This meal uses simple and inexpensive ingredients. I spent less than $1 per person. The process is pretty easy too.
This recipe makes enough to feed 100 people, and it is easy to adjust to the size of your crowd. It tastes better the next day, too, and everyone loves it. That makes it one of my favorite meals.
Here are the ingredients you will need:
How to make the chicken:
I used 2 large aluminum, full-sized steam pans (20.75″ x 12.81″ x 3.8″). I buy them at Sam’s club in bulk. They are very sturdy and are the best price I have found.
I bought chicken at Aldi for less than $2 a pound. I bought three packages, each roughly 10 pounds.
Your herbs are going to coat the chicken. So I mix them in a bowl. Then I cover the chicken entirely on both sides. These seasonings are where all the flavor comes from, so don’t skimp on the coating.
Add one can of roasted peppers to each pan. I just sprinkled mine right over the top of the chicken.
Cook the chicken in a 400-degree oven for about 40-50 minutes, until the meat thermometer reads 160. You want the oven to be sweltering. Cooking meat at high temperatures locks the juices in and keeps your meat very tender and juicy. You also do not want to overcook your chicken. Be sure to get a meat thermometer if you don’t have one. They are essential cooking tools. You don’t want to do all this work just to have a chicken that tastes like you’re eating a shoe.
While the chicken is cooking, you can cook the macaroni noodles. I have a large stockpot that I use for both the noodles and the sauce we will make last.
When the chicken cools, you want to cut it into strips or chunks.
I slice the chicken and put it right back into those beautiful juices. Those juices will make this dish stay creamy throughout the process, as well as keeping that tremendous flavor that those herbs put out.
Now you add the cooked noodles and uncooked spinach. The spinach will cook with the hot sauce and when you reheat this to serve it.
How to make the sauce:
For this recipe, we will ditch the béchamel and make our sauce with 3 simple ingredients- cream cheese, milk, and grated parmesan and romano cheeses. I used the canned kind, but the best is to use fresh. Sam’s club sells this fantastic cheese that has large shredded pieces of asiago, romano, and parmesan mixed. It’s really worth the extra money, in my opinion. But going to Sam’s is not always easy for me, and it’s still really delicious without it. I got no complaints from those that ate this meal. Everyone wanted the recipe.
So in the same large pot that I cooked my noodles, I put all the cream cheese and all the milk. I cooked it down until all the cream cheese melted. Watch it closely, so it doesn’t burn. The milk burns easily. Once the mixture is smooth, I removed it from the heat and added all the parmesan/romano cheese. When making cheese sauces, it’s best to not add the cheese to the pan while it’s on the heat. It will scorch immediately. Blocked cheese like cream cheese and Velveeta are different and can withstand the heat. Just keep your eye on them.
Then I put my pot in between the two pans of mixed chicken ingredients. I added the sauce about 5-6 large spoonfuls at a time. You want it to be distributed evenly. I added, then stirred, then added, then stirred, then added, then stirred…
The finished dish looks and tastes so amazing. Everyone will want to know how you did it.
If you are serving it that day or the next, you want to cook it until it’s bubbly. Mine was cold when I put it in the oven, so it cooked about 40 minutes, and I stirred it pretty often.