Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chicken Tetrazinni

This recipe makes enough for 2 casseroles. I love this, because I can make one for dinner and freeze the other. I purchased 30 tin foil disposable pans at Sam's Club for this very purpose. Instead of doing take-out when I am busy or tired, I can go to my freezer for a yummy homemade meal. I will say that this is my original recipe as I have cooked for years, but I have learned to tweak it as my budget and or time restraint allows.

Here are a few tips:
When I was a working mother, the easy way for me was to place the frozen chicken into a crock pot with all of the dry seasonings on low for 5-6 hours. I used about 6 breasts. Don't thaw it out and don't add liquid to the pot. Just dump and cover. When I got home, and before I took off my dress clothes, I started my pasta on the stove and shredded the chicken with a fork! I could get into something comfy, while the pasta cooked. Then, I just picked up with the next steps, where I left off. Tonight, I made this and didn't even have time to do this step, so I bought a pre-cooked chicken at Walmart and took it off the bone. I was even lazy and bought the pre-diced seasoning vegetable kit in the freezer section (onions, celery, bell peppers). This meal took less than 15 min's to make once the chicken was cooked and 30 min. to bake. You will definitely have 2 meals for around $10.00 each.

We are trying to be a little healthier with our food choices, so I used whole wheat pasta for this. I also used half and half milk instead of heavy cream. I keep plenty of chicken bouillon cubes in my pantry for cheap broth. It works well with this dish, because the broth blends with other ingredients rather than being a main ingredient. You may also use reduced fat cheese, but I do not recommend fat-free. Even a rat wouldn't eat that! I would much rather use less of the best than lots of the fake. In other words, if cheese is a concern for you, skip adding it to the casserole itself and instead, place it on top.

1 pound spaghetti, broken into pieces
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup of heavy cream
12 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
6 cups shredded boiled chicken breast meat
1 pound mushrooms
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 (4 ounce) jar sliced pimento peppers, drained
1 cup reserved chicken broth
1 tsp butter
1 tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 ground sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add uncooked spaghetti (broken into thirds) to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
Drain and set aside.
In a sauté pan, add butter and olive oil and sauté mushrooms, onions, celery, and pimentos until tender. Next, combine soups, broth, cream, seasonings and cheese in pot and mix well. Add noodles and cooked chicken and stir.
Pour mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle reserved shredded cheese on top and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

No comments: