I Tried Ree Drummond’s Famous “Chicken Spaghetti” and I Get Why It Has Hundreds of Rave Reviews
Ree Drummond may have surprised her friends and family back when she first married her cattle rancher husband, Ladd, and moved to his home in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, but it comes as no surprise that she settled brilliantly into his lifestyle. At the time, the Oklahoma native may have been the last person any of her friends expected to pick up and move to the country, but Drummond seemed to settle in quite naturally over the years. She eventually earned the nickname Pioneer Woman from a neighbor during a four-month bout of having no running water in their home, leaving Drummond to haul in buckets of water from outside just to do the dishes and cook.
To me, Drummond’s do-it-yourself work ethic and natural ability to roll with the punches is exactly what makes her recipes so approachable. Nothing is too flashy or over-the-top — just straight no-nonsense delicious recipes designed to stick to your ribs. And after recently stumbling upon Drummond’s recipe for chicken spaghetti, I was sure that I had just found the perfect introduction for myself to the cuisine of the infamous Pioneer Woman.
How to Make the Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti
There are a few steps to this recipe, but nothing too wild so it all should come together fairly easily. Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, and prepare your chicken to be tossed inside. Boil the chicken for a few minutes, then return the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes.
When ready, remove the chicken from the water and set aside to allow it to cool. Keep at least 2 cups of the chicken cooking broth from the pot as well. When the chicken is cool, remove the skin and bones, picking out the meat until you have about 2 generous cups.
Next, cook the spaghetti until al dente using the same chicken cooking broth, making sure not to overcook. Once the spaghetti is cooked, use a large bowl to combine it with the chicken, cream of mushroom soup, cheese, green and red peppers, onions, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top, then stir in some leftover chicken cooking broth. When your mixture is well-combined, place it inside of a casserole pan and cover with the remaining cup of shredded cheese. Bake for 45 minutes at 350°F or until bubbly.
My Honest Review of the Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti
Right off the bat, this recipe made my entire apartment smell delicious. There is something about the smell of cream of mushroom soup that just fully activates my appetite, and throughout the whole baking process I was overly giddy in anticipation of that first bite. I will say that it felt almost sacrilegious to break the spaghetti into 2-inch pieces before cooking, and the entire time I felt as though at any moment The Pasta Queen would jump out and lecture me for it.
My only gripe would be that I feel this recipe is a little under-seasoned. Maybe it was my fault for not adding enough during the prep, or if it’s just missing some key flavors that would really kick it up a notch. Because of this, I felt that the peppers and onions seemed to overpower the other flavors, which isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case was more of a personal preference for me. I would definitely recommend this recipe to someone looking for a good, hearty meal (although I would encourage you to experiment with the ingredients and make it your own). No offense to the Pioneer Woman — we just all have our preferences.
Two Tips for Making the Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti
- If the cheese starts to get overcooked, cover with foil: During the last 15 minutes or so of the baking process, check in on your casserole to make sure that the cheese is not overcooking and burning. If your cheese is showing signs of this, cover the casserole with foil for the remaining cook time.
- Store in the freezer for up to six months before baking: One of the standout features of this recipe is its ability to be prepared ahead of time and stored in the freezer until you need it. In the freezer this casserole can last up to six months before baking, or up to two days if being stored in the refrigerator. In any case, make sure to cover tightly with a lid or foil.