Crazy Good Casserole

In the realm of comfort foods, the Cheesy Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake stands out as a heartwarming concoction that promises to delight your taste buds and soothe your soul. This dish, fondly known as the “Crazy Good Casserole,” lives up to its name by blending the savory goodness of chicken and bacon with the creamy, cheesy richness of Monterrey Jack cheese. Perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or those chilly evenings when only something indulgent will do, this recipe is both easy to make and irresistibly delicious. Let’s dive into the details of how to create this culinary masterpiece.


  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts: The lean protein base of our dish, providing a perfect canvas for our flavors.
  • 6 strips of quality bacon: Adds a smoky, crispy texture and a depth of flavor that’s unmatched.
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup: The secret to a rich and creamy sauce that coats every bite.
  • 2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese: For that gooey, melty cheese pull that everyone loves.
  • 1 box (16 ounces) dried spiral pasta: The perfect shape for holding onto our delicious sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder: Adds a hint of warmth and depth.
  • Salt and pepper to taste: For seasoning our chicken just right.


  1. Prep Work: Begin by cooking and crumbling your bacon until it’s perfectly crispy. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Set the bacon aside once done.
  2. Cook the Chicken: In the same pan used for the bacon, cook the chicken pieces in the leftover bacon drippings. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. This step infuses the chicken with all the savory flavors of the bacon.
  3. Pasta Time: Cook the spiral pasta according to the package instructions. Opt for a 9×13 baking dish, spray it with non-stick cooking spray, and get your oven heating up to 400°F (200°C).
  4. Combine: Once your pasta is drained, toss it back in the pot. Add in the chicken, cream of chicken soup, and half of the Monterrey Jack cheese. Stir to combine everything evenly.
  5. Assemble: Transfer the pasta mixture to your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the cooked bacon crumbles over the top, then blanket everything with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake: Place your dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is perfectly melted and starts to turn a beautiful golden brown.

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: Approximately 695 kcal per serving.
  • Servings: This recipe yields about 8 servings, making it perfect for gatherings or ensuring leftovers.

Prep and Cook Time:

  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving and Storage Tips

Once you’ve mastered the art of creating the Cheesy Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake, here are some serving and storage tips to ensure that your culinary creation remains delicious and enjoyable:

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Garnish and Presentation: Before serving, consider adding a pop of color and freshness with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or basil on top. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds a hint of herbal flavor.
  2. Accompaniments: Pair your Cheesy Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake with a crisp green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette to balance out the richness of the dish. Additionally, warm garlic bread or crusty baguette slices make excellent accompaniments for mopping up any leftover sauce.
  3. Individual Servings: To make serving easier and more convenient, consider portioning the pasta bake into individual ramekins or oven-safe bowls before baking. This allows guests to enjoy their own personal serving straight from the oven to the table.
  4. Gather ‘Round: This dish is best enjoyed with loved ones, so invite friends and family to gather around the table and savor the comforting flavors together. Share stories, laughter, and good food for an unforgettable dining experience.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: If you have any leftovers, allow the Cheesy Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: This pasta bake freezes well, making it an excellent option for meal prep. Simply portion the cooled leftovers into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, making sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Thawing and Reheating: When ready to enjoy again, thaw the frozen pasta bake overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or place the entire dish in a preheated oven until warmed through. You may want to sprinkle a little extra cheese on top before reheating to refresh the cheesy goodness.
  4. Quality Check: Before reheating, give the pasta bake a quick sniff and visual inspection to ensure that it hasn’t spoiled. If it looks and smells fine, go ahead and reheat it for a comforting meal once again.


1. Vegetarian Option:

  • Replace Chicken and Bacon: Use a combination of mushrooms, spinach, and artichoke hearts instead of chicken and bacon for a hearty vegetarian version. Consider adding smoked paprika to mimic the smokiness of bacon.

2. Gluten-Free Modification:

  • Gluten-Free Pasta and Soup: Opt for gluten-free spiral pasta and check labels to find a gluten-free cream of chicken soup, or make your own gluten-free creamy sauce using gluten-free flour or cornstarch as a thickener.

3. Low-Carb/Keto-Friendly Adaptation:

  • Substitute Pasta: Replace the spiral pasta with spiralized vegetables, such as zucchini or squash, to lower the carb content. Also, consider using a homemade cream sauce thickened with xanthan gum instead of the canned soup to further reduce carbs.

4. Dairy-Free Version:

  • Cheese and Soup Alternatives: Use dairy-free cheese alternatives that melt well, and opt for a dairy-free cream of chicken soup or make a roux with chicken broth, flour, and dairy-free butter.

5. Spicy Kick:

  • Add Heat: Introduce diced jalapeños, red pepper flakes, or a splash of hot sauce into the mix to give the casserole a spicy kick that contrasts beautifully with the creamy, cheesy elements.

6. Extra Protein:

  • Include More Meats: For an even heartier dish, add diced ham or turkey to the mix. You can also layer in some pepperoni or salami for a pizza-like twist.

7. Different Cheese Blends:

  • Try Various Cheeses: Experiment with different cheeses such as sharp cheddar, Gouda, or a mix of Parmesan and mozzarella for new flavor profiles and textures.

8. Seafood Variation:

  • Substitute Chicken with Seafood: Swap out the chicken for cooked shrimp or lump crabmeat for a seafood delight. Seafood pairs wonderfully with a creamy, cheesy base.

9. Healthier Twists:

  • Incorporate Veggies: Add a layer of spinach, diced bell peppers, or sun-dried tomatoes to sneak in more vegetables. Not only does this boost the nutritional content, but it also adds color and freshness.

10. International Flavors:

  • Global Tastes: Modify the recipe to reflect international cuisines, such as Italian by adding pesto, Greek with feta cheese and olives, or Mexican with taco seasoning, black beans, and corn.

11. Crunchy Topping:

  • Bread Crumbs or Crushed Chips: For an added texture, sprinkle the top with panko bread crumbs or crushed tortilla chips mixed with a little melted butter before baking to create a crunchy crust.


1. Can I use a different type of pasta instead of spiral pasta? Yes, you can use any pasta you prefer or have on hand. Penne, fusilli, and rigatoni are great alternatives that hold sauce well. Just make sure to cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions.

2. Is there a substitute for cream of chicken soup? If you prefer not to use canned soup, you can make a simple homemade white sauce or béchamel. Melt butter in a pan, stir in an equal amount of flour to form a roux, then gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder for flavor.

3. How can I make this dish vegetarian? Replace the chicken and bacon with a mix of your favorite vegetables (like mushrooms, broccoli, and bell peppers) and use a vegetarian cream soup or homemade white sauce as mentioned above.

4. Can this pasta bake be made ahead of time? Absolutely! You can assemble the pasta bake up to a day in advance, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat, bake it according to the recipe instructions, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time since you’re starting from cold.

The Cheesy Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake is more than just a meal; it’s a comforting embrace in the form of food. It’s an invitation to gather around the table, to share stories and create memories over a dish that’s as nourishing for the soul as it is for the body. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is straightforward, forgiving, and guaranteed to yield delicious results. So why wait? Dive into the ultimate comfort food experience with this Crazy Good Casserole tonight.