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.

Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole

I put a poll on my Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago asking my followers what kind of recipes they were looking for right now. The options were main dish, dessert, side dish, and appetizer. Side dish was the unanimous winner! That is one thing I’m always looking to change up too so I was happy that I got to make this Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole that reminds me so much of Texas.

Growing up in East Texas, this is one of those dishes that you’d find at every potluck and on every holiday table. Year round! Us Texans really like to put cheese on just about every savory food you can think of and broccoli is no exception. The broccoli rice I grew up with was full of processed cheese and sometimes canned cream soup. It was good but I definitely wanted to freshen things up with my version.

The homemade creamy cheese sauce is perfection! It’s very easy to make and isn’t that much harder than opening a can of cream soup. You mix fresh broccoli florets and cooked rice into the cheese sauce then top with a crunchy breadcrumb mixture. My kids who usually choke down broccoli absolutely loved this! My daughter said this is the only way she will eat broccoli from now on. Ha!

My Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole is such a great holiday side dish because it will go with any main dish like ham, prime rib, or turkey. Serve with chicken any time of the year for a complete meal too. I hope you enjoy another little piece of my Texas heart with this easy, delicious side dish!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale Dec 17-26: rice, butter, flour, sharp cheddar, white cheddar

Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

6 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut small
2 cups cooked rice
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 cup gruyere or white cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parmesan, shredded

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 11×7 (or similar sized) baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.

Make topping by combining 2 tablespoons melted butter, panko and parmesan in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Add garlic, salt, and pepper. Add ¾ cup of cheddar and ¾ cup of gruyere then stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add broccoli and cooked rice to the cheese sauce and stir until combined.

Transfer to baking pan and sprinkle remaining cheddar and gruyere cheese to the top. Pour chicken broth over the top. Cover tightly with non-stick aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and sprinkle breadcrumb topping evenly over the casserole. Place back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until brown.

Notes:
1. Make sure broccoli is cut into small bite-sized pieces so that it cooks through.
2. If needed, turn on broiler after 10 minutes to get topping browner.

Cowboy Crescent Bites

I was recently trying to remember the appetizers that I grew up eating in Texas and thought of sausage balls. Remember those? They are made of just three ingredients: Bisquick mix, cooked sausage, and cheddar cheese. They are pretty good but I thought I could do better. I have to say that my Cowboy Crescent Bites don’t even compare! They are loaded with so much more flavor and are still so very easy!

The combo of cream cheese, cheddar cheese and jalapeno all melted together totally reminds me of queso! If you know me at all you know that queso is my FAVORITE. I have the best recipe for it here.

This recipe makes 32 little cups of deliciousness which is great for holiday family gatherings. The filling could even be made ahead of time then assembled with the crescent rolls when you’re ready to bake. Also, the crescent rolls that come in one big sheet work best but if you can’t find them just pinch the seams together before cutting into squares.

Make these for Thanksgiving and everyone will fall in love (with you AND the food)! You’ll be making them again and again for all your holiday gatherings. I definitely will be! Y’all know that I love simple recipes that are BOLD with flavor. This is my new favorite appetizer and I love that it was inspired by my Texas roots!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale Nov 19-Dec 2: crescent rolls, sausage, cheddar cheese, cream cheese

Cowboy Crescent Bites

  • Servings: Makes 32
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 tubes crescent rolls
½ lb ground pork sausage
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ teaspoon each: garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, salt
Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Cook and crumble sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned. Drain on paper towel-lined plate. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine sausage, cream cheese, cheddar, jalapeno, half of the green onions, and spices.

Roll crescent rolls out, pinch seams together, and cut each sheet into 16 squares. Place squares of dough into mini muffin tins. Place a small spoonful of cheese mixture onto each square.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crescent rolls are golden brown. Remove and garnish with remaining onions.

Filled with ooey gooey cheese and sausage! Yum!