Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

This recipe is a keeper! Kris' mom starting making this dish a few years ago, and it is basically the go to family meal in their house. The chopping of all the veggies does take a little while, but that is the only labor this dish really requires. Note to those who always try to make things healthier: I tried making this pasta once by eliminating the butter and maybe using half of the cheese called for, and it wasn't fit to eat. I did make this most recent batch with the 2% Velveeta though and you definitely can't tell a difference. It is a huge casserole so try not to think about what all goes into it because it makes at least 10 servings I would say.

4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
8 oz capellini (very thin spaghetti)
6T butter
1/4 c flour
2 c chicken broth
1 14 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes (don't drain)
16 oz Velveeta (one small package or half of a big; 2% works great)
1 onion diced
1 bell pepper diced (we usually use red or green)
4 ribs of celery diced
1 jalapeno minced (remove seeds unless you like a lot of spice)
1 c parmesan cheese
Pinch of red pepper flakes (if you like the spice, I usually leave it out)
Salt and Pepper

1. Cook pasta according to instructions (the thin spaghetti cooks fast so I would save it to last)
2. Dice up the onion, peppers, celery and have ready
3. Melt butter then add in the diced veggies...saute until tender
4. Add in flour and let it cook a couple minutes
5. Add in chicken broth and bring to boil and keep stirring until it thickens up (approx 2 min)
6. Pour in can of tomatoes and juices
7. Add in velveeta (helps to cut it up a little in order to stir around), salt, pepper, and red pepper flake
8. Stir until the cheese is all melted
9. In large pot, mix the pasta with the chicken and the sauce
10. Pour into large casserole dish (13x9 pan works, but if you have bigger that's great)
11. Bake at 350 for 30 min or until it is bubble and starts to brown a little
12. Once you remove the casserole from the oven, top with parmesan cheese, or save it to sprinkle on individual servings

We typically have green beans as a side vegetable for this meal. You could easily make this casserole in advance and just not bake it until you are ready to serve.


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