My Mother made this version of Chicken Spaghetti for us on a regular basis and it was usually served after church on Sunday. I was missing her more than usual the other day and simply had to make it. Instantly, my soul was soothed and I was reminded of why it is such a terrific dish for a crowd. It make a boatload and you will be very glad. It is just as nice as a leftover as it is right out of the oven. I usually make it the day before I plan to serve it. Something about letting it meld in the refrigerator prior to cooking makes it better. Enjoy and thanks Mother!
Mother’s Chicken Spaghetti (From Sunday Dinner in the South)
Yield: 8 servings
1 whole chicken, cut up
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento peppers, drained
1 (10-ounce) package thin spaghetti, broken into 4-inch pieces
2 (10 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Place the chicken in a large Dutch oven and add enough water to cover. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together the bell peppers, onions, and pimiento peppers in a large mixing bowl. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
With tongs, remove the chicken from the cooking liquid and set aside on a baking dish to cool slightly. With a glass 2 cup measure, scoop out 1-1/2 cups of the chicken stock and set aside. Increase the heat to high and when the remaining liquid comes to a boil, add the spaghetti. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain in a colander placed over a bowl and add the pasta to the vegetable mixing bowl. Cool the remaining stock and refrigerate or freeze for later use.
When cool enough to handle, pull the chicken into bit-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Add to the spaghetti mixture and stir in the soups and cheese. Stir in the garlic salt, pepper, and cayenne as well as the reserved stock. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake or preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake 40 to 45 minutes if cooked immediately or 50 to 55 minutes if refrigerated. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving warm.
Note: This casserole freezes very well and can be kept up to 2 months in the freezer.