I have made this before multiple times, but it is amazing what a little tinkering will do to the recipe. This was a tried and true recipe that I used last night for dinner. Why would I tinker with it then, you are probably asking, right? My best response will have to be because I can. Nothing more, nothing less.
Actually, the original recipe is the Chicken and Ham Tetrazzini recipe in the Cooking Light Five Star Recipes: The Best of 10 Years Cookbook. There is an obvious problem with that recipe. Blatantly obvious–ham. Let the tinkering begin.
I always tinkered with the recipe, to begin with. I will confess to that right off the top. I never have two ingredients–dry sherry and pimiento. That is just the beginning. I rarely use the paprika and even more rarely use the almonds that the original recipe call for. Still, the recipe has good flavor and is worth the extra work and ingredients.
Normally, I would add Dried Penzeys Onions and Bell Peppers (re-hydrated) to the recipe to take the place of the called for ingredients in the recipe–onions, green pepper, and pimientos. However, in the last little while, I have discovered that bell peppers are a migraine trigger for me. Onions not so much, but they are a reflux trigger. Bell peppers and onions are both reflux triggers for me. Hence they both have been eliminated from my diet as much as possible. Adding them like I normally do was not going to be an option tonight. I was going to have to improvise.
I should add that people in my family do not like mushrooms either. That is also an ingredient that the original recipe calls for. I typically just leave them out where I can. I like them just fine, but I do not believe in torturing my family members. If they cannot see them, they are just fine. If they can see them, however, they will complain to the high heavens as they pick them out and put them on my plate for me to eat. Actually, they will ask me if I want them before they pile them on my plate. I do have to be careful eating mushrooms as too many of them can be a migraine trigger as well. All things in moderation, right?
All of that aside, I still love the recipe’s flavor. The family still likes the flavor. It is a great way to use up leftover chicken. Of all of the Tetrazzini recipes that I have tried, this is by far my favorite.
Alas, my changing of the recipe this time made it so significantly different that I can claim it as my very own. In fact, it was so different that I won the question, “Have you made this recipe before?” from one of my children. Awesome!
Amazing Chicken Tetrazzini
makes three 8″x8″ casseroles
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp minced garlic (I used Penzys minced garlic)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (I used Penzys poultry seasoning)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (I used McCormick Peppercorn Medley)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (1.5 cups and 1/2 cup separated)
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 (10.75 ounces) can cream of mushroom soup
1 bag (4-5 servings) frozen green beans
4 cups shredded chicken
1 package (12 ounces) spaghetti noodles
enough Italian seasoned bread crumbs to sprinkle on top
enough additional shredded parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions, but omit the salt and fat. Drain well and set aside.
Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Stir in flour. Slowly add 1.5 cups of milk. Stirring constantly and working out lumps that may have formed in flour. Stir until thickened. Add cream of mushroom soup. Stir in 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 2/3 cup of parmesan cheese. Stir until cheeses melt. Stir in green beans. Stir in remaining milk and chicken. Simmer until bubbly, stirring occasionally.
Divide spaghetti noodles evenly between three 8″x8″ pans. Divide chicken sauce evenly between the three 8″x8″ pans. Mix noodles and chicken sauce together in each pan until noodles are well coated and sauce is evenly distributed. Spread mixture evenly in pan and smooth out. Sprinkle top of each pan generously with shredded parmesan cheese. Sprinkle top of each pan liberally with Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
Bake at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.
Cover and freeze remaining casseroles (unbaked).
This is what the chicken mixture looked like before putting it in the pans with the noodles. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the finished casseroles before we devoured them for dinner. We had a quick out the door trip for various evening activities.
This recipe won the approval of all three of my boys. I got a “this is amazing” from my picky almost 8 year old. I got a “this is really good” and a “this is very good.” I was also asked, “Have you ever made this recipe before?” I had. They liked it.
I was asked by Lance if there were mushrooms in it. The cream of mushroom soup that I used had larger chunks in it that what I normally use. I responded with an “absolutely!” I got a shrugged shoulder and “just pick them out, Kyle.” Awesome!!! The non-mushroom eaters were willing to ignore the fact that the mushrooms were in there and visible. It was that good.
Obviously, there is not a full serving of vegetables as the bag of green beans was divide among three pans in this so you should serve with another vegetable or a side salad. It will complement nicely. It is a nice light, but filling main dish.
Another successful tinkering night.