Chicken Spaghetti

IMG_2725

It’s a busy time of year so I figured for my final post of 2018 I’d share one of my favorite make-ahead, enjoy-now or freeze-for-later meals!

Who doesn’t love a good chicken spaghetti, right? It screams comfort food.  Will and I have a difference of opinion on mix-ins or toppings for this one as he, for some strange reason unbeknownst to me, does not enjoy mushrooms and black olives.  So, you’ll see in the recipe how we navigate that craziness 😉

This recipe makes a healthy amount, so I typically bake one smaller dish for dinner and pack another up in a foil pan to freeze for later.  In this case, we even loaded up some small foil loaf pans to freeze for grab-and-go lunch options.  I love having this recipe, in large or small amounts, on hand!

I hope that you have enjoyed the recipes I’ve shared throughout 2018.  I’d love to hear if you have made one or two, how you enjoyed them and what you would like to see into 2019!  For now – sending you best wishes and many blessings this Christmas season and into the New Year!

-Lindsey


Chicken Spaghetti

  • 1 ½ -2 lbs chicken, boiled & shredded -or- 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz Velveeta, diced
  • 8 oz cream cheese, diced/softened
  • 2 cans “cream of” soup – use chicken, celery, mushroom; mix & match
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 small can black olives
  • 1 small can mushrooms
  • 16 oz spaghetti

Preheat your oven to 350.

To start, you can make this recipe even easier by using a store-bought rotisserie chicken, I’ve done that often.  This time however, I picked up a whole chicken when they were on special and boiled it before starting the spaghetti.  If you boil your chicken, simply cover the bird with water and then add whatever veggies and seasonings feel right!  This time, I tossed in a couple carrots, one onion quartered up, a couple bay leaves and some thyme, a bit of parsley left from another recipe, freshly ground black pepper and caldo de pollo.  Whatever you do, add in some caldo de pollo – or in other words, chicken bullion.  It will add a boost of flavor to your stock and we’re going to use that stock later down the road.  So heads up – save the stock!

Once cooked, pick and shred the chicken.  Remember – save the stock!

You can use a variety of peppers here – I like the colorful assortment here of poblano and small sweet red, yellow and orange bell peppers.  Dice them up along with an onion and a few cloves of garlic.  Saute the veggies until they are soft, seasoning with salt and pepper.

If you have a family of mushroom-loving people, add the mushrooms in with the veggies and let them cook a couple minutes as the veggies soften.  Since we are a house divided, I hold off on the mushrooms right here.

IMG_2697

As the veggies are cooking, cook the spaghetti to al dente – just so it has a little bit left to it as it will cook a little more as the dish bakes. If you boiled your chicken, strain the veggies and herbs out of the stock and then boil the spaghetti in the stock rather than plain water so the pasta takes in that delicious chicken flavor.  If you are using rotisserie chicken, add a little caldo de pollo (bullion) to the water when it comes up to boil.  This is your chance to flavor the pasta itself.  Important:  when you drain the spaghetti, reserve about a cup of the pasta water/stock.  We’re putting that stock to use today!

In a large bowl, combine the two cream soups, Rotel, olives, Velveeta and cream cheese.  If you are an H-E-B shopper, there is store brand cream of poblano soup that works very nicely here!  For the Velveeta, you can cube up a brick or, as you see below, the shreds work nicely as well.  You do want to be sure the cream cheese if softened so it stirs in nicely.  Give the mix a taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Again, I skip the olives here…

To the large bowl, add the shredded chicken and the cooked veggies.  Give it a really good stir so the warm veggies starts to melt and combine all the cheeses.

Add the cooked spaghetti and stir well again.  This mixture will be thick – add that reserved pasta water/stock a little at a time until you get the consistency you are after. You want it to be well mixed and that water/stock will help to get all the yummy cheese mixture coating every noodle.

IMG_2708

Spray either one 9×13 baking dish or two small dished with nonstick spray and fill ’em up! Here’s where my mushrooms and olives come into play – they go on top of “my half” 😉

For the baking dishes – cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

For the freezing dishes – let cool completely and cover with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze until ready to enjoy!

IMG_2722

Don’t worry – Will totally missed all the olives and mushrooms in the above picture.  😉

What’s your favorite comfort meal and/or freezer meal?  Let me know what you think!


Full Recipe

Chicken Spaghetti

  • 1 ½ -2 lbs chicken, boiled & shredded -or- 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz Velveeta, diced
  • 8 oz cream cheese, diced/softened
  • 2 cans “cream of” soup – use chicken, celery, mushroom; mix & match
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 small can black olives
  • 1 small can mushrooms
  • 16 oz spaghetti

*If you boil the chicken, save the stock to boil the spaghetti in

Preheat oven to 350.

Saute onions, bell pepper, poblano pepper and garlic until soft.

