Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chicken Spaghetti

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 large can (28 oz.) tomato puree
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced (or use a small can of mushrooms)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasonings
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked and kept in warm water.
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat), room temperature
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 cup French fried onions, crushed lightly
Brown the chicken in a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until onions are transparent. Stir often to prevent burning. Add the tomato puree, garlic, and Italian seasonings. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often.
Drain the spaghetti well. Mix the sour cream with the cream cheese and the ricotta, blending well. Add the parsley and blend well again.
Put half of the spaghetti in a large, greased dish and cover evenly with the cheese mixture. Add the second layer of spaghetti and the chicken, mushroom, onion mixture. Cover with crushed onions and bake for 30 -35 minutes in a 350 degree oven until bubbly.
Lillian: This dish is so versatile and can be changed by topping with mozzarella cheese or Ritz crackers mixed with a bit of melted butter instead of the onions. This freezes well and can be made in two dishes instead of one large one. This makes a huge amount of spaghetti and I make it in my large lasagna pan, if I am making it for a group.

Martha:  This is a delicious dish!  The ricotta, cream cheese and sour cream give it a creamy layer that enhances the taste of the sauce.  Now Sis, I'm going to tell everyone something that I would do if I were making this and was short on ingredients.  I would use a jar of spaghetti sauce in place of the seasonings and tomato puree.  This would also give you the option to add other flavors depending on the sauce you use.  You can also use linguine instead of the spaghetti which is what I did just for the heck of it.  My testers loved it!

Food Tester Carol:  A Pyrex dish with a layer of linguine on the bottom, baked in savory flavors and mingled with sour cream form the basis for the layers of tastes in this recipe. The linguine is topped with pieces of chicken breast, a hearty sauce (that is so good it should be a family secret) and then crowned with crispy tidbits of French onions lightly browned at the edges. Why are layered dishes like this such fun, like finding a treasure chest and going through the riches, layer by layer! This is a must-do recipe and one that can be served with a simple green salad when friends are invited to dinner.

Tip:  When reheating casseroles, it's best to defrost them in the refrigerator overnight. If that isn't possible, cover and reheat in a 350°F (175°C) oven, allowing almost double the baking time. To test for doneness, insert a knife or a wooden skewer in the center of the food, if it's hot to the touch when removed trust that it's hot throughout.