Can I just tell you guys how much of a fan-girl I am of the Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond)?
Ok so don’t laugh but…I would put on her show while on the elliptical at the Y so that I’d stay on for the whole time I was supposed to. That is…before the Y switched to the
cheap affordable cable and we didn’t get the Food Network anymore.
The struggle is real, y’all.
One of my FAVORITE recipes she’s ever done is her famous Chicken Spaghetti. OMG it is an institution! And I’ve made it for my family plenty of times and they love it. I’ve made it for work potlucks and they love it. You know the only place where there is no love for that casserole? In my pouch! Because my pouch hates noodles. Yes all noodles. And no need to suggest your favorite noodle, I’ve tried enough of them to accept that noodles just don’t work for me.
But zoodles? Ah…they work like a charm!
So that’s what I’ve been eating for years. In fact, I love them so much that I made an entire book of zoodle recipes! (#NotSoShamelessPlug)
Now don’t ask me why I didn’t do this recipe for the book. I honestly can’t tell you. But I am making that right…right here, right now!
The original recipe is pretty simple, but I did deviate a bit. So after you have cut your zoodles, sprinkled them with salt, and let them drain of some of the excess water (I recommend a few hours in the fridge for this) you’re gonna either cook up some chicken (I used chicken breast tenderloins that I diced) or this recipe is great for leftover rotisserie chicken. I added my zoodles to a big bowl with diced green, orange and yellow peppers, chopped onions and sliced pimentos.
I also made a few other modifications to the original recipe. I use ground chipotle pepper instead of cayenne pepper and a bit of smoked paprika. Since the zoodles had already been salted, I didn’t add any additional salt.
And since they are…well…zoodles…I omitted the milk in the recipe because the zoodles added enough liquid to do what it needed to do. Then I transferred it all to a 9 x 13 casserole dish and popped it into a 350 degree pre-heated oven.
But not before adding some yummy shredded cheese! (Never forget the cheese…never…)
And the result smelled wonderful. Tasted wonderful. But…
It released so much liquid, even though I used ALL my zoodle liquid removal tricks! The struggle with zoodles is so real! I salted and drained them a whole 24 hours before cooking and spun them in a salad spinner and they still released a bunch of water in the finished product. This, of course, is owing to the fact that zucchini are 90-some percent water! So they always have more water to give, Foodies. Remember that.
At any rate, I ended up draining some of the water off the casserole mid-way in and let the oven take care of some of the rest by leaving it uncovered the entire time I cooked. In retrospect I might have used two cans of cream soup to offset the water. Maybe I will next time!
So far as flavor, it was legit! Now since I made changes, it may not taste exactly like Ree’s Chicken Spaghetti but the flavor is true to the recipe I have been making all this time – so woot!