Add the mushrooms and saute a few minutes.

Boil spaghetti (in stock, if available) and cook to al dente.

Reserve about a cup of the pasta water/stock after cooking.

In a large bowl, combine cream soups, Rotel, olives, Velveeta and cream cheese.

Season to taste with s&p.

Stir in shredded chicken and onion mixture.

Add cooked spaghetti to chicken mixture.

Mix well as the cheeses melt.

Add reserved pasta water/stock as need to desired consistency – up to 1 cup.

Grease a large baking dish (or two small pans) with non-stick spray.

Pour chicken spaghetti into dish(es) and cover with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes.

If freezing:  Let cool completely, cover pan with plastic wrap and foil and freeze.  Bake, from frozen, covered with just foil, at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

Beef Stroganoff

IMG_2191

Baby, it’s cold outside! We just blew past those fall-like temps into the frigid winter of Gulf Coast Texas.  For a couple days at least 😉

While our winters may not be as brutal as our Northern friends, or last as long, the chilly outside still calls for warm dinners inside. In our house, that typically means either a slow-cooking something on the stove or a quick, warm, filling dinner before dark falls. This one fits the latter.

This recipe is adapted from one a friend shared with me years ago – back when we were just college babies learning to fend for ourselves. We didn’t add mushrooms and if we had there surely wouldn’t have been good wine to flavor them with! This beef stroganoff is time-tested and one I’ll happily make, good wine in hand and fond memories of friends in mind, for many years to come.

Here’s to you, Becca!

What recipe have you held on to for years?  Tell me about them!


Beef Stroganoff

  • 12 oz egg noodles
  • 6 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Worcestershire
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt & pepper black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Salt the water fairly generously and cook the egg noodles until al dente.  Set aside.

Let’s talk mushrooms for a minute:

IMG_2167

To start, mushroom storage.  If you purchase prepackaged mushrooms, leave them in their packaging and place them in the fridge.  If you purchase bulk mushrooms, don’t worry about cleaning them first, just place them in a paper bag and stick them in the fridge.  This allows them to breathe a bit and stay firmer longer – plastic grocery bags can cause them to fade quicker.

To clean your mushrooms, avoid running them under water. Mushrooms retain moisture like a sponge, giving them more will prevent the mushrooms from browning nicely and give more of a chewy texture to them once cooked. Instead, use a damp paper towel and brush off any excess dirt.  Slice or chop them in similar sizes so that they cook up evenly.

Finally, don’t crowd the mushrooms in your pan and wait a bit before salting them.  Give your fungi some room to groove as they cook so that they saute and brown rather than steam.  Salt will bring out the moisture in the mushrooms, which is true for any veggie.  With mushrooms though, you want them to retain the moisture for a bit so that, again, they brown rather than steam. I’m willing to be that those that don’t care for mushrooms have had ones that lean more towards the steamed, flavorless side of cooking.  Let’s avoid that!  Mushrooms are like a sponge, right?  They’ll take on some of whatever flavor you give them but you want to give them a chance to develop their unique nutty, earthy flavors first.

IMG_2173

If you have a mushroom-loving family, you can most certainly start the mushrooms in a larger skillet and once they are beginning to brown, add the ground beef and cook it all together in the same skillet.  Just remember, you want to give the mushrooms a little time to brown up before salting them. I live in a house divided – one of us says they do not like mushrooms.  It’s okay, we can’t all be perfect 😉 I’m willing to go with it on this one though – I kind of like the presentation of having the sauteed mushrooms on top of the stroganoff rather than all mixed together.

Back to the recipe! In a medium skillet, cook the mushrooms in just a touch of olive oil or butter. Once the mushrooms begin to brown and release their liquid, season them with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and let the mushrooms continue to cook as you move on to the beef. I may be biased… but a splash of hearty red wine never hurts here.  You know the rule though – make sure it’s a wine you would drink as the flavor intensifies as it cooks. Worcestershire sauce is also a nice addition to the earthy veggies.

IMG_2174

Saute the onions, garlic and ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the meat begins to brown and the veggies soften, season the pan with Worcestershire, salt and pepper to your liking.

If your ground beef was fairly lean, add a tablespoon or so of butter to the pan. Add the flour and stir to absorb the fat and cook the flour a bit. Stir in the beef broth and cook until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the sour cream and check your seasoning, adding salt and pepper as you like. Let the stroganoff simmer until heated all the way through.

Spoon the stroganoff over the egg noodles and top with mushrooms.  Enjoy!

IMG_2188


Full Recipe

Beef Stroganoff

  • 12 oz egg noodles
  • 6 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Worcestershire
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt & pepper black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Cook egg noodles in boiling water until done; drain.

In a medium skillet, cook mushrooms in just a little olive oil.

Once the mushrooms release their liquid and begin to brown, season with salt and pepper.

