Hey, y’all! If you’ve been here before, you may already know that we are currently in residency (and if you didn’t, now you do! 🙂 ). My hubby graduated from medical school just about a year ago, and is almost finished with his first year of internal medicine residency. It’s gone by so fast! Well, the days are long, but the months/ year is short! His year rolls over on July 1, so he has a little less than 2 months as an intern, and then he’s officially an upper level. Internal medicine residency is three years long, so we’re nearing the 1/3 down mark!
During residency, unless they are working in the clinic (which is for a week every five weeks), they either work 6 days and get 1 day off, or work 12 days and get 2 days off (this is called a “golden weekend”). There are pros and cons to both, but lately Steven has been working the 6/1, which means he is working either Saturday or Sunday.
I’ve sent baked goodies up to the hospital with him because I love to bake, and because I need other people to eat what I bake so that I don’t eat all of whatever it is myself. Since this has worked out well, we’ve discussed doing lunch on the weekend days when he’s an upper level. This seems to boost morale (since it kinda stinks to work on the weekend and only get one day off a week), and everyone gets a home cooked meal! (Including us because we usually eat out when he is working on the weekend).
Last weekend we decided to try this out (even though he’s not technically an upper level yet, the upper level on his team was on board). I made chicken spaghetti, Caesar salad, and garlic bread with chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
So, I’m going to share the chicken spaghetti recipe today, and then as I accumulate more meals that feed lots of people and travel well (because I have to take it all up to the hospital), I’ll share them here as a part of the Resident Chef series 🙂 And if you have any meals that would fit this profile, PLEASE let me know!! 🙂
This recipe is based on the Pioneer Woman’s version, but I tweak it a little. This is one of Steven’s favorite meals of all time, and his favorite pasta meal, he tells me. This can be made in stages, or all in one sitting. It can be made completely ahead and frozen, and then baked and served as well (it’s basically a unicorn!).
You will need:
- 1.5-2 pounds of chicken
- PW uses a whole chicken and pulls it all off the bone. I don’t typically have the time or the stomach for that, so I use fresh chicken breasts or tenderloins.
- 3 cups of dry spaghetti
- I break it into thirds. This is about 3/4 of a box. You can use the whole box if you want, but everything barely fits in my 9×13 Fiesta baker as is. 🙂
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 2 10 oz. cans of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 small purple onion (diced) (this should be about 1/4- 1/2 cup)
- 1 bell pepper (diced) (any color– sometimes I use a little from each different color just to make it fancy!) (this should be about 1/4- 1/2 cup)
- Lawry’s Season Salt– a few good shakes
- 3 cups of grated cheddar cheese
- 9×13 baking dish
- If we are eating this at home (and when I took it to the hospital), I use my Fiesta 9×13. When I’ve taken this to friends for meals for occasions, I use the deep disposable dish. The more depth you have, the better.
Cook your chicken.
Here’s a tip I picked up from Mix and Match Mama— if you are busy doing other things and want to shave some time off the cooking/assembly a little later on, throw all your chicken in the crock pot with a few inches of water or chicken broth and let it cook on its own for a few hours. Mine has auto settings, so I usually pick the High-4 Hours setting and let it switch to warm when it’s done unless I want it to take longer than that.
If you are doing everything in one fell swoop, you can boil your chicken on the stovetop. I did this the last time I made this, and it took about 30 minutes to get about 6 tenderloins cooked through. The bigger your chicken, the longer it will take to cook.
Once it is cooked through, take two forks and shred it into chunks.
Cook your spaghetti.
Just cook the broken pieces according to the package directions. Once finished, drain the water.
Dice your onions and bell pepper.
I do this while my chicken and spaghetti are cooking. I try to get them as small as I can so they aren’t as much of a hazard whenever you run into them in the finished product. Once they are diced, throw them into the bottom of your 9×13 baking dish.
Mix together the chicken broth and cream of mushroom soup, and then add in a few shakes of Lawry’s seasoning salt.
I wisk them together in a large measuring dish. This breaks up the soup and mixes the “sauce” together pretty well.
Pour cooked spaghetti in baking dish over pepper and onion. Add in chicken and two cups of cheddar cheese and stir this VERY CAREFULLY (things will want to spill over the edge). Once everything looks evenly distributed, pour in the broth/soup/seasoning mixture, and stir this EVEN MORE CAREFULLY to combine all the ingredients and let the “sauce” get mixed in.
** Note– you are more than welcome to mix all of this in a gigantic bowl and then transfer it to your baking dish. But I am not one to use more dishes than necessary because I don’t love doing dishes. This is totally your call– you do you. 🙂
Once everything is mixed, top with one thin layer of cheddar cheese (the remaining 1 cup). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the top layer of cheese is melty.
***The pictures above are from when I was making the actual one to take to the hospital, and I was running way behind, so I forgot to take a picture of the finished product before it left the kitchen, and it was dug into as soon as it arrived, so no final picture. Sorry!!
If you want to freeze this, you will do everything in the same order, but once you put on the top layer of cheese, you cover with foil and put it directly in the freezer. To heat, put it in a 350 degree oven with the foil on for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is heated through.
We typically eat this with a salad, or some type of vegetable and garlic bread. It is really easy to put together and it feeds an army! One day when I’ve got it all together, my goal is to make a few and put them in the freezer so they are totally ready when we want one. And one day I’ll get there! 🙂
And here’s a few pics of my favorite resident!
Even though he works almost every day, and for long hours, he tries to make the most of his time at home and we have fun! Medicine is a huge part of our life, but we try not to let it dictate our entire life (which is part of why I love taking them meals! I get to eat with him, and they get to not eat cafeteria food 😉 ).
And just for fun, this is one of my new favorites…
This adorable munchkin belongs to our good friends in our small group at church. She is the BEST baby, and sat in my lap without making a peep for about 30 minutes before this. Steven asked to take her, and she didn’t fuss at all, and enjoyed his silly faces (it looks like he’s frowning, but he was making funny faces at her). We love her and take every opportunity to snuggle her little self! (Steven even volunteered to babysit her later this month!! I’m so excited!)
I hope y’all try out this recipe, and if you have any questions, let me know! And please share any similar recipes if you have them! 🙂
Linked with Heather for Hello, Monday!