Chicken Spaghetti

Y’all, I miss Texas so much. I have a trip planned for the end of May and am really hoping that actually gets to happen. I’m worried it won’t, so for now, I’m using food to remind me of home. Something that transports me right back to my mom’s kitchen is classic Chicken Spaghetti. This cheesy, indulgent dish was a staple for us growing up. It was something that my mom made often and knew that we would all love. The foods that we grew up eating as a child are usually at the top of our comfort foods list, right? With everything going on in the world right now, I felt like you all needed a bit of Texas comfort, too.

Chicken Spaghetti is so easy to make! It uses lots of simple pantry ingredients too. Yes it has VELVEETA in it! I’ve tried making it without and it just isn’t the same. My mom used only Velveeta but I like the sharpness that the cheddar adds. A little Velveeta is just perfect and adds the right amount of creaminess. I have recently seen two Food Network chefs use Velveeta on their Instagram stories so I think we are all looking for a little cheesy comfort right now. Ha!

My favorite brand of pasta!
Just simmer the onion and pepper in the broth to soften because that’s the way my mom did it!
Add the hot broth mixture to the bowl and mix! It turns into the sauce for the spaghetti.

One thing I love about this dish is that it makes a great freezer meal. Since my husband is gone right now, I knew it would take the kids and I a week to eat a 9×13 pan of it. I divided the mixture into two pans and have one in the freezer. I love when one meal (and mess) makes two dinners!

This is an 11×7 and a 9×9 pan.

I hope that my Chicken Spaghetti fills your kitchen (and bellies) with some delicious comfort during a time when we all need it so much. Please make sure to comment here on my posts and share your creations on social media!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace.

Chicken Spaghetti

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
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Ingredients

2-3 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 lb thin spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 small yellow or white onion, diced small
1 green bell pepper, diced small
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
½ teaspoon celery seed
4 oz jar diced pimentos, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz Velveeta cheese, diced
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded & divided
Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small saucepan, add chicken broth, onion, bell pepper, and celery seed. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

In a large bowl, add pimentos, soup, and Velveeta. Pour the broth mixture over and stir to combine. Stir in 1 cup cheddar. Add cooked spaghetti and chicken and stir until everything is combined well.

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour in spaghetti mixture. Top with remaining 1 cup cheddar.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Notes:
1. If cooking your own chicken, make sure to season it first with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. If using rotisserie or canned chicken, no need to season.
2. This is a great freezer meal! Divide into two smaller pans and freeze one for later.
3. You can use fresh celery (1/2 cup) in place of celery seed if desired.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

With all the chaos in our world right now, I have been feeling a little uninspired in the kitchen honestly. I decided to ask my followers on Instagram what recipes they’d like to see from me and the unanimous answer was “pantry staples.” People are stocking up right now then hunkering down and want to be able to cook from what they have using fewer fresh ingredients. I totally get that because I’m right there with you! The recipes that I use the most canned ingredients with are soup. I can’t believe that I haven’t shared my Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla soup with y’all yet!

This recipe is simple and versatile! There are several options to choose from for the chicken (check recipe notes) and you can also use whatever plain canned tomatoes you have. Even swap the black beans out for pinto or kidney if that’s all you have. The recipe calls for cilantro and that was the one ingredient I didn’t have when I made this today. It was totally fine without it! You’re getting a short and sweet blog post today because life is a little weird and crazy. Just doing the best I can! Add this delicious, flavorful, easy soup to your menu ASAP because I’ll bet that you already have most of the ingredients on hand. Stay safe and healthy y’all!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
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Ingredients

2 cups cooked chicken
1 (15 oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can mild red enchilada sauce
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
32 oz chicken broth
10 oz frozen corn (or 1 can, drained)
1 small onion (yellow, white, or red), diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Toppings:
Crushed tortilla chips
Shredded cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
Sour cream
Avocado

Directions

Place all ingredients except for cilantro and lime in a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Garnish individual servings with toppings of choice.

Notes:
1. For the chicken, you can use shredded rotisserie, whole chicken (cooked and shredded), cooked chicken breasts, or canned chicken.
2. This doesn’t have to be made in a slow cooker. You can also cook on the stovetop by bringing to a boil in a large pot and simmering for 30 minutes.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw

This is the time of year here in Utah where I’m over the cold and need some warm sunshine in my life. I dream of being on a beach somewhere tropical. Since that’s not happening anytime soon, I have to get creative in order to get out of my winter funk. That’s where my Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw come to the rescue. The warm, spicy flavors take me back to our time in Jamaica 10 years ago! I made it yesterday on ABC4’s Good Things Utah and it was a hit! Watch me make it here!

