My mother-in-law is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. John’s favorite meal, the one he requests every year for his birthday, is his mother’s chicken spaghetti. Over the years I’ve cherished the handwritten recipe I scrawled down over a hurried phone conversation. I missed a few steps in the process and have had to adjust slightly throughout the years to compensate. We’ve gotten it as close as we’re going to, to her original recipe.
This is Hope writing, by the way. I decided it was my turn to step in the kitchen and let John work on other things, like our two broken down cars, for his birthday. He’s pretty spectacular and I’m happy to have him home celebrating with us this year.
This recipe is perfect for meal prep. Every pregnancy I have stocked the freezer full of Grandma’s Chicken Spaghetti for easy meals after bringing home the new addition. I’ve also used it in preparation for John’s homecomings (after a year of deployment it’s necessary to stock the fridge full of favorites) and for while I’m away at St. Jude with our daughter so that the rest of the family has some easy delicious meals ready to go.
For our family of 5, this makes two meals with the addition of a side salad. Since it always tastes better when it sits I make it a day ahead of time, put half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer.
Going off of the original this recipe takes nearly all day to make. I’ve streamlined the beginning process for you in our Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe. This makes a delicious whole chicken and broth with less mess and less time. If you don’t have an Instant Pot my first recommendation is to get one, but if that’s not an option I’ve included the longer method in the recipe below.
Once you’ve prepared and deboned the chicken it’s time to start the sauce.
Gather your ingredients. I’ve listed the canned variety in the recipe card but fresh produce amps up the flavor tremendously. Always use fresh when available.
You will need:
- chicken broth
- parsley flakes
- celery, diced
- bell pepper, diced
- onion, diced
- garlic cloves, minced
- mushrooms, sliced
- diced tomatoes
- tomato paste
- Worcester sauce
- red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper
- spaghetti noodles
In a large pot bring 1 1/2 cups broth (reserved from making the chicken), a bay leaf, parsley flakes, onion, celery, and bell pepper to a light boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
Add shredded chicken and all other ingredients (except spaghetti noodles) and simmer for another 20 min.
Here’s where I divide it into two dishes, one for the freezer and one for the fridge. I do not add the noodles yet. The noodles are better made right before serving. They have a tendency to get mushy after freezing.
Let the chicken spaghetti sauce cool to room temp before putting in the fridge and/or freezer. This will help eliminate freezer damage and shattered dishes. I love using glass pyrex dishes. We’re working on transferring our kitchen and home into a more environmentally friendly atmosphere. Having quality dishes that are reusable is one small step towards this goal. It’s a slow process, more expensive upfront but a money saver in the long run. When all my pyrex is in use a Freezer quality Ziploc works just find. I’ve found these hands free baggy racks helpful in filling them and reducing the mess on my kitchen counters.
When you’re ready for dinner reheat the chicken spaghetti sauce for 4 minutes in the microwave (if using a glass dish let it come to room temperature first or you will shatter the glass). Boil your noodles, toss in a big bowl with the sauce and serve. Our favorite sides to add to this meal are a side salad and garlic bread.
Grandma’s Chicken Spaghetti
- Whole Chicken, @ 5lbs
- Onion, celery, carrots roughly chopped
- bay leaf
- 4 quarts
- reserve 1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
- 3 Tbsp Parsley, fresh (or 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes)
- 2 stocks Celery, diced
- Bell Pepper, diced
- Med. Onion, diced
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 16 oz Diced Tomatoes
- 5.5 oz Tomato Paste
- 3 Tbsp Worcester Sauce
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 6.5 oz can Mushrooms
- salt & pepper to taste
- dash of Red Pepper Flakes
- 8 oz cooked Spaghetti (can use spaghetti squash or GF noodles for GF option)
- Put chicken, chopped onion, celery, carrots, and bay leaf in a large pot. Cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 hour and 20 min or until the meat is white and juices run clear. You can reduce time significantly by making the Instant Pot Whole Chicken instead.
- Let chicken cool. Remove the chicken from the bone (save bones for bone broth) and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the broth for the recipe.
- Place 1 1/2 cups of broth in a large pot with a bay leaf, parsley, diced onion, celery, and bell pepper. Simmer for 30 min. Remove bay leaf.
- Add all other ingredients, except spaghetti noodles, and cook at medium-low heat for 20 min. Stir often.
- Add cooked spaghetti and enjoy.
Do you have a favorite recipe from your childhood?