Saute the ground beef, garlic and onions in a large skillet over medium heat until the meat begins to brown and the veggies soften.

Season the meat with Worcestershire sauce.

If the beef was fairly lean, add a couple tablespoons butter to the skillet.

Add the flour and stir to absorb the fat and cook the flour.

Stir in beef broth and cook until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the sour cream,  season to taste with salt and pepper.

Continue cooking until sauce is hot all the way through.

Serve sauce over egg noodles and top with mushrooms.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

IMG_9441

I love stuffed peppers.  I love the Philly Cheesesteaks, though I can’t say that I have ever had an authentic one.  (Sounds like a travel plan, yes?)  So the two put together makes for a great, easy weeknight dinner.  I like the peppers to be soft but still have some bite, and the stuffing to be extremely flavorful.  You can change up the protein to your tastes, using mushrooms in addition to or instead of the beef.  This recipe is quick, flavorful and fits easily  into your dinner rotations.

Try it out and let me know what you think!


Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 4-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 bell peppers for stuffing
  • 3 T Pickapeppa or steak sauce
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup Panko or breadcrumbs
  • Provolone slices or shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt.

Deseed the stuffing peppers, saving the tops or sides for chopping.  You can use any color of bell pepper for stuffing, we have even used poblano peppers, just keep in mind that they aren’t a thick and meaty as bell peppers and won’t require as much boiling time. When you pick your stuffing peppers, grab some that will either sit easily on their bottoms and hold stuffing well, or have a semi-flat side to lay on in a baking dish.  Using a paring knife, cut a hole around the stem of the pepper, or down one side of the pepper as I have done in the picture below.  Remove all seeds and save the piece of the pepper you remove to chop and add in your recipe later.

img_9419.jpg

Boil the deseeded peppers until beginning to soften, about 5-6 minutes.  If you  like your peppers firm you can skip the boiling step.  The peppers will continue to soften in the oven as well.

Remove the peppers from the peppers from the water and drain any water from the inside.  Lay/stand the peppers in a baking dish.  If the peppers don’t stand easily on their own you can use some of the stuffing around the peppers later to stabilize them some.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil.

Add the onion, chopped bell pepper (one whole and the reserved trimmings) and garlic to the pan and saute 3-4 minutes until crisp tender.

IMG_9424

Add the mushrooms, if using, and saute another 2-3 minutes.

Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook 5-6 minutes until no longer pink and drain off any fat.  You can mix up the protein by using ground turkey, a variety of mushrooms or whatever feels right for your weeknight.

IMG_9425

Stir in the Pickapeppa, beef broth and Worcestershire.  Pickapeppa hails from Jamaica. It is a thick, pourable sauce that has a distinct tangy flavor.  You can find it in most grocery stores around the condiments/hot sauces.  If you don’t have Pickapeppa, try a steak sauce such as A1.  Try out the Pickapeppa at some point, it’s also great just poured over cream cheese as an easy  appetizer!

IMG_9427

Cook the mixture over medium heat until most of the liquid is gone, checking your seasonings as it cooks.  Keep in mind that the Worcestershire and Pickapeppa will add a salty element, you may want to balance that will a little more black pepper.  I also like to use the reduced sodium broths to control some that that flavor.

Add the Panko to the pan and stir.  If your filling seems a  little loose or you have extra moisture, add more Panko.

IMG_9431

Time for stuffing!  Fill your boiled peppers with the stuffing. I like to pack them fairly tight but as I mentioned earlier, if your peppers don’t stand well, use some of the stuffing to brace the peppers in the baking dish. Those bits in the dish get nice and toasty as a little tasty bonus.

Top the peppers with the cheese.  Provolone slices are nice, but shredded cheese works just as well.

IMG_9437

Bake the peppers for 5-10 minutes.  I like to then broil the cheese for a couple minutes for that extra toasty cheese texture.

IMG_9438

Remove from the oven, plate and serve with your choice of sides.

IMG_9446

So what’s your favorite stuffed pepper?  I want to hear what you think!


Full Recipe

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 4-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 bell peppers for stuffing
  • 3 T Pickapeppa or steak sauce
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup Panko or breadcrumbs
  • Provolone slices or shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Deseed peppers for stuffing, saving tops/sides to chop.

Boil peppers until desired softness, 6-7 minutes.

Add EVOO to a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the onion, chopped bell pepper and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes or until crisp tender.

Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook 5-6 minutes or until no longer pink.  

Drain off any fat.

Stir in the Pickapeppa, beef broth and Worcestershire.

Cook over medium heat until most of  liquid is gone and check the seasonings.

Add Panko/breadcrumbs to desired consistency.

Stuff the pepper halves with filling.

Top with provolone slices or shredded cheese.

Bake 5-10 minutes, broil tops as desired.