What’s Cookin’ Wednesday?

As I had mentioned in a previous post, today I am going to link up with TwinkieTotMom for her "What's Cookin' Wednesday?"  link-up. 

One of the advantages of being a new SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) is that I am absolutely perfecting improving my cooking skills.  I am happy to say that J#1 actually said to me yesterday "just trying to keep all of your different recipes straight".  

Ha.  I NEVER thought that would happen. 

While I have been trying a lot of new recipes, I do always revert back to a few of my "sure things". 

One of those is a Chicken Ranch Pasta that I have been making forever.  We had it at a friend's house way back when, but it is from a Land O'Lakes monthly cookbook, and can be found on their website.  You will notice the name of their recipe is different than mine, and it looks they have updated it to be low fat now.  Just as good though, I am sure.  

Here is the recipe that I use: 

Chicken Ranch Pasta
7 ozs (2 cups) uncooked dried penne pasta
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
3/4 cup Ranch (or Caesar) dressing
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup chopped green onions (OPTIONAL)
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (OPTIONAL)
6 oz. (1 1/2 cup) mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup croutons 

Heat oven to 350*.  Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.  

Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients except croutons in large bowl.  Add cooked pasta; stir to combine. Green onion and red bell pepper marked optional because we don't use them (we have sort of bland taste buds) and this casserole still tastes great. 

Spoon pasta mixture into ungreased 2 quart round casserole.  Top with croutons.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through croutons are golden brown.  

Serves: 6 
20 minutes prep/20-25 minutes baking

Unless you are in the Netherlands.  Then it will take about 40 minutes prep.  Why?  Exhibits A-E below. 

Ranch dressing isn't available in the Netherlands.  For the readers I have here I would suggest using the Casear dressing instead. Tastes just as good (maybe even better).  But anyway, since it isn't available, I stocked up on some of the dressing powder packets while I was back in Minnesota.  So, I present exhibit A.  Might need to make additional ranch dressing.  About 5 minutes, but needs to cool in the fridge for a bit before using. 

Exhibit B-D. 
I almost NEVER would have used three burners at a time before moving here.  But, here I am cooking chicken (can't find pre-cooked chicken ("kip" in Dutch)), boiling broth (can't find canned broths, like in the States) and boiling the noodles.  This is the part of the process that increases the prep time for me.  

Exhibit E.
Once I cook the chicken, I always cut it a bit smaller, because the chicken pieces that I buy are a bit too big to be bite size, which is how I prefer it for this recipe.  

This is just a token package photo.  I always think it is interesting to see Dutch on the packaging (when it isn't making me stressed out having to translate it).

Finished product.  Please note, this is before cooking it.  I forgot to take the "after" photo.  Just imagine it looking like it was cooked (browned a bit?). 

In the interest of full disclosure, these photos are from early July.  I also made this recipe just this past Sunday. And royally screwed up.  Didn't have mozzarella cheese pasta kaas, so had to just use regular shredded "oud" cheese.  And we tried a different kind of croutons (thanks to J#3 throwing them into the cart)...tip:  stick to what you know.  It was eatable, but definitely not as good as usual. 

So, how about you?  Fill me in on some of your favorite recipes.  Even better, link up with TwinkieTotMom and check out some other new recipes by clicking here.

What’s Cookin’ Wednesday



Mom of the Twinkies and Tot! said...

My hubs loves croutons so I'm sure he'd love this. I love casseroles so it's a winner in my book! It's crazy that you don't have a lot of the same things there that we have here in the States. Like when you said you were looking for the ingredients from my link up last week, it's all pretty standard stuff I would think, butter, cream cheese, vanilla, sugar. Crescent rolls would be the only thing maybe? Thanks again for linking up! I hope you'll return!

Farmgirl Paints said...

well yum...that looked healthy...NOT! ha. i love anything with ranch flavoring:) btw checked out that link you gave me. interesting the process of adjusting. i can't even imagine how hard moving to another country is. i'd be up a creek for sure. thank you for thinking of me.

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