Ben and I went on a cruise 10 years ago and we had authentic Jerk Chicken when we stopped in Haiti then again when we were in Jamaica. I fell in love with the sweet and spicy flavors! In Haiti we had the real deal-grilled Jerk Chicken on a huge outdoor grill (wish I had pics). Then in Jamaica we just went to a Hard Rock Cafe and they had the BEST Jerk Chicken sandwich served with a guava based sauce. We loved the sauce so much that they gave us a bottle! Ever since that trip, we have been making Jerk Chicken on the grill using store-bought spice blends.

I was taking pics of food back in 2010 before it was even cool to do it! Ha!
With our awesome, crazy, funny tour guide, Alfonso, in Ochos Rios, Jamaica.

I am always trying to come up with new taco recipes because they’re my favorite food and can be so versatile. I have had these Jerk Chicken ones in mind for a long time and am so so happy with how it turned out. You just add some chicken breasts to your slow cooker along with onions, garlic, jalapenos, and lots of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Sounds like a weird combo but trust me it’s amazing! When it’s done you just shred it and serve on tortillas with the Mango Lime Slaw. You can also grill the chicken instead!

Just throw it all in and let it cook. So easy and feeds a crowd! Omit the broth but leave everything else if you’d rather grill the chicken.

Now let’s talk about the slaw. Oh my goodness! My Mango Lime Slaw is so simple yet so crazy delicious! Mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and mayo are blended up then tossed with slaw mix. It is bright, tangy and pairs so well with the sweet and spicy chicken. It makes for the perfect bite!

Fun fact: the lighting in the TV studio is terrible for food pics! This is the best I could do. I guess I need to make it again to get some better pics-oh darn!

You know what else is great about these tacos? Kids love them! My own kids devoured them. My 12 year old is soooo picky and went back for thirds! At the Good Things Utah station, there were a bunch of kids in the audience that got to have some and they all loved them too. You’d think that the unique combo of flavors would be too much for kids but that’s not the case. It has just enough spice not to overwhelm and the sweetness is just so yummy!

You need to get these on your menu ASAP! Feeling the winter blues? Take a trip to the islands in your own kitchen! You’ll love these Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw. They are one of my favorite recipe creations yet!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw

Ingredients

For the chicken:
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2-3 jalapeños-stems removed, sliced in half, seeds removed
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TB soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the slaw:
14 oz bag traditional slaw
1 1/2 cups mango, fresh or frozen (thawed)
2 limes, juiced
Cilantro, 1/3 bunch
1/2 red onion, rough chopped
1/2 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise

Additional ingredients:
Flour tortillas
Avocado slices
Queso fresco

Directions

Place chicken in slow cooker then add onions and jalapeño. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl then pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken in the slow cooker with the broth (or remove, shred, and place back into broth).

To make slaw, place mango, lime juice, cilantro, onion, jalapeño and salt in a food processor or blender. Blend until mostly smooth. Add mayo and blend. Place slaw into medium/ large bowl and add 1 cup of mango mixture then toss to combine. Save remaining sauce for garnish.

Place chicken in tortillas and top with slaw. Garnish with avocado, queso fresco and extra dressing (if desired).

Notes:
1. You can also grill the chicken. Place chicken breasts in a zip top bag and add all chicken ingredients minus the broth. Marinate for 3 or more hours then grill. Slice to serve on tacos.
2. Leave seeds in jalapeños for extra spice. Not spicy enough? Add some cayenne pepper.

Lemon Thyme Chicken & Potatoes

There’s just something about adding fresh herbs and lemon to chicken. It completely elevates the dish and transforms it into something that tastes special. Am I right? Well, guess what? My Lemon Thyme Chicken & Potatoes might taste fancy but it’s so simple to make!

Last weekend was cold and cloudy when I made this. It was the perfect dish to brighten my day! Served it with a side of asparagus and it felt like spring.

Simple, bright, flavorful ingredients.

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this because that’s what is on sale at Lee’s this week but you could definitely switch those out with bone-in skin-on breasts or even chicken thighs. You can still get a great sear on skinless though! Just make sure your heat is almost all the way high and leave them alone for 4-5 minutes per side. You can also pound the breasts thin so that cooking time is faster. I was in a hurry so I left mine as is. Turned out great, though, thanks to an internal meat thermometer!

Look at that sear!

Do you use Better than Bouillon? If not, get some! I hardly ever use canned broth anymore because the flavor doesn’t come close to what this can do. I keep the chicken and beef flavors in the fridge at all times. I love the richness and depth of flavor that it adds!

I love that this came together in 30 minutes and my kids devoured it. I also love that it works wonderfully for a “dine-in” Valentine’s dinner. I always cook a “fancy” dinner for my family on Valentine’s Day and this would be so perfect!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of February 4-10: chicken breasts, butter, and Dijon

One more close up! This is fun to make!

