Sunday, June 9, 2013
Baked Chicken Spaghetti
It's time for another Secret Recipe Club recipe. I'm kind of excited because for the first time I got someone I know (not personally, but we look at each other's blogs). Kind of fun. I had Rebekah at Family, Food, and Fun. She likes kids, cooking, and hiking. Right up my alley. I managed to pin plenty of her recipes. The one I made for Secret Recipe club was called Chicken Spaghetti. Why did I pick it? Because I had one lonely chicken breast languishing in the freezer waiting for something in which to sing. And my family loves pasta. And even though I don't make as many casseroles (or casserole-like foods) as I could, I'm a firm believer in them. They are a great way to turn a hodgepodge of foods (even leftovers) into something awesome. And speaking of leftovers, this could really be an ideal meal for a leftover Tuesday. It does well with adaptation. You could probably throw in whatever vegetables, pasta, and cheeses you had. Then proceed with her base recipe. As I said, I love a good casserole. Rebekah's was especially appealing because you could use cream of whatever soup, but you didn't have to. And while I'm not opposed to cream of whatever soup in a pinch, I really love me a whole foods casserole.
Baked Chicken Spaghetti
adapted from Family, Food, and Fun
makes 1 9x13 pan (we halved it for and 8x8x)
Prep time: 30-40 minutes (if using leftovers, this will take 5 minutes)
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Cost: $5.10 (or about $.63/serving)
pasta: 1.00, chicken: 1.00, spinach: .35, cheese: 2.00, white sauce: .45, chicken broth: .30
Note on pasta: Rebekah used whole wheat. I went the low road and used regular. Also, I found that we didn't have any spaghetti (whaaat??? we always have spaghetti) so I used Radiatore)
Note on vegetables: Rebekah used onion, pimentos, and green pepper. Kip doesn't like those things, so I used 2 cups of baby spinach, chopped very small instead. I'd wager a host of different veggies would work well in this.
Note on cream of whatever soup: You can use it or you can make this simple white sauce: 4 Tbsp butter mixed with 4 Tbsp flour, then add 2 C milk and boil until thick, add salt and pepper. Rebekah has a more elaborate cream of recipe on her blog; here's the link. As a note, just making your own white sauce (5 minutes) is going to save you $1-2 dollars. It's $.45 as opposed to $1.00-2.00 for the canned soup.
Note on seasonings: I kept mine to simple salt and pepper, but Rebekah added 1 tsp seasoned salt, and a bit of cayenne.
Crunched for time: Use cream of chicken soup and canned chicken in this. Then throw in a can of drained vegetables (or pre-chopped vegetables) of your choice. It's not as cheap or as healthy, but it's better than a McDonald's run.
1 (13.25 oz) package spaghetti or angel hair (or other pasta)
2 1/2 C cooked chicken, packed
2 cans cream of chicken/mushroom soup
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 small onion, diced (or do as I did and add several sprinkles of onion powder)
2 C baby spinach, chopped very small
1 1/2-2 C chicken broth (as needed for consistency)
salt and pepper to taste
1 C shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)
Cook pasta in pot of salted water until al dente (seriously, don't get it to gloppy state; it's going to cook some more in the oven). (Alternately, you can use leftover spaghetti--3-4 cups.) Drain.
While the pasta's cooking, cook your chicken if you need to. I just boiled mine, then shredded it.
In bowl, combine cooked chicken, cream of whatever soup (or basic white sauce), 2 C shredded cheddar, onion (or powder), and spinach.
To this add cooked pasta and chicken broth. Start with 1 C of broth and add more as needed to get it to a consistency that you like--not soupy, but not to stiff. Add seasonings.
Spread in 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Add remaining 1 C cheese on top and return to oven until it's melted. (I put my one cup on at the beginning because I like mine to have a little color.)