Our days are rarely perfect. We clash with coworkers, fight traffic, experience loss, the list goes on. When things turn sour, we often turn toward the things that make us the happiest. Family, friends and food often rank high on the scale. For many of us, comfort food is where our minds go. But what is comfort food? Simply put, it’s food that makes us feel better. It’s Mom’s chicken soup. It’s mac and cheese, a steaming bowl of grits or oatmeal, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Comfort food is made up of dishes that hold memories for us. Comfort food makes us happy.
With the loss of our sweet family pet recently, comfort food has been on the menu a lot at the Little household. Sometimes, a hearty stick-to-your ribs meal is just what the heart wants. Yeah, yeah, calories… blah, blah, blah, but still. Calories don’t count when your heart hurts, right?
For me, one of my favorite comfort foods is the classic chicken spaghetti. You know which one… Velveeta cheese and Ro*tel tomatoes. Yep. That one. I just love the stuff.
There’s just something about this gooey, cheesy pasta with just a hint of spice that takes me back to my childhood. It’s probably one of my all-time favorite dishes. One bite and I’m instantly taken back to my parents’ worn oak dining room table. My spot was down at the end of the table and there was a bare spot where I spilled some nail polish remover one time trying to get a label off something. They still have that same table, and though Dad has worked to repair it, you can still see a little bit of the spot where I used to sit. I love sitting at that table now and thinking about all the happy times we have spent around it.
And I just love that this recipe makes a lot. When it’s just the three of us, I’ll divide it into two dishes and either freeze or share the extra one with my parents. And then there are the leftovers. In fact, I’m wishing I had some right now!
Ultimate Chicken Spaghetti
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Serves 8 to 10
- 2 pounds frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 (16-ounce) package spaghetti
- 1 (10-ounce) can Ro*Tel Tomatoes
- 2 (10.5-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
- 1 (16-ounce) package Velveeta cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Place the chicken in a large pot and just cover with water. Cook over medium-low heat until cooked through. Try not to boil the chicken as it can make it tough. Allow to cool enough to handle, then shred using two forks.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pot, combine the Ro*tel with the juice, undiluted cream of mushroom soup, Velveeta cheese and cream cheese. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheeses have melted. Add the garlic powder and onion powder. Add the shredded chicken and cooked spaghetti. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through and the cheese has melted.