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Blue Ribbon Chicken Gratin

A pasta bake, loaded with chicken, ham, bacon, vegetables, and cheese will win a blue ribbon on any occasion!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 5 oz thin spaghetti or any pasta
  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts, cooked see cooking instructions below
  • 4 strips bacon, cut in pieces
  • 4 slices thick deli ham
  • 1/2 large sweet or yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 sweet yellow or red pepper, diced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 8 oz. Velveeta cheese,
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 1 oz grated Cheddar
  • 1 oz shaved Parmesan

Instructions
 

Poached Chicken

  • Place raw chicken in a 3 Qt saucepan with water to cover
  • Cover pan and poach chicken on medium low heat for 60-90 minutes
  • Remove chicken and drain, reserving broth for cooking pasta, and chop or shred chicken

Blue Ribbon Chicken Gratin

  • Bring a large pot of water, seasoned with 1 tsp of salt to a boil or use reserved chicken broth
  • Add spaghetti and cooked al dente {until just barely done} and drain
  • Cook bacon in skillet until crisp, remove to paper towels to drain
  • Saute onion and peppers in bacon fat until softened, about 5 minutes
  • Add ham to skillet and stir fry 2-3 minutes.
  • Add spinach to skillet and cover pan
  • After several minutes, remove cover and stir spinach down into vegetable mixture as it wilts
  • Add Velveeta, soup and cream, cooking and stirring for several minutes to incorporate and melt cheese
  • Season with salt and pepper and add chicken to sauce mixture in skillet and add 1/2 of the pasta
  • Stir well to combine, then add remaining pasta in increments, making sure the ratio of pasta to sauce remains very creamy. The casserole should be dense and very "wet."
  • Turn mixture into a greased 8" x 8" deep baking dish and top with Cheddar and Parmesan
  • Can be covered and refrigerated at this point for up to 36 hours before baking
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until hot and bubbling

Notes

I like to use thin spaghetti for this, but you can use any pasta you like
Keyword bacon, casserole, cheesy, chicken, do ahead, ham, pasta