Lightened Chicken Rotel

Chicken rotel is one of my favorite comfort foods.  It is addictive and wonderful and disappears at the speed of light in our house.  So much so that the first four times I made it, I didn’t get a picture made.  Well, I’ve been on a restricted calorie diet this last week or so as I’ve geared up for another round of The Biggest Loser on Wii, which meant that I was starving and had fewer calories to use toward filling me up.  And naturally I was really, REALLY craving chicken rotel. So I set out to lighten up my original version to fit in my calorie restrictions, while still giving me the ridiculously huge portion that I expect with this dish.  The original version worked out to 5 servings at 644 calories, 17 grams of fat.  This version makes 4 GIANT servings at 607 calories and 15.75 grams of fat.  The secret?  Load it up with veggies, cut down a bit on the liquid, and cut down on the pasta, but do it in a sneaky way that picky eaters won’t notice.  When I served this to my husband (i.e. Mr. Picky), he said “This is better than it was last time.  What did you do different?”  That’s right!  You heard it here!  Mr. I Don’t Like Vegetables LIKED THE VEGGIED UP VERSION BETTER!  Somebody contact CNN!


  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (original calls for cream of mushroom, but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (that would be the sneakiest edition which allows you to cut down on the pasta)
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 pound 2% Velveeta, cut into cubes
  • 4 oz. mushrooms
  • 6 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 can of Rotel, undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. We’ll start with the spaghetti squash in case you’ve never made it before.  This is a good step to do the night before or when you’re home for lunch.  You’ll need a 2-3 pounder.
  2. Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Put it in a 2.5-3 quart casserole dish, cut side up, with 1/4 cup of water, and microwave, covered, for 12 minutes.
  4. Allow to steam, covered once it’s cooked, for another 5 minutes.
  5. It’ll probably need to cool for another 15-20 minutes before you can handle it to comb out the strands.
  6. Place the strands in a strainer over a bowl and leave in the fridge for several hours to drain.
  7. At this point you can reserve it for recipes for anything.  Be sure you have 2 cups for this recipe.
  8. When you’re ready to cook the rest of the casserole, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.
  9. Salt and pepper the chicken lightly.
  10. Saute the chicken until no longer pink.
  11. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent.
  12. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.
  13. Add the mushrooms, peas, spaghetti squash, cream of chicken soup, Worcestershire sauce and Rotel.  Stir until well combined.
  14. Reduce heat to medium low.
  15. Add the Velveeta and stir until melted.
  16. Drain the spaghetti and add to the skillet.
  17. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  18. Place a 3 quart baking dish on a cookie sheet (to catch drips).
  19. Pour the contents of the skillet in and bake for 30 minutes.

Printable version.

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