I consider chicken spaghetti casserole a comfort food! Bigmama, my grandmother, used to make this for us when I was growing up. Later, when I had a family of my own she taught me how to make it. Since then I have changed the recipe a little…not only so its easier and less time consuming to make but to add a little spice.
First, Bigmama boiled a fresh whole chicken keeping the extra meat for other dishes (like chicken and dumplings, for example) and the broth for…well, broth…lol. Yes, cooking and taking apart an entire chicken takes a while to do but its so worth it if you have the time. Especially if you have other dishes you need chicken for and you want to make a good broth to keep for something (like my homemade chicken pot pie). BTW, I now have a good enriched chicken broth recipe where I use boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Anyway, I used to do the whole chicken thing but since I really only make this recipe when I need to cook something that doesn’t take hours…I use a rotisserie chicken now. It makes this recipe super quick and super simple! Just make sure you get a traditional rotisserie, not a flavored one like garlic or lemon pepper. You don’t want the extra flavors in there.
So, Bigmama’s original recipe was pretty much spaghetti, chicken, cheese, milk, and cream of mushroom soup. Don’t get me wrong…it was good. But, I decided to add a can of original Rotel (tomatoes and green chilies) for a little added flavor, bread crumbs for a slightly crunchy top, and crushed red pepper for spice when serving.
SPICY SOUTHERN CHEESY CHICKEN SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE
- 1 lb spaghetti cooked
- 1 lb chicken shredded meat about 1 rotisserie chicken
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 1 lb Velveeta cheese cut into chunks
- 1 C. milk
- 1 10 oz can original Rotel
- 1 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ C. panko bread crumbs
- crushed red pepper flakes for serving
- Grease a 9×13 casserole dish with crisco and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine butter, velveeta, Rotel, cream of mushroom soup, and milk in a large stockpot. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until cheese is melted and smooth.
- Add chicken, spaghetti, and salt and pepper. Toss to fully combine.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared casserole dish and level the top with your spoon. Top with shredded cheese and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.
- Remove foil and broil for 3-5 minutes until breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Keep a close eye on it at this point. The bread crumbs will burn quickly once they start to brown.
- Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes.
- Top with red pepper flakes, to taste, when you serve it.