Monday, November 12, 2012

Roasted Chicken Tetrazzini

Roasting a chicken is such a great idea; it's easy, price-effective, and delicious.  However, after finishing dinner and loading the dishwasher the next step is to pack up the leftovers, which is when the realization hits - we will be eating roasted chicken every meal of every day for the next week.  Hm.
I suppose this realization could be said for a lot of meals that are prepared from a recipe but intended for a two-person audience.  Time and time again I've made recipes that end up being sent with Jim as lunch on consecutive days, and then also eaten for dinner!  Recently I've started making only half of a recipe, which certainly helps with avoiding excess leftovers.  (Why I didn't start making half-recipes sooner, I'm not sure.) 
In terms of the roasted chicken, it itsn't possible to only roast half of a chicken so instead I decided to use the leftovers in other chicken-based recipes.  One recipe that I made recently and both Jim and I loved was Cooking Light's Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole.  I kept this in mind as a "make again sometime" recipe for many reasons - the flavor was rich and savory, it was easy to make, having protein plus veges and pasta makes this a one-pan meal, it reheats well and it is relatively healthy.  Given all of these aspects of the tetrazzini recipe, I decided to make it again using roasted chicken.  Throw in the accompanying roasted onions and carrots and this is a great, and delicious, way to use leftovers!
As a note: The Cooking Light recipe is actually for 2 casseroles that each serve 6.  Although the recipe describes how to freeze and thaw the extras, I just made one casserole.  The recipe below is for one casserole.
Roasted Chicken Tetrazzini (adapted from Cooking Light's Chicken Tetrazzini)
1/2 lb dry spaghetti
1/2 tbsp salted butter
1 cup roasted onions and carrots, chopped
1 10-oz package of sliced mushrooms*, chopped
1/4 cup cooking sherry*
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cans (21.75 oz) chicken or vegetable broth*
1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (2 oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 1/2 cups roasted chicken, roughly chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
- I used Trader Joe's Baby Portabella mushrooms
- Cooking sherry can usually be found in the grocery store near vinegars and cooking wines
- I've used both low-sodium chicken broth and vegetable broth; Trader Joe's Vegetable Broth gave a richer flavor that I preferred
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 2-qt glass or ceramic baking dish by spraying with cooking spray or lightly coating with olive oil.  Set aside.
Prepare spaghetti according to package.  When pasta is tender, remove from heat and drain.  Add noodles to prepared baking dish and set aside.
Leftover roasted onions and carrots
10 oz package of baby portabellas, chopped

In a medium or large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add chopped mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes.  To the mushrooms, add onions and carrots, salt and pepper (to taste); cook for 1 minute.  Add sherry; cook for 1 minute.
Gradually add flour to mushroom mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Continue stirring while gradually adding broth.  Bring the mixture to a boil; after reaching a boil reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and add cream cheese and 1 1/8 cup Parmesan.  Stir until cheeses have melted and are completely incorporated.  Add chicken to mixture and stir to combine. 
Potential for making a mess could be high :)
Pour half of chicken mixture over spaghetti and stir to mix; add remaining chicken mixture to spaghetti.  Stir all carefully to evenly coat spaghetti and to distribute chicken and veges throughout the casserole. 
Make sure the ingredients are distributed evenly
Top casserole with bread crumbs and 1/8 cup Parmesan cheese.  Bake casserole for 40 minutes; remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes to cool.
I promise it tastes better than this picture looks!
Serves 6.  As I mentioned above, this casserole reheats very well so it'll taste just as good if you do happen to eat it once as leftovers ;-)

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