Sunday, December 7, 2008

Make Ahead Meal

I didn't pick this recipe because it's a make ahead meal, but instead, it just looked tasty. Every month, I pick up a copy of Cooking Light. I love looking through the magazine and picking out the recipes I want to save. This one happens to be from the November edition. It came from an article about a church group that pre-makes and freezes meals to take to parishioners who have lost a relative or had a new baby. The picture of this recipe looked very tasty, which was what made me dog-ear the page.

Of course, my version of it didn't turn out nearly so pretty. Maybe it was because I didn't have an 8x8 pan to bake it in. Maybe because the editors at Cooking Light have a job to make the food look pretty. Whatever the reason, at least it tasted good.

It felt strange to me not to pre-cook the pasta noodles. But, while the casserole is baking, it will cook the pasta in the soup and broth mixture. Don't worry, it will turn out okay. I followed the recipe exactly how it is written. I even have an extra pan of this stuff in the fridge for later in the week when I need a hot dinner. I suppose you could just bake the whole thing in a huge casserole dish, but that's entirely up to you.

I can't recall ever making a casserole that has diced celery in it, but surprisingly, it adds a really nice crunch and texture to the dish. This has a lot of veggies in it, so you don't have to guilty for eating it. After all, it is from Cooking Light. It's LIGHT.

Again, the picture didn't turn out very good, but then mine never do. Trust me, it tasted good. Paula Deen has a term for when food tastes really good but doesn't look so pretty: Grub. So, enjoy my grub, er, Cooking Light's grub.

Aunt Liz's Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
from: Cooking Light

2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
2 cups uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces (about 7 ounces)
1 cup (1/4-inch thick) slices celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cans (10.75 oz) condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine broth, salt, pepper, and soup in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add soup mixture to chicken mixture; toss. Divide mixture evenly between 2 (8-inch) square or (2-quart) baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over each casserole. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

To bake a frozen casserole, covered, for 55 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

I would just like to say that yes, I have lost weight by eating this way. Even though the food doesn't photograph pretty, it tastes good. So, neener neener neener. I am down 11.5 pounds so far.


Dale said...

Hi, this casserole looks delicious and I am so glad it is light! We don't like mushrooms. How do you think it would be with 98% cream of chicken soup instead of mushroom? Thanks. And congratulations on your weight loss!

Rachel said...

Hi Dale! Thanks for the comment. I think the casserole would be great with cream of chicken in place of the mushroom. You can't taste the mushrooms anyways. I say go for it!

Dale said...

Thanks for answering so quickly. I am trying to get motivated by your weight loss success and your tasty light meals from your blog. I think I am going to try the casserole and also the chicken parmesan! Thanks for posting all this good stuff!