Lemon Thyme Chicken & Potatoes

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon chicken base
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, drain, set aside.
Add the juice of 2 lemons, chicken base, thyme, garlic, Dijon and water in a small bowl then whisk to combine and set aside. (Do not discard lemon halves)
Sprinkle chicken liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet on high heat. Add chicken and sear for 4-5 minutes until brown and seared. Flip and brown other side.
Lower heat to medium-high then add liquid and reserved lemon halves to the skillet, cover, and continue cooking until internal temperature of chicken is 165°. Flip chicken over halfway through cooking to keep covered in sauce and moist.
Remove lid then add 2 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt into the sauce. Remove chicken and place on platter. Add potatoes to the pan and toss. Pour over chicken, sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Notes:
1. Bone-in, skin on chicken breasts or chicken thighs would also work great in this dish.
2. Use a meat thermometer to ensure perfectly cooked chicken.
3. Red potatoes or Yukon Golds are recommended.

BBQ Chicken & Caramelized Onion Sliders

Are you ready for the big game this weekend? If you’re still trying to decided what to make (because it’s all about the food right?) then look no further! My BBQ Chicken & Caramelized Onion Sliders are kind of amazing if I do say so. My husband always replies with “But you should say so!” Ha! He’s the best and really missing my food right now since he’s deployed overseas. I will definitely be putting these on the list of my new recipes to make for him when he gets home.

I made these yesterday on ABC4’s Good Things Utah and it was such a fun segment. I know I say that every time but I seriously love being there and love everyone there-the adorable receptionist, the camera crew, the interns, the producers, and the hosts. I can’t say enough about the good vibes and fun that is had in that studio! Watch my segment here!

Love cooking with Nicea!

Caramelized onions are a labor of love but very easy! You just have to be patient and give plenty of time because you just can’t rush the process. Check the recipe notes for tips! Also, you can use whatever BBQ seasoning that you’d like but I have tried two and the Traeger Chicken seasoning is the best. Adds a ton of flavor!

I will fully admit that I got the worst pictures yesterday of these sliders so bear with me. I am trying to be better at getting pictures of the process and not just the final product so here are a few that I had to screen shot from my video.

Hold the top with your hand and slice the King’s Hawaiian Rolls across horizontally.
Look at all those sweet, rich caramelized onions!
Lots of cheese is always a good idea!

These sliders are great for parties but would also work for a busy weeknight meal. Get the kids in the kitchen to help assemble them because they are so fun to make. As always, if you make them please give me a comment below and let me know what you think!

One more just because I love these ladies so much!

BBQ Chicken & Caramelized Onion Sliders

  • Servings: 18 sliders
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Ingredients

3 large yellow onions, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
18 pack King’s Hawaiian rolls
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon BBQ seasoning
8 large slices cheddar or pepper jack cheese (7-8 oz)
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted

Directions

Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium-low heat. Add olive oil and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until very soft and brown.

Preheat oven to 375.

Break rolls in half so that there are two sections of 9 rolls. While keeping rolls connected, slice each section in half horizontally using a large serrated knife. Place bottoms of rolls in a 9×13 pan.

Place chicken in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of BBQ seasoning. Toss to combine. Spread evenly over rolls in the pan. Drizzle 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over the chicken. Next, add caramelized onions evenly across the top. Add cheese slices then place tops of rolls on.

Add 1 teaspoon BBQ seasoning to the melted butter and stir. Brush tops of rolls with butter mixture. Cover loosely with foil and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 5-10 more minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Notes:
1. Be patient with the onions! It takes a while but is totally worth it.
2. If onions start to get dry, add about 1 tablespoon of water to the pan.
3. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the onions to speed up the process.

Sheet Pan Greek Chicken & Green Beans

If you’re not making sheet pan dinners for your family, allow me to introduce you. I love them because there’s little clean up, they’re fast, they look pretty, they’re versatile, and they’re delicious. Convinced? My “Sheet Pan Greek Chicken & Green Beans” is the perfect busy night meal. Back-to-school is such a crazy time for both parents and teachers and this dinner will help keep your sanity! (I am both teacher and parent so trust me!) The chicken marinade is simple but big on flavor and helps keep the chicken so moist. I also love the way the tomatoes burst in the oven and mix with the green beans. The salty feta is the perfect topping! You’re going to love this easy sheet pan dinner! (Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace)

Items on sale at Lee’s August 13-19: chicken breasts, olive oil, green beans, grape tomatoes, feta cheese

Sheet Pan Greek Chicken & Green Beans

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into tenders
1 lemon, divided
1/8 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ lb fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
½ pint grape tomatoes
½ cup feta cheese

Directions

Place chicken in a zip top bag and add the juice of half the lemon, 1/8 cup olive oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Close bag and massage to combine ingredients. Place in fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil over a large baking sheet (to prevent sticking). Place chicken on one half in a single layer. Add green beans and tomatoes to the other half. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon more of olive oil over green beans only. Season beans with salt and pepper to taste. Slice other half of the lemon thinly then place on top of the chicken.

Bake for 20 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165. Remove from oven and sprinkle feta over the top of chicken and green beans. Serve immediately.

Tasty AND beautiful!!!