Santa Fe BBQ Ranch Chicken Pasta will have your family begging for thirds with its Mexican infused SKINNY creamy ranch cheese sauce and tender oven baked barbecue chicken.
Once upon a time, in February 2014, I started a blog called Carlsbad Cravings. I didn’t think it would reach millions of people, so I didn’t think too hard about the name until I saw it referenced as “Carl’s Bad Cravings” on several sites. I laughed and realized I should have thought harder about the name. My photography was poor but my recipes were delicious.
Fast forward over a year later, and readers still tell my their favorite recipe of mine is my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta that I posted my second week of blogging! I am so glad my not nearly as quality photos hasn’t deterred all of you from the deliciousness. (and if it has, I think its time you try it : ) )
So today’s Santa Fe BBQ Ranch Chicken Pasta is an ode to that favorite cheesy pasta. It’s inspired by the same ranch cheese sauce enlivened by cumin, smoked paprika, etc. all smothering corn, black beans, tomatoes and BBQ chicken. Can we say flavor? texture? cheesy? creamy? dreamy?!
Although this pasta seems like it has a lot of ingredients, most of them are cans you simply crack open or spices you pop the lid of – so please don’t be intimidated. This fiestalicious pasta can all be on your table in 30 minutes because while you pop your chicken slathered in barbecue sauce in the oven and forget about it, you can prepare all the rest.
To start, saute your red onions, corn, black beans, red bell peppers and tomatoes for a couple minutes. Once tender crisp, remove so you can use the same pan.
Next, whisk your 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon butter together with your flour to create a roux. That’s right, only 1 tablespoon of butter for ALL THIS pasta! I think this pasta has been taking lessons from my Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo. Take a bow Alfredo.
Add your mozzarella and cheddar cheeses along with your ranch seasoning cumin, smoked paprika, etc. and stir to this NO Cream, NO cream cheese, creamilicious heaven.
I could drink this stuff. (And I definitely was licking my fingers. Sorry if that’s gross. They were clean.)
Next, add back your oven baked barbecue chicken and corn, black, beans etc., some barbecue sauce and a little sour cream….
Followed by your pasta…
Garnish with bacon, cilantro and drizzle with ranch if you like…
And be prepared for the “more” begging to commence.
Skinny 30 Minute Santa Fe BBQ Ranch Chicken Pasta. I’ll meet you in my dreams.
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Santa Fe BBQ Ranch Chicken Pasta
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- 12 oz. rigatoni pasta cooked al dente
- 1 pound chicken breasts (2 chicken breasts)
- 3/4 cup barbecue sauce, divided
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (eyeball it)
- 1/2 15 oz. can sweet corn, , rinsed and drained (eyeball it)
- 1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons diced green chilies from 4 oz. can
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Skinny Ranch Cheese Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing seasoning mix
- 1 tsp EACH salt, ground mustard, chili powder
- 1/2 tsp EACH ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper (optional for more heat)
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (more or less to taste)
- Hot sauce to taste
- Crumbled (turkey) bacon (we like a lot!)
- chopped fresh cilantro
- drizzle of ranch dressing
- crushed tortilla trips
- sour cream
- Line a small baking dish (8×8) with foil and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray. Pound chicken to tenderize and add to prepared dish. Pour barbecue sauce over chicken. You can let marinate for up to 24 hours (optional), otherwise proceed directly to bake 375F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes then dice into bite size pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce. Set aside.
- While chicken is baking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add red onion and saute 2 minutes then add red bell pepper, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies, and garlic. Saute for 1- 2 minutes or just until bell peppers are crisp-tender. Remove to a plate.
- To the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon olive oil in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When butter is completely melted, whisk in flour. Cook, while stirring, for 2 minutes, then turn heat to low. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, then milk, stirring constantly until smooth (it will be thick). Turn heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add Cheese Sauce spices and simmer until thickened.
- When sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in cheeses until smooth, followed by sour cream. Add more milk if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Add chicken and bell pepper/black bean mixture and pasta to the sauce, stirring to combine. Add ¼ cup barbecue sauce (more or less to taste) and heat through. Taste and add salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste.
- Top with bacon, cilantro and ranch dressing as desired.
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