much of all the ingredients you wish to use. Personally we used a whole box of pasta (1 lb), one quart of light cream, about 2 lbs of chicken breast, 1 ½ cups of fat-free Greek yogurt, 2 packets of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix, and 2.5 ounces of bacon bits.

The final product was ridiculously good! And while it was awesome right of the stovetop that first night, it may have actually gotten better after we allowed it to sit and further soften the noodles. The batch we made could easily feed 10-12 adults and would be a great kid-friendly recipe for the upcoming summer cookout season. Something you could very easily cook a day or two in advance and serve either hot or cold, like a pasta salad, and be the hit of your local block party or family get-together.

If you really want to have fun with this and win the children over it would also be cool to substitute some kid-friendly shaped macaroni as well. I’m a big kid, and personally I enjoy any pasta that has some texture in it because they tend to absorb the sauces better which is why we settled on spiraled Cavatappi macaroni’s. But maybe some cartoon characters, or fun animal shapes, or whatever may jump out at you. You could also sneak in some peas or red bell pepper if you are trying to sneak in some veggies. Since the pasta tends to continue to cook and soften after the initial boiling this recipe also works well for whole wheat and multi-grain pasta. Pretty much whatever you want to go with frankly, as long as you have the Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix and the Greek yogurt working everything should blend quite nicely. The main thing is to just make it yours and have fun with whatever you choose to prepare this summer season.

But in this writer’s mind you can never really go wrong with CHICKEN, BACON, and HIDDEN VALLEY® GREEK YOGURT DIP MIX!!! YUM!!!

Our Recipe for Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Pasta

2 Packages Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Salad Dips Mix

1 1/2 Cups Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

2 Lbs Chicken Breast (Boiled and Shredded)

2.5 oz Bacon Bits

1 Quart Water or Light Cream (for boiling the pasta)

1 Box Cavatippi (16 oz)

Boil your noodles until tender. Drain them and then and stir in your non-fat Greek yogurt, Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix, bacon bits, and cooked, shredded chicken over a warm stove.

With its wide range of products, Hidden Valley® is a simple twist that can transform your standard dishes into something new and delicious. For more easy recipes and quick mealtime fixes, visit www.hiddenvalley.com.

Which of your favorite recipes could use a new twist?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hidden Valley – Greek. The opinions and text are all mine.

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