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Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

10 May
Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Busy, busy, busy! That’s what I’ve been lately, and when you’re busy it’s so nice to have a fairly quick and healthy casserole to whip together, just like this one. This is even something I wouldn’t mind cooking myself on this Mother’s Day (as long as I don’t have to do the dishes!). And Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there, be it mothers of humans, fur-kids, or nature! I hope you enjoy this recipe, this was a thumbs-up in my family all the way around.

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

5 ounces uncooked linguine, snapped in half
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Half and Half, or milk
1 ounce Neufchâtel cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup frozen peas
2-inch thick chunk French bread baguette, torn into chunks
1 teaspoon oil

Shred that Chicken Breast!

Shred that Chicken Breast!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes until all combined. Pour in the chicken broth and milk, whisking constantly.

Stirring the Cheese into the Sauce

Stirring the Cheese into the Sauce

Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and the cream cheese until combined, then turn off heat and set aside.

Suateing the Mushrooms and Onion

Sauteing the Mushrooms and Onions

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the rest of the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the onions, garlic, and thyme and saute for 5 more minutes. Add the sherry, then cook for a minute more.

Combining the Casserole

Combining the Casserole

Pour in the saucepan of milk/cheese mixture, the pasta, chicken, and peas. Toss to combine. Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with oil spray.

Casserole Ready for Bread Crumbs

Casserole Ready for Bread Crumbs

Place the torn bread pieces and the rest of the Parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over the pasta. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Chicken Tetrazzini Crepes

11 Mar
Chicken Tetrazzini Crepes

Chicken Tetrazzini Crepes

…or, How to Use as Many Pots, Pans, Bowls, and Utensils as Possible for a Single Dish. Seriously, this is a sink filler-upper. But ohhhh, the flavor is just delectable and restaurant-worthy, in my humble opinion. Actually, the first time I made this for my husband, he got so excited that he wanted to open a restaurant right then and there! Alas, that was only a pipe dream of his (thank goodness!) but that has not stopped me from cooking these tasty crepes on a periodic basis. Since the dish is so time-consuming, I would guess we have this less than once a year. But the wait is so worth it!

The original recipe comes — once again — from my trusty Better Homes and Garden book. While most of the recipes I use from it have been transformed over the years, this one has never needed many changes aside from using chicken instead of turkey. Turkey meat has such a strong taste that I’ve always opted for the lighter taste of the smaller fowl.

My sister is in town visiting from Austin, and we tackled this masterpiece together, which made the process not only much shorter, but a heck of a lot more fun! I taught her how to make the crepes (and she was a natural at it) and she taught me a trick to make a no-fail white sauce. Win-win! Another time saver was cooking half a chicken the day before to make the chicken broth and cubed meat as called for in the recipe.

Chicken Tetrazzini Crepes

6 to 12 crepes (see recipe below)
2 cups fresh mushrooms, quartered or halved
6 tablespoons butter or substitute
1/3 cup flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
3/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup sherry or white wine
2 cups cooked chicken meat, cubed
8 oz. can of sliced black olives

If you don’t already have cooked chicken on hand, it’s best to start this process the day before, or start cooking in the afternoon as this will take some time. First, begin preparing the crepes according to recipe below. I put my sister on this duty after I showed her the trick to getting them to come out perfect. Meanwhile, brown the mushrooms in 3 tablespoons of the butter or substitute in a medium saucepan. My sister wanted to use real butter for the entire recipe, but she conceded to let me use Smart Balance to sauté the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until all the liquid has released and reduced down, about 10 minutes.  When the mushrooms are done, pour them into a bowl and set aside.

Crepe, mushrooms and new owl spatula!

Crepe, mushrooms and new owl spatula!

In the same saucepan used for the mushrooms, melt the other three tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour, and cook for about three minutes on low heat but don’t let it start to brown. My sister says cooking the flour for a few minutes will release the oil in the butter and make for a creamier sauce.  I do believe that worked! Next add the chicken broth and cream and cook on medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring often. Add the cheese and sherry or white wine and stir until the cheese melts. Keep on very low heat while you do the next steps, occasionally stirring.

Spray a casserole dish with vegetable oil and place in a strategic area for crepe assembly. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, olives, mushrooms and one cup of the sauce. I save some of  the olive slices for the top of the crepes.  Next, spoon some of the mixture down the center of the unbrowned side of a crepe, and roll up. Place the crepe seam side down in the casserole dish. Repeat until you run out of mixture. We were able to fill seven crepes for the size we made, and had four crepes leftover. Plus we ran out of room in the dish.

Last, pour the remaining sauce evenly over the crepes, and decorate the top with the reserved olive slices. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Take out and let rest for a few minutes. We served this with steamed asparagus. My sister toasted some sliced almonds for her serving, but my husband and I preferred the dish without them. Bon Appétit!

Crepes

1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Dash of salt

Assembled and ready for sauce

Assembled and ready for sauce

In a bowl, combine the flour, milk, eggs, oil, and salt. Beat with a rotary mixer until well blended. Heat a lightly oil-sprayed skillet for a few minutes. Remove from the heat then pour about a quarter cup of batter into the center, and tilt and swirl the batter around until it’s spread evenly in the bottom. Return the skillet to the heat and brown on one side only until the edges begin to curl up a bit.  To remove the crepe, turn the skillet upside down onto a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter, spraying the skillet lightly between crepes. Set them aside until ready to fill.

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