Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti For A Crowd. One of my most requested recipes.



Summer is almost here!  I can't wait! It' my turn to relax!  This summer I will be moving daughters to two different universities, attending cattle shows, getting in a little traveling like camping at the lake in our RV, going to Sonoma, California for a Hereford Gala, and most of all just being home.  I plan on enjoying my yard and vegetable garden, outdoor kitchen (thanks Scott) and gearing up for a very busy fall with new students in my classroom and plenty of trips to see my girls.  Because as my husband said to our youngest daughter, we are going to visit them until we don't miss them so much! :o)  I know they are going to be so excited about that!

I realized that I had NEVER shared my most requested recipes for you all!  It's the Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti For A Crowd!  Each year this is a staple at all the Hereford cattle shows we attend like the National Jr. Hereford Show this summer, the State Fair of Texas in the fall; in the winter the Southwestern Exposition in Fort Worth and the Houston Livestock Show in the spring.  You can't go wrong with this dish...as it's a filling, stick to your ribs kind of meal that fills the biggest man up.  My friends kids tell me that when they are at the shows they expect this meal...thanks Taylor S.! 

I guess one of the reasons I cook is to bond with others at these shows.  There is nothing like a 'home' cooked meal to do that in a barn full of cattle.  I've met some of the nicest ladies over the back of a stall as we all cooked for our state associations and families.  Each year my family spends about a month or more with our 'Hereford Family'.  The memories, friendships made from across our state and nation, are something we hold dear to our heart.  It's hard work raising both our kids and our cattle.  The folks we have grown to love are some of the best examples of what we want our kids to become and I thank them for that.  Some years our vacations are the cow shows...because after you've already been gone two or more weeks to cattle event like our shows or our PRIDE leadership retreats/camps, getting in another vacation just isn't happening as school quickly approaches. 

So I hope you'll try this recipe and share it with a crowd like we do!  It takes a little planning ahead like cooking and freezing your chicken before you go if you are like me and don't really care for chicken ala can...chicken in the can.  But it's so worth it.  Many years ago my sweet husband surprised me with a lock box on rollers to put all my cookware, utensils,and food supplies in for our week long shows.  It has proved to be invaluable and gets lots of use. I know most women wouldn't get excited about a lock box for food....but it has been my right hand man at shows.

I also hope you discover the many meals you can make with a large electric roaster oven.  I love the portable aspect of these ovens. Any brand will work...just remember to grease it slightly as if you don't you'll have a mess to clean up!  I love my roasters and will share later in the summer some of my go to meals that I fix at our summer shows.  In all honesty we enjoy our meals that we prepare in the barns to going out to eat at these shows, because a week -7 or more full days of eating out makes one yearn for home cooking the most!


Chicken Spaghetti for a Crowd


12 chicken breast, cooked and cubed (can used canned chicken and/or precooked chicken breast or thighs) 

4 large packages spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds – buy the best brand possible – good quality (it's a goey mess if you don't) 

4 cans Hunts 4 Cheese Spaghetti Sauce or any brand will do!

4 cans Rotel Tomatoes with lime and cilantro

2 lg. containers chicken broth - 16 ounce

2 lg. family sized cans cream of mushroom soups

2 lg. family sized can’s cream of celery soups

1 large - 2 lb. packages of Velvetta Cheese (no light version), cubed

*Optional – 2 – 4 large onions, chopped

***you can also add green bell peppers, diced

Salt, pepper, and additional water to cover

Spray large roaster with Pam or oil.  Halve ingredients between two roasting pans.  Place sauce, Rotel tomatoes, chicken broth, mushroom soups, celery soups, onions and water to 6 inches from the top in the two roaster.  Don't go crazy with the water or it will make a mushy mess.  Bring to a boil.  Add 1 package of noodles (breaking noodles into thirds – I prefer the thin spaghetti) at a time and allow each package to soften some before adding the next.  Break apart the spaghetti with a fork to make sure the pasta does not stick together as you boil it.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add chicken.  Continue cooking on medium to high heat. 
 
***Add cubed Velvetta cheese the last 30 minutes as it will stick horribly if added earlier. 

Get cooking!

Alise Nolan

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