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Friday, December 19, 2008

Old Fashioned Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 whole chicken fryer
1 - 12 oz package spaghetti noodles
1 - 16 oz (1 lb) package Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 - 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 - 14 oz can chicken broth or 2 cups reserved broth
1 - stick margarine (1/2 Cup)
1 - 8oz package shredded mild or sharp cheddar cheese
1 - small onion, chopped
3-4 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

Fill a big stock pot with water. Clean and rinse whole fryer or chicken pieces. Add chicken, I like to add a little seasoning salt, pepper and poultry seasoning while the chicken cooks. Wash hands after handling chicken. Let chicken come to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer chicken until done. Cook whole fryers about 2 hours and chicken breasts or pieces 45-50 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and place on a plate to cool. Drain the broth through a strainer and reserve. Cook the spaghetti per package directions. Instead of cooking the spaghetti in water, we are going to use the reserved chicken broth. Add spaghetti and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer noodles until al dente. While spaghetti noodles are cooking start deboning the chicken (make sure it is cool enough to handle) or break chicken breasts to smaller pieces. Chop up all the vegetables and set aside. Melt margarine in a small skillet and add the vegetables. Saute’ vegetables until they are tender and translucent in color. When noodles are done drain and set aside. If you are not using canned chicken broth, reserve 2 cups of the cooked broth. In a large bowl combine Velveeta cheese, chicken broth and cream of chicken soup. Place in microwave and cook on low for 5-7 minutes or until mixture is smooth and cheese is melted. (You can also use the defrost setting). To the cheese mixture add cooked vegetables with butter, spaghetti noodles and chicken pieces. Stir to combine. Spray a 9x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and add combined mixture. Top finished casserole with 8oz of shredded cheddar cheese. Place casserole in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and casserole is bubbly. Remove from oven let cool and serve.

Time saver note: If a 9 x 13 inch dish is to big for your family you can prepare (2) 8 x 8 inch size . Serve one for dinner and freeze the second one for a quick meal another night. To freeze assemble casserole, then cover unbaked casserole with plastic wrap, and two layers of foil. Date and place in freezer. To cook, remove casserole from the freezer. Defrost and proceed with baking instructions. Or For a large family just double the recipe ingredients and prepare two 9 x 13 inch baking dishes.

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