Easy Spicy Southern Chicken Spaghetti

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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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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Grown-up Fireball Whiskey Cupcakes

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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My debut novel is out!  Check it out!  I think it is HILARIOUS!  I hope you will, too!

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These guys are as easy as can be.  You could make them with your favorite “from scratch” cupcake recipe or just buy a box of cake mix.  Same with the frosting.  I had to make a dinner for 12 the other day and, as it was a dual birthday celebration – desserts were a must.  I just didn’t have time to get all fancified with these.  Or even to photograph them properly – so – pardon the bare bones effort here.

If you haven’t tried Fireball whiskey but you like a cocktail & you like to pretend you aren’t really having one – this Fireball is for you.  I cannot stomach any brown liquors or whiskey, in general, but this stuff is candy in a bottle & I promise you will NOT taste whiskey.  At all.  My badass boyfriend Miles is in town for our anniversary (today!) and he has a weakness for this Fireball elixir and I thought I’d experiment with it in cupcakes.  It worked & they were colorful & tasty & reminiscent of those fireball jawbreakers.  Try them!

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Grown-up Fireball Whiskey Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

1 box of white cake mix (and the ingredients – eggs & oil – that the box outlines)

Fireball whiskey

Sprinkles of your choice

Red food coloring

Cupcake liners

For the icing

White frosting

DIRECTIONS

See?  EASY!

Make the cake mix as directed but replace the water required with Fireball whiskey & then add a tablespoon or two of red food coloring.

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Bake as directed.  Cool the cupcakes.

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Add a TBS or two (or more if you like) of Fireball whiskey to the frosting.

Frost & decorate as you like.  Voila!

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Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken & Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Ok, well, I haven’t eaten chicken since the late eighties & I have never made fried chicken.  I did make a cauliflower version – my Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese.  I loved it!

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But my chicken-loving boyfriend, Miles, was in town this week & I had promised him for months that I would make him fried chicken on this trip.  So – we went to the amazing Super King and bought 2.5 pounds of chicken for under $4.  I got two breasts & two drumsticks.  After breading & frying, one of those breasts weighed in at 14 ounces!  That is nearly a pound of fried chicken in just one piece.  The drumsticks weighed about 8 ounces after breading & frying.  That amount of chicken could feed 4-6 people.  Crazy.

Anyway, I was somewhat intimidated to make this dish, primarily because Miles is a very picky eater & because I couldn’t try it myself to test its worthiness but – a promise is a promise – so I did it.  And I think it was a huge success!  It came out golden on the outside, moist on the inside & was very crispy.  I was dying to eat it myself but I had my fried cauliflower & Delta dipping sauce with which to console myself and console myself I did.

I included a bottle of Miles’ new favorite sipping whiskey in some photos because the bottle is pretty & because it really was what Miles washed his chicken down with.  That & a Bud Light.

Miles’ contribution to the meal can be seen in the frame with the whiskey – little bowls of the spiciest, pan-fried red potatoes.  They were little bowls because both of us kept sneaking bits out of the pan every time we went near it & pretty much devoured the lot before the chicken was ready to serve.

The Delta dipping sauce is really a spicy Thousand Island dressing but it is delicious & I strongly suggest you try it – even on a salad.  That way – you can maximize the fat intake of a single meal.  🙂  Fuck it.

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Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken

3 lbs chicken

4 eggs

1/3 cup water

1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce)

4 cups flour

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp each of S&P

2 tsp chipotle chili powder (or smoked or regular paprika)

2 tsp garlic powder

Lots of vegetable oil for frying

1 gallon zip lock baggy (not necessary but it makes life easier)

1 quart buttermilk

1 tsp each – salt, pepper & garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

Put the chicken pieces in a container & cover with buttermilk.  Marinate them like that in the fridge for a few hours.

Blend the eggs, hot sauce & water in a deep bowl.

Blend the flour, cayenne, S&P, chili powder & 2 tsp garlic powder in a Ziplock bag or a deep bowl.

When ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the buttermilk & sprinkle with S&P and garlic powder.

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Heat a lot of oil (I used enough that I could completely submerge a breast & drumstick – and cooked the chicken in two shifts) over medium heat.  MEDIUM HEAT.  If you have a kitchen thermometer – the oil should be 350 degrees.  I do not have one.  If you do not have one either – simply put the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick in the oil to test it.  When it reaches 350, little bubbles will creep up the wood.

Put the chicken in the flour mixture & completely coat it.  Then, dunk it in the egg mixture & coat it again & then back into the flour mix.  The crust should be fairy thick.  Then fry those bitches up!

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My pieces took 20-25 minutes to cook but that was because they were Flintstone-style gigantic hunks of chicken.  Normal pieces should cook in 14-18 minutes.  If the chicken seems to be browning faster than the inside is cooking – lower the heat.  Drain on paper towels.

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For the Delta dipping sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/8 cup sambal oelek (or other chili sauce)

1/8 cup ketchup

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or another brand)

1 garlic clove – minced

DIRECTIONS

Blend together & chill.

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