Monday, May 11, 2009

Cheesy Chicken and Spaghetti Casserole

A well loved casserole dish, this chicken and spaghetti casserole made with chicken, cream soup, onion, garlic and Rotel diced tomato, is loaded with cheesy goodness.
A well loved casserole dish, this chicken and spaghetti casserole made with chicken, cream soup, onion, garlic and Rotel diced tomato, is loaded with cheesy goodness.

Cheesy Chicken and Spaghetti Casserole

Now in all fairness, I know that this recipe is representative of what most folks think of when they think of chicken spaghetti. I really don't consider this to be a true "chicken spaghetti," since my Grandma - Grandma Mac of the pound cake fame - made a killer chicken spaghetti that was my all time favorite dish. Her chicken spaghetti was made with a whole hen and a red sauce similar to a beef based spaghetti, it was not baked, and it contained no cheese whatsoever.

I'm sure that everybody has a recipe similar to this, so there's nothing really unique about this one. Still, it's pretty quick to throw together and very tasty. As always, mixed chicken works best, but use whatever you have on hand.  I usually use my ready chicken that I've put up in the freezer, but it's also a great dish to make use of a deli rotisserie chicken when you're in a time crunch. Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Cheesy Chicken and Spaghetti Casserole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 50 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 (12 ounce) package angel hair, thin vermicelli or thin spaghetti noodles
  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 small bell pepper, finely minced
  • 1 rib celery, finely minced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced fine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup (like Campbell's)
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel), undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then generously salt. Break noodles into half or thirds, and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet and saute the onion and bell pepper until softened about 4 minutes; add garlic and cook another minute. To the skillet, add the cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chicken stock; stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Add the chicken and noodles, mix well, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Turn out into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Last 5 minutes of cooking, uncover, top with the remaining cheese and return to the oven uncovered, just until cheese has melted.

Cook's Notes: One pound of Velveeta cheese, cubed, may be substituted, although reserve some for the top. If you are boiling a fresh chicken to make this dish, reserve the broth to boil the pasta, and use in the dish. Add-ins ideas include one small jar of chopped pimentos, drained, or one small carton of mushrooms, chopped.

Skillet Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti: Prepare as above, except reduce pasta to 8 ounces and start with 1 cup broth, adding additional broth only as needed. Heat through, then top with remaining cheese, cover and let rest until cheese has melted.

Tex-Mex Chicken Spaghetti: Add 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon each of paprika, cumin, coriander and Creole or Cajun seasoning, omit the cream soup and substitute one (10 ounce) enchilada sauce plus one (8 ounce) tomato sauce, or a cup of your favorite salsa.


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Posted by on May 11, 2009
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