There’s no doubt that tacos are the quintessential kid-pleaser. You can keep them nice and basic, with nothing but taco meat inside…or you can dress them up with any number of ingredients to suit the tastes in your household. One day when I was mulling over new taco ideas, I remembered a panini I’d made a couple of summers ago that my kids had gone ga-ga over. It had chicken, bacon, and a little bit of ranch dressing inside and I remember thinking at the time that I needed to remember this beautiful trio of simple ingredients for a future meal.
That’s when it clicked: I’d make chicken bacon ranch tacos! I had no idea how they’d turn out…but I knew I had to try. And the result? My kids wound up absolutely loving them! For the chicken, rather than fry up diced chicken breast as I often would for fajitas or chicken tacos, I decided to bread and pan fry them before slicing them into pieces. I used (of course!) Land O Lakes® Butter to ensure the chicken was luscious and flavorful, and beautifully golden brown. Then I stuffed the taco full with crisp lettuce, grape tomatoes, and other good things in life.
Here’s how I make them!
I wanted to make a simple ranch dressing, so I opted for half of a packet of powdered ranch dressing mix. But to change it up, I added a little salsa to the bowl…
Then I mixed it all together until it was nice and smooth. I covered this and stuck it in the fridge while I prepared the tacos; I wanted it to be nice and cold, and I wanted the flavors to have a chance to combine. Oh, and I wanted to stick a carrot in it and have a quick snack. YUM! (But that’s another story for another time.)
Next, it was time to work on the chicken! I did my nifty trick of holding the palm of my hand firmly against the top of the chicken breast and slicing the chicken in half to make each piece thinner.
Now I had four thin pieces of chicken! Sometimes if the chicken pieces are still thick, I’ll pound them even thinner…but these turned out to be just right.
I followed my regular method for cooking breaded chicken: I whisked together some eggs and milk in one pie pan…
Then I added plain breadcrumbs to another pie pan, stirring in the other half of the ranch dressing packed I used for the dressing.
And added flour to a third pie pan.
This is the assembly line!
Bread the chicken by dipping each piece in the flour. You want to dredge both sides so it’s totally coated.
Then quickly dip it in the egg mixture…
And put it straight into the breadcrumbs.
Repeat with all the chicken, placing the pieces on a clean plate.
Once the chicken’s all breaded, grab one half-stick Land O Lakes® Salted Butter…
And throw it in a skillet over medium heat. Look at that gorgeous sizzle!
As soon as it’s melted, lay the pieces of chicken in the skillet…
And cook the chicken until the breading is nice and golden brown. It’s something only butter can do. I’m getting hungry! Remove the chicken to a cutting board when it’s totally done in the middle, and let it cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, heat taco shells in the oven according to package directions.
Now it’s time to get our toppings ready! Chop up the lettuce…
And slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise.
Assembly time! Start with a nice, generous bed of shredded lettuce…
Followed by some tomato halves…
Two or three strips of chicken…
A nice drizzle of the spicy ranch dressing…
And, finally, the chopped cooked bacon.
Keep going until all the tacos are assembled…then serve ‘em up!
Mmmm…so luscious! The lettuce, tomato, and dressing make you think you’re eating a salad…but then you taste that golden, crispy chicken and it all comes together. I promise your kids will love ‘em.
And here’s the super-fun video that Land O’Lakes and I made together on the ranch this summer. Watch me make Chicken Bacon Ranch Tacos in living color!
Pioneer Woman’s Signature Recipe:
Prep time: 20 minutes
Chicken Bacon Ranch Tacos
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield 8 Tacos (4 servings)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk
½ (1 ounce) packet ranch dressing seasoning mix
2 tablespoons salsa
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
½ (1 ounce) packet ranch dressing seasoning mix
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Half Stick (1/4 cup) Land O Lakes® Salted Butter
8 crispy taco shells, warmed to package directions
2 cups finely shredded Romaine lettuce
cooked, crumbled bacon
sliced green onion
Mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, ¼ cup milk and half of the ranch dressing seasoning packet. Stir in salsa and set aside.
Place your palm flat against the top of each chicken breast and carefully slice each piece in half horizontally; you will now have four thinner chicken breast pieces. Place each chicken cutlet between two sheets of waxed paper and pound until very thin. (You may use a mallet or a rolling pin.)
In a pie pan, whisk together the egg and ¼ cup milk. Place the breadcrumbs into a separate pie pan. Stir half the ranch dressing packet into the breadcrumbs along with the salt and black pepper. Place the flour into another separate pie pan (You should have 3 pie pans in the assembly line.)
Bread the chicken by dipping each piece in flour (dredging both sides), then the egg mixture, then the breadcrumbs. Lay each piece on a clean plate until you're ready to cook. You should have four heavily breaded pieces of very thin chicken.
Heat one half stick Land O Lakes® Salted Butter in a skillet over medium heat. When melted and hot, add the chicken and cook on both sides until nice and golden brown and done in the middle (12-15 minutes). Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into strips.
To assemble the tacos, fill shells with lettuce, chicken, sauce, and additional toppings as desired.
Disclosure: I've partnered with Land O’Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of
Land O Lakes® Butter for their Kitchen Conversation blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.