Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr 4 mins
I chose Cavatappi pasta for this recipe because the shape is not only fun, but it also helps to hold the sauce and other ingredients better. I selected those particular types of cheese because I feel like they take this recipe up a notch from being an average weeknight dinner to something you might even choose to make for company. I used fully cooked apple-smoked bacon, which I found at Trader Joe's along with the Havarti, Gruyere & Fontina cheeses. Since I used such rich and flavorful cheeses, I chose to use 2% greek yogurt and 2% milk instead of using sour cream and half & half so the recipe wouldn't be laden down with heavy ingredients.
- 1 (1 ounce) package Hidden Valley Original Ranch Seasoning Mix
- 16 ounces cavatappi pasta, cooked per package instructions
- 3 1⁄2-4 cups chicken, cooked and diced
- 12 ounces apple-smoked bacon, prepared accordingly drained & crumbled
- 6 ounces Baby Spinach, torn and stems removed
- 5 -6 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 1 cup havarti cheese, grated (aged)
- 1 cup Fontina cheese, grated (semi-soft)
- 1⁄2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 cups 2% low-fat milk
- 7 ounces 2% low-fat Greek yogurt
- 7 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt 4 tbsps of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in flour and blend thoroughly. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until the mixture is well blended. Immediately add the yogurt and 1 oz packet of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Seasoning mix and continue to stir until mixture begins to thicken. Once mixture is smooth, add the Fontina, Havarti & Gruyere cheeses and blend until the cheese is melted. Turn off the heat and add the spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, carefully add in the diced chicken and bacon. Pour the mixture into a 13 x 9 dish that is coated with cooking spray and use a spatula to spread it evenly. Combine Panko breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Melt 3 tbsps. of butter and toss with the panko mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture evenly on top of the casserole and bake on the middle rack for 25-35 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and mixture is bubbly.
This is a great family dinner recipe! The different cheeses really made it a unique take on the traditional mac and cheese recipe. It was nice to have some fresh greens hidden in there too! Delicious!
Delicious casserole dinner! A very tasty blend of flavors, which everyone agreed was a keeper. Easy to make and wonderful reheated for leftovers.
Love this recipe!! I made it for dinner last night & it was delicious. Everyone loved it, which is amazing because it is so hard to find a meal the whole family enjoys! The little extra that was leftover heated up nicely today for lunch, which is a huge plus. Thanks for sharing!