I am officially an idiot.

I seriously should not be allowed to operate a stove. Or a microwave. And especially not a crock pot.

It’s the new year you know, so I have been trying to get better about cooking dinner, bringing my lunch to work (although I started the new year off right by going to BW3 today), saving money, all that. So last night I did a google search to see what I could throw into the crock pot this morning, using ingredients I had on hand.

Eventually, I came across this, a recipe for slow cooker spaghetti chicken. The reviews were pretty good, and one of the only negative ones said it was “great for teenagers but not empty nesters who want something better.” I figured it would be perfect for us, since my pallet reflects the sophistication of a 15-year-old.

Let me show you the recipe so you can identify all the things I did wrong.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Chicken (from allrecipes.com)
* 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti, cooked and drained
* 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
* 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
* 8 ounces processed cheese food
* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – boiled and cut into bite-size pieces
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
2. Put chicken soup, mushroom soup, tomatoes with green chile peppers and cheese in slow cooker over medium heat. Stir together and cook until cheese has melted.
3. Stir cooked chicken and spaghetti into cheese mixture and heat through. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 40 minutes.

After looking at this again, it’s worse than I thought. See those directions up there? I basically skipped 1-3. Oops. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Before omitting all of the steps required to make the dish, I also screwed with the ingredients. The recipe says “1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti, cooked and drained.” Boiling the noodles seemed like an awfully lot of trouble to go through, so I did a little google search and found something that said it was ok to put uncooked pasta into a crock pot. Score! So, instead of using “1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti, cooked and drained,” I used 1 (13.25 ounce) package (whole wheat) spaghetti, uncooked and therefore undrained. I didn’t have “8 ounces processed cheese food” but I did have 4 slices of American cheese. Hey, the less processed cheese food the better, right? And finally, the “4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – boiled and cut into bite-size pieces.” Yeah. Boiling noodles was too much trouble, I certainly wasn’t about to boil the chicken. Cooking food is what the crock pot is for! So instead, I used 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, straight from the freezer and frozen solid.

So back to the directions. Let me refresh your memory.
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
2. Put chicken soup, mushroom soup, tomatoes with green chile peppers and cheese in slow cooker over medium heat. Stir together and cook until cheese has melted.
3. Stir cooked chicken and spaghetti into cheese mixture and heat through. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 40 minutes.

Yeah. I did none of those things. I broke my dry, uncooked and undrained spaghetti noodles in half and threw them in the pot. I then threw in the frozen chicken breasts and added the can of diced tomatoes. I shook the various congealed soups out of their can and right into the pot, and covered the creation with some Kraft singles. Then I put the lid on, set it too cook on low for six hours (what?? that’s only 5 hours and 20 minutes more than the recipe said!) and waltzed out the door to work feeling pretty domestic.

You’ll never believe this, but it didn’t work.

When I got home, this is what I found.
crock pot mess 1

Doesn’t that look good??

It was awful. The chicken-soup-cheese part didn’t look so bad, but the noodles were a disaster. They were hard and stuck together and completely charred. Here’s a closer look.
crock pot mess 2

Needless to say, we didn’t eat it for dinner. Instead, I went to Subway and let the sandwich artists create our meal. I should really leave these things to the professionals.

Cooking FAIL.

Post to Twitter


  1. Oh.My.gosh. Emily! That’s the worst looking thing I’ve ever seen! It looks more like “food poisoning casserole” than spaghetti chicken. At least it made for a good post!

  2. Did you do this on purpose to have a blog post? Seriously, dude. I am going to nominate you for next season of “The Worst Cooks in America” on Food Network.

  3. Em, that is without a doubt the scariest mess I have EVER seen. Bon appetit!

  4. Whoa.

    And here I was cringing because someone on twitter didn’t know what a garlic clove looked like.

    I’m sensing a reality show in your future.

  5. Clearly, that is a terrible recipe. Not your fault. Everybody knows that if we want a slow cooker recipe, then we want everything to cook in the slow cooker. Duh. Stupid recipe.

  6. wow- that’s impressive!

    I think one has to have a certain genetic predisposition to using the crockpot. No matter what I try, I have yet to make anything edible in my crockpot. Crockpot days ALWAYS end up as Pizza Hut days. πŸ™

  7. Wow. Words fail me.

    Mental note: gift cards to fine dining venues such as Papa Johns, Subway, and any Mexican joint in a 10 mile radius would be an EXCELLENT gift choice for the Berry family.


    Keep trying!

    • Mare, you laugh, but I always tell people that the gift card to Papa John’s you and Andy sent us from IL when Kate was born was the best baby present we received!

  8. This cracked me UP! Kraft singles!? Heck yes!

  9. I think this qualifies as a Domestic Debacle πŸ™‚ You win for the week.

  10. This is why I have chipotle saved in my favorites online and on speed dial in my cell phone.

  11. Marianne– Emily has told me REPEATEDLY that the gift card you sent was the best gift she has ever received. Not even kidding!

