This easy go-to meal is sure to appeal to you, the cook, because it is so easy to prepare, and also the family who are going to be eating it, because there is nothing not to like about this flavorful entrée. Spaghetti is not often the pasta of choice in casseroles but it works just as well as pasta shapes, so if you usually use macaroni, penne or shells, switch it for spaghetti (or linguine) and enjoy the change in texture.
You can use a whole chicken in this recipe, cut into 8 pieces, or else just grab a package of 8 chicken breast halves or 8 mixed chicken pieces, and use that. A nice sharp cheddar is the best kind of cheese to use here, and you can also swap the cayenne pepper for a small can of chilies if you wish, or even a pinch of chili powder. Any of these will lend a spicy kick to the casserole. The cream of mushroom soup is delicious here although change it up by using cream of celery soup or another tasty, creamy option.
First you will be poaching the chicken and then the resulting chicken meat is combined with the cooked spaghetti, cheese, and then all the other ingredients. Finish the casserole off with cheese on top, then bake it in the oven to bring all the flavors together and melt the cheese on top. The cheese will crisp up and go nice and golden brown, but if it goes golden too soon just cover the dish with foil and keep baking.
Heavenly Cheese-Topped Spaghetti Casserole
Chicken, spaghetti, cheese and more are combined to make this fantastic pasta casserole. This makes a lovely weeknight dinner, perhaps served with garlic bread and a simple baby leaf salad.
1 hour 20 mins
1 hour 40 mins
1 whole raw chicken, in 8 pieces
1 finely diced onion
2½ cups shredded cheddar
¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ cup finely diced green bell pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cans (10 ¾ oz each) cream of mushroom soup
1 lb spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Small handful basil sprigs, plus more for garnish
Boil the chicken in water for 3 minutes then simmer for 30 minutes or until done.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Take the chicken out of the pot along with 2 cups of the cooking broth.
Take the skin off the chicken and pick off the meat (dark and light) to get 2 cups of chicken.
Discard the skin and bones.
Cook the spaghetti in the chicken broth until al dente but not completely tender.
Combine the cooked spaghetti with the chicken with 1½ cups of cheese.
Stir in the bell pepper, basil sprigs, cayenne pepper, seasoned salt, onions, and the soup.
Add a pinch each of salt and black pepper.
Stir in a cup of the reserved chicken broth, and add another cup if necessary.
Transfer the mixture into a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish and top with the other cup of cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.
If the cheese on top starts to brown too quick, you can cover the casserole dish with foil.
Serve garnished with sprigs of fresh basil.
This recipe is lovely and teams chicken with pasta and juicy fresh vegetables. This recipe is really tweak-able. You can see we used leftover grilled chicken instead of cooking it from fresh, and that worked just as well. The colorful vegetables look beautiful in this dish, and you can add more veggies if you wish, such as mushrooms, snow peas, asparagus, or anything else you fancy. This is a hearty dish which the whole family will love. It has a complex flavor and manages to be creamy, spicy, fresh, sweet, and cheesy, all rolled into one, for the perfect Italian spaghetti recipe.