This Healthier Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Bake is a healthier version of a Pioneer Woman classic — completely homemade with no cream soups! It’s an easy make ahead and freezer friendly meal. Includes how to recipe video
I swear at least once a week, I look around my house in dismay at my lack of bookshelves. If I have a “bad habit”, it’s book hoarding.
I hoard cookbooks, I hoard novels, I hoard my old University textbooks and the books I used for teaching high school. I probably even have some books from my high school days in some random box in the basement.
A few weeks ago, I took a good, hard look at my bookshelves and decided it was time for a purge. I let go of a bunch of cookbooks that I hadn’t ever really cooked from, and probably wouldn’t be any time soon.
There was a time in my life when I had hours to spend cooking, just for fun, and I loved it. But these days are not them. The times they are a-changing (and the faster my girls grow, the faster this change seems to come).
So I gave a bunch of cookbooks away, and became really determined to take more time to cook for fun this year. I want to cook from my favorite cookbooks more, and get a little crazy and try some new things every once in a while.
And easy, cheesy pasta dishes? You know those are always going to be a win (like this Slow Cooker Baked Ziti has been).
I had a Pioneer Woman cookbook on the shelves that I hadn’t yet cooked from, but I just couldn’t bear to part with yet. I feel like Ree and I would get along just fine — she seems so down to Earth and I love her classic, family friendly recipes!
When I came across this one, it jumped out at me. I loved the idea of it, but I don’t ever cook with canned soup these days. I also took out a few things and added in a few of our favorite veggies, and it was a hit. What I love about this casserole (and most casseroles), is how easy they are to make ahead.
In this spaghetti bake, everything can be prepped completely ahead of time, and you just pop it in the fridge to bake later or the next day. There’s no work, so it’s perfect for a Sunday dinner or on a busy weeknight (I feel like I use the term “busy weeknight” in every.single.blog.post but seriously, friends! Children and life = chaos).
Feel free to mix up the veggies or seasonings and adjust to your family’s tastes — whatever floats your boat!
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Healthier Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Bake
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ medium onion chopped
- ½ green bell pepper chopped
- ½ red bell pepper chopped
- 375 grams whole wheat spaghetti, broken in half
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups low fat milk
- 1 large carrot peeled and shredded
- 3 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast (about 3 breasts)
- 3 cups low fat cheddar cheese divided
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, green pepper and red pepper and cook until softened.
- Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions until just al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven). Remove from the heat and drain. Set aside.
- Add salt, paprika, pepper, garlic to the vegetables and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in flour until completely absorbed. Add broth and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened (about 3 minutes).
- Stir in milk and continue cooking until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Stir in 2 cups of cheddar cheese.
- Pour cooked spaghetti and chicken into prepared baking dish. Top with prepared sauce and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
- Bake 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve.
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