Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Last week, I made Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti.  It wasn't on my meal plan and I didn't decide to make it until about 4:00 in the afternoon.  Talk about last minute planning.  Anyway, it ended up working out great, because I was able to use up some of the ingredients I had on hand that may have not otherwise found a use.  Granted, it's not the healthiest meal out there, but it can be made inexpensively and it feeds a lot.  And the bonus: my husband LOVED it!

It does call for two cans of condensed cream soups, which can be pricey.  I wrote a while back about stocking up on these when they're at a good price.  I still had some of these in my pantry, so just whipped them out.

The original recipe calls for a whole cut-up fryer.  Since the chicken's just going to be boiled and picked off the bone anyway, it would be much cheaper to use a whole chicken or any chicken pieces you happen to have in your freezer.  I altered her recipe a bit, so here's my version.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
Chicken pieces or whole chicken (enough to get 2 cups chopped chicken)
1 lb uncooked spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup each green bell pepper and red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups grated cheddar, divided
2 cups broth from cooking chicken
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in a large stock pot; cover with water and boil until chicken is cooked through.  If you're using boneless, skinless chicken, add a little chicken bouillon to the water.  Place chicken on a plate and set aside.  Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove it from the bone and cut into bite-size pieces.

These chicken legs had been in my freezer for a couple months.  I'm not sure that they would've gotten used had it not been for this recipe!

Cooked and ready to shred!
Remove two cups of broth from the stock pot; set aside.  Bring the remaining broth from the chicken to a boil.  Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, being careful not to overcook the noodles as they will continue to cook a little while longer in the oven.  Place drained noodles in a large mixing bowl.  Add soups, chicken, peppers, onion, seasoned salt, black pepper, 1 1/2 cup cheese, and cayenne to the noodles; mix well.  Add up to two cups of the reserved broth.  Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

The bell peppers were leftover from something else I made.  Again, this recipe was great for helping me use up some extra ingredients I had on hand!

At this point, you'll want to taste it and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
 Put the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar.  Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for additional 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly.

To make ahead of time, you can assemble the casserole and refrigerate until ready to bake.  You will need to make some adjustments to your baking time if you're putting it into the oven cold.


Jen in SLO said...

This recipe also freezes well! It's one of the recipes I make for new moms.

You can also make your own condensed soup with broth, flour, and milk. Then just add spices to taste. :)

Kimiko said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Jen! I haven't personally tried substituting the soup out yet, but I know my sister's done that with other recipes.

Susan said...

This morning I decided it was time to make a chicken casserole. My normal "go to" recipe is like chicken pot pie with crushed up crackers on top instead of any crust, but this looks great and I have whole wheat spaghetti noodles on hand that I didn't get to use when we had guests a few weeks back. Thanks for sharing!

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