There are many versions of this recipe out there but this is mine, adapted from one I found at Taste of Home. Our boys added the “TLC” moniker, an abbreviation for the “tender, loving care” they claim is baked “right in.”
TLC Chicken Spaghetti is a “go-to” dish to bring to the bereaved, give to the recovering or drop off to new parents. It’s easy for a family or a party of one to enjoy; it warms up just as well in the middle of the night or for lunch the next day. But what you really need to know is this: it’s delicious. The recipe makes a lot but I promise you, this is soul-filling, hearty, warm you-to-your-toes kind of food. And it’s perfectly paired with a pan of my Game Day Brownies or Magic Pumpkin Spice Cake.
While not low calorie, I have been able to reduce some of the of the fat and salt by using reduced fat and low sodium ingredients and not compromising on the taste.
MJ’s TLC Chicken Spaghetti
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 3 stalks of celery, chopped
* 2 tbsp margarine
* 1 cooked rotisserie chicken (OR 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken)
* 2 ½ cans of low sodium chicken broth
* 1 12 oz package Spaghetti Noodles
* 2 10.5 oz cans Cream Of Chicken Soup (you can use low fat/low sodium)
* 1 10 oz can of Ro*Tel (Diced Tomatoes with Green chile peppers; store brand OK)
* 1- 16oz brick of Velveeta Cheese, cubed (you can use store brand and/or reduced fat)
* Seasoning to taste – your choice. I use a bit of garlic, seasoning salt, cayenne and Onion Mrs. Dash
* 1 cup shredded cheddar – I like Colby Jack or Sharp Cheddar in this.
How to prepare:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 1 9×13 pan or 2 8×8 pans (freezes and travels well).
Melt the margarine and saute the celery and onion until tender, about 5 min. You could substitute a bit of oil here for the margarine, if you wish.
Remove meat from the chicken and tear/cut into bite-sized pieces. I use both dark and light meats. You’ll end up with about 2-3 cups of chicken.
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil; break the spaghetti in half and cook to el dente – not soft but not crunchy either (about 7 minutes). You want the spaghetti to be slightly undercooked for this recipe. Drain the water from your spaghetti and place the hot spaghetti back into the pot.
Pour chicken broth over the spaghetti and then stir in your sautéed vegetables.
Next, cut Velveeta into cubes and stir into the noodle mixture; the cheese will start to melt. Then pour in the 2 cans of soup (do not add water) + 1 can of tomato/green chiles mixture. Stir well and add seasoning.
Pour the entire mixture into the pan(s) and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Place pan(s) in the oven for about 25 minutes or until all the cheese is melted on top and the sauce mixture is bubbling slightly.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 min; the sauce will thicken as it stands.
Serve with steamed vegetables, a tossed salad, garlic bread or rolls and drinks of your choice. Stand back and smile at the accolades sure to come your way!
To freeze: Prepare casserole as per above. Let cool completely. Then cover the unbaked dish with plastic wrap. Then do it again. Wrap twice in tinfoil and freeze immediately. To cook at a later date, remove from freezer and defrost in the fridge (24 hours). Remove all plastic and foil then bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 -35 minutes.
What are you cooking today?