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I am from Boston. I had never heard of chicken spaghetti. My badass boyfriend, Miles, is from Little Rock and, apparently, grew up on it. It can be a tricky business to attempt to recreate a dish you have never tasted yourself. And Miles is a finicky eater & likes his stuff the way he likes it. I repeatedly asked him to describe chicken spaghetti to me but, not a cook himself, he seemed at a loss. I asked him to get the recipe from his grandmother – but he neglected to & now she is gone – her chicken spaghetti secrets gone along with her.
Still – I persisted. I badgered him & I researched and, ultimately, it seemed to me that chicken spaghetti was basically a version of Miles’ own “World Famous Cheese Dip” – with chicken & spaghetti added. I made it the other day & Miles declared it the best he’d ever had! So – I present it to you now.
One thing, though. My oven staged a mutiny & refused to stay at the suggested 350 degrees. It kept mysteriously dropping to under 200. At that temp, the cheese would never get all melted & bubbly. The result was that it sat in the oven for twice the 45 minutes I initially planned. The result was a VERY crunchy top:
I like a crunchy top but the interior was also more dry than I had intended. Miles ate it happily but the next day, when I reheated some for him, I tossed it in a little newly melted additional Velveeta heated with a bit of milk. It worked wonders & I recommend this step in reheating yours. The two photos at the very top show the results directly from the oven & the other shows the reheated portion with extra cheesy sauce. Also – know this is a VERY easy dish to prepare. It could be made without the chicken or with some vegan substitute. If you do this – use a vegetarian soup, too. It is really all about the cheese & the spice!
And – as a quick aside – look what I got in the mail today!!! I love me some Pee Wee!
Easy Spicy Southern Chicken Spaghetti
1 lb pasta – cooked
1 lb chicken tenders
2 TBS butter
12-16 oz Velveeta (plus extra if you want to add more when you reheat it – see above notes – or if you like a wetter dish use the full 16oz. Go less for a mac-n-cheese texture – more for an Alfredo kinda thing.)
1 cup milk
1 10 oz can Rotel (tomatoes & chilies)
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom or cream of celery)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 TBS sriracha or other hot sauce
1 cup Panko or other bread crumbs
1 cup grated cheese (I used a cheddar & mozzarella mix)
S&P to taste
Parsley and/or crushed red pepper as garnish
Cook & drain the pasta.
Spray a grill or frying pan with cooking spray & cook the chicken tenders & then cut them up.
Melt the butter in a deep stock pot sprayed with cooking spray, too. The cooking spray seemed to make the inevitable browned/burned bits of cheese easier to clean off later. Add the Velveeta, Rotel, soup, milk, hot sauce & cumin & melt it all together over med-high heat. Add the chicken. Toss it with the pasta. I added about 1 TBS of black pepper here. You add S&P to taste.
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray & put the chicken spaghetti in it. Top with grated cheese & bread crumbs.
Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling & the bread crumbs brown a bit.
Garnish with parsley or crushed red pepper or more hot sauce. Eat it up & promise to join a gym after the new year. Until then – fuck it! Melt some more Velveeta in a pan with a bit of milk. Reheat the leftover chicken spaghetti & toss it with the additional melted cheese. Shove it your face. Have some Fireball whiskey, too. Why not? You are gonna join the fucking gym in January – so FTW! And while you get likkered up & gain 40 pounds of Velveeta-induced poundage – look at my recipe for Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken
and decide to make that shit, too!