Growing up I remember that one of my mother’s favorite meals was chicken tetrazzini. Her tetrazzini consisted of richly adorned noodles smothered in sherry, heavy cream, butter and cheese. Delicious: yes. Light: NO! So, for this blog post I decided to lighten up my Mom’s decadent chicken tetrazzini, and it’s still pretty darn good, if I do say so myself… Traditional tetrazzini is full of simple carbohydrates, which turn to sugar in your body, as well as added fat which racks up the calories. It’s amazing how many of these waistline-expanding bad boys you can eliminate by swapping conventional pasta for high-quality whole wheat pasta, replacing heavy cream with low-fat milk, and exchanging tons of full-fat cheese with a moderate amount of part-skim cheese!
This light tetrazzini recipe can be made with chicken or turkey, and is a great way to use up left-over meat from a roasted bird. It also freezes well, so go ahead and make a double batch, serve one casserole, and freeze the other.
Enjoy this comfort food re-make with a crunchy garden salad, knowing that you didn’t break the calorie bank!
Light Chicken Tetrazzini
Serves: 6 Serving Size: about 1 cup
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes
- 8 oz of whole wheat linguini, cooked per package instructions (I used 2/3 package of Einkorn Wheat Pasta)*
- 12 oz white button mushrooms
- 1 yellow Spanish onion
- 1 C cooked chicken or turkey, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 C part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 C whole wheat bread crumbs**
- 2 C chicken or turkey stock
- 1 1/2 C low-fat milk
- 1/4 C sherry (optional, but seriously, it’s not tetrazzini without the sherry!)
- 5 Tbsp whole wheat flour***
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- Olive oil cooking spray
*Use rice or quinoa noodles for a gluten free option
**Use finely-crushed tortilla chips for a gluten free option
***Use potato flour for a gluten free option
1. Cook linguini per package instructions. Typically, the instructions include a range of cooking times. Boil for the shortest recommended time to achieve an “al dente” pasta, drain in a colander, and then return to cold water in the cooking pot until you are ready to use.
2. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté mushrooms and onions until the mushrooms are soft and the onions are translucent. Then add salt, pepper, sage, nutmeg, and a bay leaf and sauté 1 more minute.
3. Add 5 Tbsp of flour and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
4. Now it’s time to add in your liquids. Add sherry while quickly stirring it into the flour and vegetable mixture and bring to a simmer (quickly stirring will prevent flour lumps from forming). Next, add broth and once again stir frequently, bringing to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer for 1 minute and then remove from heat, and stir in the milk.
5. Tetrazzini is a casserole that involves assembling layers, so organize a work station. Spray a 9×7 glass dish with olive oil cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 375º F.
6. For your first layer, add enough sauce to completely coat the bottom of the pan. This will be approximately 1/3 of the sauce. Then add half of your noodles and half of your meat.
7. Top with 1/2 of your cheese and 1/2 of the remaining sauce.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for a second layer of meat, cheese, and sauce.
9. Melt butter, combine with bread crumbs, and then sprinkle the crumbs over your casserole.
10. Bake at 375º F for 35 minutes or until the bread crumbs begin to brown and the dish becomes bubbly. After removing from the oven, allow your cooked casserole to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
shelly kilian says
I can’t wait to make this. Mom
Haha! I could always make it for you!