No-MSG Victory of the Day

Monday, April 14, 2008

Learning about all of the covert ways that MSG and it's baddy cat cousin Glutamate make it's way into our food has sure been a bummer. One of the biggest disappointments was my discovery that my feel-good "No MSG added" chicken broth powder still had the junk in it. Rats! What's a girl to do??

I can be somewhat challenging to find a chicken broth substitute that doesn't have MSG or glutamates in it. At Walmart all I found had problem ingredients in it. But at Kroger I hit the jackpot with Imagine brand Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. I bought the low sodium version (which still has a lot, but it's better than the regular). You'll have to check the ingredients at your own store, because a lot of products are manufactured at more than one place, so they might not be 100% the same everywhere. (Feel free to leave a comment and let us know)

I wanted to make my healthier version of The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, but to do that I would have to make my healthy version of canned cream soups. So....I had to get creative.

The recipe I used to use features the "no msg added" chicken broth powder. I wanted to experiment with the organic broth instead.'s what I came up with:

Melt one and a half sticks of real butter on medium-low heat.

Once melted, add 3/4 cup whole wheat flour. Stir with whisk until well blended, and let it cook a bit until it gets bubbly.

Then I added two cups of the organic chicken broth, plus four cups of Horizons whole milk that had been pre-heated.

After that I just stirred with the whisk for about 20 minutes while reading a magazine and chatting with my daughter.

It came out great!

From there I made my version of the casserole. Here's what I did:

Supermom's Healthier Chicken Spaghetti

3 cups cooked chicken--cubed or shredded (I always cook my chicken ahead of time in the crock pot. Just buy a big bunch of chicken breasts on sale and throw 'em all in the crock on low in the morning, all done by evening. Refrigerate or freeze.)

2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I learned that there are glutamates in the pre-shredded cheese, so once I use up the supply I have on hand, I am either going to start buying bricks of cheese and shredding them with my food processor, or learning to make my own. Haven't crossed that bridge yet.)

half a sweet onion--chopped (throw it in the food processor with the chicken. Easy!)

about a pound of whole wheat spaghetti--cooked (break it up into smallish pieces to make stirring and serving a little easier) (even if you normally hate whole wheat pasta, try it! you won't even notice the taste in this casserole)

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste

Some more cheese to sprinkle on the top (if you like cheese overkill)

And maybe 2 cups of the canned cream soup alternative.

Optional: Feel like a better mom by adding in some frozen corn and/or peas and/or broccoli.


This is super easy. Just mix up everything except for the cheese that goes on top. Start with all of the dry ingredients, then add the cream soup stuff and stir it all together (I use a really big bowl so that I can stir with wild, reckless abandon) until it seems like you've got enough to make a nice, creamy casserole.

Stick it all in a no-stick sprayed 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle that extra cheese on top. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Or, if you just made all of the ingredients and they are already hot, it only takes about 20 minutes to heat it through. Then it's time to eat. :) Yum!

I often make extra spaghetti during some other meal and then use the leftovers to make this casserole.

Now I have one and a half quart jars of the cream soup alternative in the fridge, so that will make other meals very easy for the next week or two.

Enjoy! (I'm going to eat now....)

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