Spaghetti, finely chopped veggies, lots of cheese and…. wait for it… canned condensed cream of chicken soup (yes, really). But don’t be afraid. Baked chicken spaghetti is the perfect batch cook recipe and the ULTIMATE in tasty comfort food!
They say that one of the ‘symptoms’ of late pregnancy is having an overwhelming urge to get everything prepared. To cook, clean, wash, scrub, assemble, and tidy everything in sight before baby makes an appearance.
Personally, although I can’t wait to meet our little one, I’m willing him (or her!) to stay put for at least another week while I finish off all my jobs. One of which is to prepare some easy freezer meals so that we can just pull them out of the freezer in the first couple of weeks after bubs is born.
Let’s face it, there are times when we all want to just grab a meal out of the freezer instead of making something from scratch that day – whether there’s a new baby on the way or not.
So I decided to blog my latest batch-cook addition to my freezer, just in case it will help you out some day too!
And yes, you did read correctly in the intro – I actually used canned condensed cream of chicken soup in this recipe. Which I’ve not eaten in at least 20 years!
But I admit this to you without even the tiniest bit of guilt or shame. While I mostly like to give processed or heavily pre-prepared foods such as this a wide berth, I don’t see the harm in using them every once in a while.
I came across the idea for this baked chicken spaghetti while watching The Pioneer Woman on daytime TV recently. Well, you know, someone’s got to watch daytime TV!
Ree Drummond has a way of making everything she makes look incredible, but she’s particularly good at these sorts of cozy, oozy, cheesy casserole type dishes.
After snooping around on her blog for a while afterwards, I realised that this recipe is actually about 10 years old. Created at a time when this kind of condensed soup was still quite commonly used in casseroles, I suppose. But again, I’m not apologising. 😉
I have adapted the recipe a little from Ree’s version, but essentially it’s the same. I love it for many reasons, but also because it makes EIGHT generous portions. So you can either make one humungous casserole if you have a humungous family like Ree, or you can do like I did and make FOUR separate meals for two (or 2 meals for 4, of course).
I assembled the dishes in disposable foil trays to the end of step 6 in my recipe below, labelled them with the cooking instructions and threw them into the freezer for a day sometime soon when in desperate need of comfort food.
If you do happen to have an issue with the canned condensed soup in this, I’d highly recommend you checking out this recipe for a homemade version from the lovely Meggan at Culinary Hill. I was amazed how easy it is to make your own!
This baked chicken spaghetti is such a simple concept. It really does feel like the ultimate comfort food – creamy, cheesy pasta with a few finely chopped veggies, just to balance out that carb overload a bit. It’s easy to make, and even easy to eat as the spaghetti’s broken up into short strands.
No tiresome fork-twirling of spaghetti to contend with… yay!
So grab a big spoon, park yourself on the sofa with your choice of box set and enjoy second helpings of this with a nice big slice of (shop-bought!) garlic bread and some crisp green leaves.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of convenience every now and again!
- 500 grams / 1 pound chicken thighs or breasts, cut into smallish pieces*
- 500 grams / 1 pound spaghetti, broken up into pieces (about 2 to 3 inches long)
- 3 peppers (1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, if possible!), cubed finely
- 1 large onion, cubed finely
- 250 grams / ½ pound mushrooms (I used brown)
- 1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs
- pepper, to taste
- 2 x 295g / 10 ounce cans condensed chicken soup (I used Campbell’s)**
- 480 ml / 2 cups chicken stock
- 375 grams / 3 cups grated mature / sharp cheddar cheese
- garlic bread and fresh green salad leaves
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F.
- Heat a little vegetable oil in a heavy pan and stir fry the chicken until totally white and cooked through (around 4 or 5 minutes). Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti pieces in boiling salted water in a very large saucepan for a few minutes less than it says on the packet or until very al dente (around 6 minutes for regular spaghetti - don’t overcook as it’s going to be cooked again in the oven). Drain, tip back into the saucepan, add a drizzle of oil to stop the spaghetti sticking and put on the lid.
- Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the peppers and onions together until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes until the mushrooms have started to break down. Add the herbs and pepper and stir for a minute or so longer.
- Tip the vegetables into the saucepan with the spaghetti. Then add the chicken, soup, stock, and 1 cup of the cheese. Combine well.
- Spoon the mixture into your baking dish or dishes (see notes for suitable sizes to use) and top with the remaining 2 cups of cheese.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden and bubbling on top, then serve with garlic bread and salad leaves (if you like).
*Feel free to use cooked chicken instead, if you have it. 2 to 2½ cups is about the right amount. Just omit step 2 in the recipe and add the chicken to the cooked spaghetti along with everything else.
**You could also use mushroom soup, or 1 can of chicken and 1 of mushroom. Your choice!
Suitable baking dish sizes to serve:
8 people: 9 x 13 inches (this is the size Ree suggests in her recipe for 8)
4 people: 6 x 9 inches (or equivalent)
2 people: 5.5 x 7.5 inches (or equivalent – this is the size of the disposable foil trays I used for my batch freezer meals for two!)
Why not save this to your Easy meals or Comfort food board for later? 🙂
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