  12. Don’t give up! The invention of the Crock Pot was my cooking lifesaver. The recipe you used could be modified slightly and made into an awesome Crock Pot recipe. It would require maybe an additional 15 minutes of prep time to server, once the Crock Pot time is complete but I’d be willing to bet it would be very worth that 15 minutes. I think I may give it a try! Here’s what I’m going to do

    I’m going to mix up the soups and tomatoes. I’m going to add to this about 1/2 cup of milk. Then I’m going to put this in the crock pot and top it with the cubed chicken breast. (I’ll omit the cheese for now) I’m going to let all that cook while I’m at the office. When I get home I’ll boil the noodles separate from chicken/soup mixture. Boiling noodles takes about 15 minutes … just enough time to make some garlic toast. When the noodles are done I’ll drain them, and add them to the crock pot chicken soup mixture. When I dish out servings I’ll sprinkle each plate with some shredded mozzarella cheese … add a slice of garlic toast and call it dinner.
    It may take a little more work but I think it will be well worth the extra 15 minutes.
    I’ll let you know how it turns out πŸ™‚

  13. When I’m looking for a crockpot recipe I always check out:
    She’s done a great job of telling you what the important steps are. Everything I’ve made from her website (she also has a book) has turned out well. I think crockpots should be used for cooking – not just for keeping warm. Better luck next time.

  14. Yes, the crockpot can be a tricky appliance. I have learned you do need some liquid in it so everything doesn’t burn and stick. I am shocked how badly this recipe burned and turned black! Some people say you can put frozen meat into the slow cooker, but I never have. It could still be a good recipe…

  15. Ouch!


  16. That is just plain wrong!

  17. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who can burn food in the crock pot πŸ™‚ Love it!

  18. Um, I’m speechless! I think it is time for an OAMM day. stat.

  19. WOW

    I’m kinda speechless πŸ˜‰ Well, through the groans and giggles.
    Poor Emily.

  20. I don’t know how to feel.
    Relieved that it wasn’t me?

  21. Oh Emily….wow. Did you hear of that Food Network show, Worst Cooks in America? Just kidding!! It happens to the best of us. I’ve had some crock pot creations that make me cringe to this day.

    And I’m noting to self to never, ever try that recipe. Those images will stick with me. Forever.

  22. That is pretty awful looking – but in your defense, NO crock pot recipe should require that much effort prior to putting it in the crock pot. I would never do a crock pot recipe that didn’t allow me to basically dump and run – that is what the crock pot is all about.

  23. Hooray! I’m not alone in my inability to cook edible meals!

    And I agree with Michelle Smiles. This is NOT a crock pot recipe, and therefore, you are not at fault.

  24. Dan (Em's dad) says:

    Don’t know why you used the crock-pot when the washing machine would have done just as well, and the spaghetti might have been cooked.

  25. Got a great laugh this A.M. (i needed one) and got another one tonite, thanks to my witty brother,Dan.

  26. I hope you don’t mind that I’m giggling over here…

    While I am a really good cook otherwise, I have yet to successfully make a crock pot meal. It’s not as easy as they make it look.

  27. Thank God your crock pot didn’t catch fire. I am so glad only the dinner was ruined. somewhere in the back of your mind this morning you wanted subway LOL That was a great story, one of those great ones we will all be sharing in the old folks home one day while rocking in a rocking chair πŸ™‚

  28. I have made some disgusting looking (and tasting) meals in the crockpot too. This one may take the cake. The pictures make it look like some sort of science fiction monster (or the inner workings of the monster.) Yikes.

    But you are not alone. I am right there with you on that worst cooks list. I just didn’t get the gene. I hate it, but when you fight the gene, stuff like this happens. πŸ™‚

  29. Your dad has you there Em!

  30. I totally would do this. This is one reason we have an official chicken nugget night at our house! LOL

  31. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! I literally fell off of my chair when I saw this- looks like an autopsy photo!!!!

  32. wow. don’t worry, I started there too. but that was a crappy recipe. who wants to cook something in the crock for 40 minutes?! might as well just use the stove for everything. want an easy crock pot recipe? frozen chicken breasts (enough for your family, mine is 2 or 3), two cans of condensed soup, one can of water. cook for about 6 hours. yummy. side note ALWAYS ALWAYS, ALWAYS spray the crock pot first. or use a liner. ALWAYS!! and frozen meat in the crock pot in the morning=perfect meat at dinner time. even if it’s a roast, just cook it for about 8 hours or so.

    I found your post from the moosh’s 3-21-10 post. I think I might stick around! LOL

  33. Mirullia says:

    Emily this is hilarious! At least you are trying to learn how cook, I have many friends who won’t even try. If you ever need some quick, easy recipes I would be glad to pass some along to you. I love to cook, so I have a lot of them to share. I would recommend trying out KraftFoods.com also. They have a lot of very easy recipes, they have a healthy food section, and you can also search by ingredient. Good luck!


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