jalapeño chicken, bacon, and ranch Alfredo
8 ounces uncooked pasta
2 chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
4 strips bacon cut into small pieces
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces cream cheese (a block of Philly) softened
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
Freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, to taste
Boil a salted pot of water and cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. If you haven’t had time to let the cream cheese soften on the counter prior to starting the recipe, microwave it for 20-30 seconds or until it’s very soft.
Meanwhile, cut the bacon into small pieces (kitchen shears make the job easy), and cook it over medium-high heat until crispy. Once it’s done, spoon the bacon onto a paper towel lined plate. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.
While the bacon is cooking, cut the chicken in half lengthwise so you’ve got 4 thinner pieces. Season the chicken with the garlic powder and some salt & pepper (but go easy on the salt since the ranch seasoning and bacon are fairly salty).
Add the chicken to the skillet and cook it in the remaining bacon grease for 5-6 minutes/side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and keep warm (cover loosely with foil).
Add the chicken broth, cream cheese, and ranch seasoning to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring until the cream cheese has melted in and the sauce thickens up a bit. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken up quickly and thickens more after it cools a bit. You can always add a splash more chicken broth or hot pasta water if it gets too thick.
Meanwhile, cut the cooked chicken into strips.
Toss the drained pasta with the sauce (stir in some bacon and reserve some for topping each bowl if you want). Top each bowl with the cooked chicken and some freshly grated parmesan if desired.