Chicken Spaghetti Mac and Cheese tastes just like macaroni and cheese, but has chicken and tomatoes and uses spaghetti noodles! You will surely love my Homemade Crab Macaroni and Cheese, too!
CHICKEN SPAGHETTI MAC AND CHEESE?
It was hard to wrap my mind around the “mac and cheese” title as I used spaghetti noodles instead of macaroni noodles. (And yes, it was originally supposed to be called Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti.) But that first bite!!! I knew immediately what it reminded me of and that was creamy macaroni and cheese. So that is how this oddly named recipe was created! I hope you will forgive the name and simply enjoy this dish!
MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS
Noodles: As I stated above, we used spaghetti noodles rather than macaroni noodles in this dish. However, you could certainly use pasta you have on hand or make your own homemade pasta!
Cheese: We used cream cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese for the cheese sauce. This will be the cheesiest dish you could ask for! Mild cheddar cheese would also work.
Chicken: I opted for rotisserie chicken as I like the convenience of it. However, you can use whatever chicken you have on hand, like cooked breasts or thighs.
Tomatoes: I used a can of diced tomatoes, drained. You could also use a can of tomatoes with chilis for a little bit of a kick. Or, add fresh tomatoes to the mix.
CAN I MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! You can put everything together into the baking dish. Then, cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to bake it, remove the cover and bake. You may need to add a couple of minutes to the baking time.
CAN I FREEZE CHICKEN SPAGHETTI MAC AND CHEESE?
Yes! It’s best to freeze this dish before baking. Cover the dish (I like using a disposable pan like an aluminum foil dish for storage). Place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before placing it in the oven.
CAN I REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF CHEESE?
This recipe has LOTS of cheese, so yes, you could reduce the amount if preferred. I would suggest reducing the amount of sharp cheddar cheese by one cup.
- 16 ounces spaghetti noodles, cooked al dente according to package instructions
- ½ cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (62.5g) all-purpose flour
- 3 cups (735g) whole milk, warmed (about 100°F)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 4 cups (452g) sharp cheddar, shredded and divided
- 1 cup (113g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups (420g) rotisserie chicken, shredded and chopped
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture thickens and is fully incorporated. (You are creating a roux.)
Remove from heat and gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly.
Return the pan to the heat, whisk another 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
Add the salt, garlic powder, ground mustard, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
Add the cream cheese, 3 cups of sharp cheddar, and mozzarella. Stir to melt.
In a large bowl, add cooked noodles, cheese sauce, chicken, diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese.
Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly.
Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve hot.