There’s nearly as many recipes for chicken spaghetti as there is King ranch chicken. Once again, I put the best of my findings together for a dish of my own. I expect you to do the same.

The carrot cake I’ve made for over 20 years has been replaced by today’s version. My old recipe is quite delicious, but I like this one better. It’s simpler, easier to make and gets rave reviews. I confess to skimping on the cinnamon measurements in the cake and frosting. I’ll give you the original amounts. You can skimp or skimp not. It’s your cake.

I baked part of the batter in small, one serving size pans. Drizzle with caramel sauce or if you prefer orange sauce.

You can use the cinnamon frosting on any cake or cupcake recipe with ingredients that love cinnamon, butter and really smooth goodness. Be sure to beat the frosting til it’s very light.

For one who skimps the cinnamon in every recipe, I’ve surely been using it a lot lately. Pumpkin spice latte was a real winner and even enjoyed by some folks who don’t drink coffee.

I confess that I order a Vietnamese cinnamon from Penzeys spices. It is rich in flavor without the bite I dislike in grocery store varieties.

Chicken Spaghetti

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced onion

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, optional

2 tablespoons butter

8 ounces cut spaghetti

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 1/2 cups Mexican cheese blend

3 cups cooked chicken in bite size pieces

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with Pam. Cook chicken in chicken broth or water til done. Cool, then cube or shred. Cover and set aside. Cook spaghetti al dente in chicken broth. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter. Cook celery, onion, bell pepper and mushrooms til there’s a little color on the mushrooms. If you omit the mushrooms, cook the vegetables until tender. Combine all ingredients. Spoon into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake until bubbly and cheese is golden.
  • If you cook the chicken in water, add two of teaspoons of bouillon and two tablespoons of butter. All bouillon is mostly salt, but I use a product called Better Than Bouillon, and it is. It’s paste in a jar usually near all the other salty seasonings. It is about 200 milligrams less salt per teaspoon.

Pumpkin spice latte

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup brewed coffee

2 tablespoons half and half

2 teaspoons sugar, optional

Whipped cream

Nutmeg

In a small, heavy saucepan, whisk together milk, puree, brown sugar, vanilla and spice. Over medium heat, heat mixture until the sugar dissolves. Add coffee, half and half and one teaspoon sugar, stir. Taste. Add another teaspoon sugar if desired. Top with whipped cream and a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. Makes two servings.

Carrot Cake

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil, scant

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups shredded carrots

8 ounces pineapple, well drained

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three nine-inch cake pans with Baker’s Joy. Line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Spray liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth.

Combine the two mixtures. Stir only until combined. Fold in coconut, pecans, pineapple and carrots. Divide equally between prepared pans. (About one pound, three ounces each) Bake 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans three minutes or so. Cool completely on a wire rack. Frost as desired.

Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

1 cup very soft butter

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Beat butter until light. Gradually add powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add vanilla, then milk as needed. Beat until light and fluffy.

Miss Olivia Sipe is the owner of Miss Olivia’s Table in Maryville.

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