Easy Spicy Southern Chicken Spaghetti

92 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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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:

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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!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Easy Spicy Southern Chicken Spaghetti

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

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

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain the pasta.

Spray a grill or frying pan with cooking spray & cook the chicken tenders & then cut them up.

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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.

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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

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or my Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese

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and decide to make that shit, too!

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92 thoughts on “Easy Spicy Southern Chicken Spaghetti

  1. Pingback: Spicy Vegetarian Buffalo Chicken Pasta | Delightful-Delicious-Delovely

  2. I suppose, Miles really grew up on chicken. I heard Arkanzas is the largest producer of chicken and turkey in the US, and one of the components of agricultural production is fowl..Consequently, fowl is used for food most frequently. As for the dish itself: you were not scared to cook it despite the fact it was unknown for you and did it very well!

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  3. I have made this twice now. The first time, it came out a bit thick, but the flavors rocked. SO – this time, I did a full 16oz of Velveeta, plus a 1/2 cup of milk. It was PERFECT!! thanks so much Christine!!

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  4. With the cream of chicken soup.. do you add the one can of water with it as well (that it says to add on the directions on the can)? Or just the thick contents of the can. So excited to try this! Thank you!

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  5. I make this all the time with chicken, shrimp, crawfish, lobster, and/or crab, but instead of milk use half & half…it makes the cheese super creamy and doesn’t dry out or harden. A family favorite!

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  6. OMG! Pee Wee Herman wrote you a letter! AND sent you a painting! I am green with envy! Did you ask for a painting of him with lava cake or are you guys homies from WAY back???

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  7. you are so funny! “Have some fireball… You’re gonna join the gym in January so fuck it!” I just love it!!! Can’t wait to make chicken spaghetti. I’m a masshole too 😛

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  8. Christine, think you should rename your dish ” Easy Spicy Northern/Southern Chicken spaghetti ” ! You didn’t say the recommended drink, is it Rum or Bourbon ? If we are going to the fucked up we may as well do it right !

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  9. boy did I ever change this one…sorry but didn’t have some of the stuff so used what I had…I used a jar of Ragu double cheddar cheese..one can of cream of chicken soup, (no milk) 1 can of rotell tomatoes with green chilies, 1 tbsp. sriracha, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, left over boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large chopped up) and left over angle hair spaghetti and bread crumbs on top…baking at 350…hope it turns out half as good as yours…but thanks for the recipe and ideas in it…Notty Dotty LOL

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  10. Hey there
    I grew up on this and I’m also from the south. Just a few variations on the one my mom always made and referred to it as Italian chicken.
    We never added the breadcrumbs always used just velveta cheese, and to make it moist used hole chicken breast that were boiled with seasonings and butter. Then we would dice the breast mix in the cheese to the pasta along with the rotel and remaining ingredients, last we would add some of the broth from the chicken breast to the mixture, this kept it from drying out leaving it creamy and amazingly delicious!

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  11. Where do you put in the milk? It has 1 cup in the recipe list, but it’s not included in the list when you say to add the velveeta, soup, etc? Is that when to add it in?

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  12. Pingback: Southern Spicy Chicken Spaghetti | Pickin' Petals Farm & Mud Room

  13. I just made this two nights ago and we loved it. My fiancé and his 11 year old both ate 2 helpings. I used the whole 16 oz of (Kroger’s generic version) Velveeta and the texture was perfect for us. I used shredded cheddar cheese and regular bread crumbs for the topping, mostly because I forgot to buy panko and it came out great. I definitely plan on making it again!

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  14. Why the need for profanty while talking cooking ? Cant anyone express them selfs anymore without it ? What has happened to america No cooth anymore. This is very tasty

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    • Love the recipes, but have to agree with Nan. I was raised in the South by a Southern lady who always told me that ladies don’t use vulgarity–it only shows a lack of proper education! That being said, it seems to be a generational issue because my daughters can swear like a sailor–much to this Southern mama’s chagrin.

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  15. Yum!!! This was a really great dinner. I’m definitely fatter but let’s be honest, it would have happened anyways. I used leftover roasted chicken instead of cooking chicken tenders. I’ll be sure to add more chicken next time. Thank you!!

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  16. My husband said the other day “hey why don’t you use tomato sauce” hey I’m a deep southern girl so tonight I had cooked a whole chicken and was like I NEED something new, found your recipe had everything on hand except I used Irish cheese gouda, white cheddar and some cheddar. OMG you made me a changed lady and his Irish family loved it. Thanks so much for your time

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  17. I would love to make this as a freezer meal for my very pregnant friend as she has this recipe pinned to one of her boards so I know she wants to try it. Any thoughts on if you think its do-able?

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  18. This is alot like one I make all the time since I was a kid. Except I add a can of cream of chicken as well makes is saucey my hubs adds the spice on the side so the kids can eat it.

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  19. Wait, you got a card from the actual Pee Wee Herman?? That is the best Christmas ever. I was such a huge fan of his as a kid. This chicken spaghetti looks so flippin’ good. I didn’t know that chicken spaghetti was a southern thing! I guess the first version I ever remember having was my aunt’s, and that was in Mississippi. I think processed cheese singles were involved, and it was good. I could never reproduce that Krafty goodness, so I had to branch out on my own too. I want to try your recipe!

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  20. Preggers and craving all things pasta n creamy. Had leftover rotel dip (you know velveeta+rotel in crockpot) and rotisserie chicken from Walmart. Skipped the baking part and toppings. Cravings didn’t have time for that 😉 Hit the spot! Was delicious!

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  21. I could’ve done without the breadcrumbs, they did nothing for the pasta, I followed the recipe exactly and felt like it needed something. Also kinda dry.

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  22. I don’t know why but I did not like this at all. I have never had anything where the majority of the cheese was velveeta. It isn’t good at all. Tastes like the kraft single slice cheese. Yuck.

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  23. I am a blogger and I am writing about alternative Thanksgiving dishes and I was looking through Pinterest to find a chicken spaghetti recipe that would fit that of the south so that I could link it to my post. I picked you article, because of the photo and then I read that your bf is from Little Rock and I am also from Arkansas. Must be fate lol. Good job

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  24. Pingback: Alerternative African-American Thanksgiving Foods | OneBadBeauty

  25. Pingback: Yummy Chicken Mac and Cheese😊 | kidssimple101

  26. Unfortunately, my family and I were not big fans of this one. Very spicy and not a ton of flavor. Might try it again with salsa in place of rotelle and/or less siracha. Sounded and looked tasty.

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