Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

I've had this recipe for years!! Back when I worked at the Bakery, a friend I worked with made and brought this into share with all of us! It was delicious! Can you believe I haven't made it at home till now??? The recipe my friend gave was HUGE!!! Enough for 2 big casserole pans full, so when I saw The Pioneer Woman make a similar recipe on the Food Network I had to dig out my recipe and compare. They were similar, some things I liked more about my friends recipe and some I used from The Pioneer Woman's. This was a delicious casserole and since the weather is getting chillier, this would make a great dinner paired with steamed garden veggies and crusty french bread. Enjoy!!

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
Servings: 6 to 8
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 of a 1- pound package spaghetti noddles, broken into 3rd's (maybe slightly more than a half a box)
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup (which ever you have on hand)
1 can of Rico's Condensed Aged Cheddar Cheese Sauce (see photo below)
1 can Ro-tel Tomatoes with green chilies with juice
1/4 cup finely diced green pepper
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 or 2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Lawry's seasoned salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or a little more if you like it spicy)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 to 2  cups chicken broth (use the broth you cook your chicken and spaghetti in)
1 to 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want it)

Cook your chicken by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. I like to add a piece of onion, 1/2 of a celery stalk, and a teaspoon of minced garlic to mine (makes yummy broth) Add the chicken pieces to the boiling water and boil for a few minutes, then return the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pot, strain the broth and put back in the pot (be careful, it's hot!) When the chicken is cool, chop into bite size pieces and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large, deep skillet, drizzle a tablespoon or two of Olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the celery, bell peppers, and onion and saute until crunchy tender (about 7 to10 minutes)
While the veggies are cooking, cook the spaghetti in the same chicken cooking broth until al dente. Do not overcook (about 7 to 9 minutes depending on how thick your spaghetti is). Save the broth, you will use a little later in your casserole,.
When the veggies are crunchy tender, add the minced garlic and stir for another minute. Then add the chicken or mushroom soup, the Cheese sauce (found in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores)
and  the Rotel tomatoes with juice, seasoned salt, cayenne, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the chicken cooking broth, adding  a little more  if needed. (you can freeze the leftover broth to make soup with later) Add your cooked and drained spaghetti noodles and about 1 cup grated cheese into this mixtureif desired, stir to combine.
Place the mixture into a a 13x9 casserole dish that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Top with the remaining grated cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly, and 30 to 40 minutes. *if the cheese on top starts to get too brown, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil.
Serve with crusty french bread and steamed veggies! Enjoy!

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