I love recipes. I subscribe to Kraft’s food and family, I read The Pioneer Woman every day (or every day she posts), and I watch 30 Minute Meals on the days I get home early enough and Annalyn isn’t cranky. I even take notes at my Weight Watchers meetings and write down their healthy recipes.
And I put all the recipes I find – online, in magazines, on TV or wherever – in an binder formerly known as a photo album.
A binder that sits in my pantry, next to my handful of cookbooks and unopened except for the occasions I pull it out to double check the ingredients or quantities in the recipes I’ve used a hundred times.
See, I have a few dishes that I can cook well. Lasagna, cheesy potatoes, broccoli and rice casserole, chocolate éclair dessert, baked mostaciolli, tortilla rolls. I can also make a mean pan of brownies from the store-brand box mix, but that’s another story. The problem – aside from the calorie and point count of those dishes – is that I don’t venture out. I save new recipes, but I don’t try them. I want to. But I don’t.
And that is why I’m so excited to tell you that not only did I try a new recipe, but I even altered it to make it better/to avoid making another trip to the store.
Last fall, after Annalyn came home from the hospital, several friends brought us meals. My friend Katie, who now lives in Virginia, actually had her mother-in-law bring us dinner one night! Because she knows how much our family loves cheese (I blame my dairy addiction on a childhood allergy that required a sad diet without pizza or tacos or anything dairy.), she asked her mom-in-law to make one of their family favorites, chicken spaghetti.
I don’t actually know the name of the dish, but “chicken spaghetti” is what Pioneer Woman called it on her site, although her recipe didn’t seem exactly the same as the one we had last fall. But it looked close enough, so I thought I’d try it. After all, even Mark liked the dish – and he’s a picky eater (and to be honest, one of the reasons I don’t often try new things)!
Since I think I’m making a short story long here, I’ll cut to the chase. I changed the ingredients to fit what I already had on hand, and ended up with a dish that if not exactly like what Katie’s mother-in-law makes, is pretty darn close. And we loved it! Loved it a little too much, actually, since we both had second helpings! (Surely this doesn’t have anything to do with my 1-pound weight gain two days later at my WW weigh-in??)
So without further ado (oh, how I love my ado), here’s MY new recipe:
Spicy Chicken Spaghetti
4 chicken breasts, chopped
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
¼ cup diced onion
1 can Rotel
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the chicken in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Season with chili powder and garlic powder. Boil the spaghetti in the broth and some water, then drain. Combine chicken, spaghetti, soup, 2 cups of cheese, onion and Rotel. Pour into casserole dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake for 30 minutes.
Next time, I’ll probably add a little more chicken, chopped more finely, a bit more spaghetti and another can of soup. Plus, I’ll cook the onion with the chicken – I prefer my casserole onions not to crunch, thank you very much. And I’ll have to use a bigger pan and feed more people…or, more probable, I’ll divide into two dishes and freeze one for later.
And that, my friends, is the story of that one time when I actually cooked something new. Have you tried anything new lately?
Edited to add: Linking this up to carnivals about two and a half years after first writing it, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in my sense of cooking adventure. I’ve gone from rarely trying anything new to trying new recipes a few times each month! Okay, so that’s not exactly daring, but for me, it’s a vast improvement!
This post will be linked to Mouthwatering Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, 33 Shades of Green, Foodie Friday, Friday Firsts and Food on Fridays.
Hooray for trying something new! Sounds delicious. The way this story goes at our house is that I get all the cookbooks out at once, make a massive grocery list and menus for about 2 weeks, try new things for a couple of weeks and then completely forget where the kitchen is for the next four.
Thanks for posting your recipe–I’m going to try it soon! I’m all for trying new things…just so long as someone else tries it out first and can attest to it working out well! ;)
Kimberly – it’s a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. Rotel is the name brand. (www.ro-tel.com)
Amy – I’m working on a massive list right now because I’ve decided to give once-a-month cooking a try. In moderation, though. I couldn’t really handle actually cooking a whole month of meals at once.
Amber – let me know how yours turns out! You might do less cheese, because it was a bit much even for me (and I do love my cheese!).
good for you for trying something new, photo! i never seem to try any new recipes either… but i am guilty of going to the store to get a bunch of “staples” that i never use. sigh… :(
I’m making something similar tonight. :) I can’t wait! :) Love that this has an extra kick to it!
This is the time of year for experimenting! I think we are all tired of the old stand-by meals. This looks like great!
Good point. Winter is long and dreary – and a new, warm meal is a great pick-me-up!
I gather new recipes the same way – I have so many I don’t think I’ll ever be able to try them all! I love the addition of Rotel to the recipe; there are several cans in my pantry and this would be a great way to use them!
This looks like a fun and good rendition of chicken spaghetti. Joni
YoYour recipe sounds wonderful so I have copied it and made a few tweaks and will try it soon. First tweak: I would hate to throw out the chicken broth with the spaghetti water, so I will add a chicken bouillon cube to the soup. Next tweak: The brand Rotel is new to me until I looked it up, so I will substitute a can of diced tomatoes and a small can or green chilies. You did not mention the amount of chili powder or garlic powder so I will use 1/2 tsp each and hope that is enough.
Haha how funny! I’m glad you linked this old post up! I’m also amazed when I look back. There are posts at the beginning when I was SOOO excited over some trivial things and now I’m like “uh.. no big deal, Christina, chill.”
Well, I’m so glad to have you join Food on Fridays with this great new recipe! It looks yummy–might be a great thing to take to a pitch-in, too.
Thanks for the directions (nice photo, too!).