Are you looking for chicken dinner ideas? Recipes that please everyone’s picky palettes? Then try our family favorite, Easy Chicken Tetrazzini recipe!
We have entered the phase of childhood where neither sibling will agree to eat what the other sibling wants. We have also entered what my sister calls, “The Inspector Gadget” stage – you know, the one where each child dissects their plate until it resembles a pile of mush and then loudly proclaims that “It looks disgusting.” Yeah, that one.
Needless to say, we’re not overly psyched about this stage. Plus, my husband and I love herbs and spices – and our kids are really crimping our food style. So what’s a hungry parent to do? Enter this chicken tetrazzini recipe. Not only is it incredibly easy to make, but…it makes enough to feed our family of four twice! With leftovers each time! How? Well, I simply follow our Mom’s way of cooking. Make one large batch (or what Dad used to call “enough food to feed an army”) and cook one half now and save the other half for later.
The reason I’m such a fan of this recipe is because it lets me tackle my beloved children’s picky eating issues. Right now, one child only eats peas, and the other one only eats corn. To outsmart them, I use glass baking dishes. Then, I put the peas on one side and the corn on the other side, and carefully pour the pasta and cheese sauce over the separated veggies. Then, once I’ve allowed it to cool after baking, I can easily peek under the bottom of the glass dish to cut the tetrazzini into a corn half and a pea half. I know it sounds completely bonkers, but hey, this is real life. And this is what works for us!
You’ll also notice the absence of mushrooms, onions and garlic. This also has to do with our kids. Sorry kids, – Mommy’s sooooo tossing you under the bus right now. My husband and I love it with mushrooms and I highly encourage you to add them in. I’ve included steps below in case you want to do this.
As for the onion and garlic, we can’t use them right now. Our kids just won’t eat them. If they find garlic or minced onions in their food, all bets are off. So for now, we compromise. Since I refuse to eat unseasoned food, and they can’t “see” these spices in their food, I use powdered garlic and onion. I’ve also been known to swap out black pepper for white pepper, but they’ve finally stopped caring about itty bitty specs of pepper, so we’re back to using black pepper again.
Anywho, hopefully, this dish will help you put a tasty dinner on the table that all of your picky eaters can enjoy. Do you have a recipe that tackles everyone wanting something different? Share it with us below!
EASY CHICKEN TETRAZZINI RECIPE
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3 cups milk
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth (I don’t cook with wine, so I simply replace this with more broth.)
- 3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 pound thin spaghetti, broken in half (I like Barilla Protein Plus.)
- 1 (2.75 pound) rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat cubed (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups frozen sweet peas, thawed and drained
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained
- 1/2 – 1 cup breadcrumbs
- parsley, dried or fresh, for garnish
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound sliced white mushrooms
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for pasta).
Step 2: If using mushrooms: In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Step 3: In a large stockpot (I use an 8 quart one for this messy recipe), melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk for one minute. Add pepper, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and nutmeg; whisk until incorporated. Continue to whisk and add milk, chicken broth, and wine or the 3/4 cup broth. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add 3 cups of Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is fully melted.
At the same time, cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions or else it will be smushy in your tetrazzini. Drain and add to large stockpot with the cheese sauce.
Step 4: This is where my life gets a bit tricky. In one pyrex dish, I put 1 cup of thawed peas on one side and 1 cup of thawed corn on the other. Then, in a second pyrex dish, I put the remaining 1 cup of thawed peas and pour the mushroom mixture on top of it. Then I split the chicken evenly between the two pyrex dishes. If your kids are good eaters, you can just chuck everything into the cheese mixture and then divide it between two dishes.
Step 5: Using tongs, divide the cheese and pasta mixture between two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. Sprinkle each dish with breadcrumbs. Set one dish aside to freeze for later, and place the other in the oven to bake until browned, approximately 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.
To freeze: allow one dish to come to room temperature. Then, wrap tightly with a layer of tinfoil, followed by a layer of plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To cook frozen tetrazzini: remove plastic wrap and bake, covered with tin foil, at 400 degrees, until center is warm. It takes approximately 2 hours, so plan accordingly. To cook immediately. To bake immediately, Freeze (see below) or bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.
Are you in need of more easy dinner ideas?
- The Best Crockpot Chili
- Kid Friendly Black Bean Soup
- Mini Chicken Margherita Pizzas
- Pulled Pork with Tangy Coleslaw