I love bringing joy into my household, and take pride in being able to do that in my new(ish) job as a stay-at-home parent. We don’t have to wait for celebrations and special occasions to experience joy in our homes; we can create it in small, simple ways every day.
My husband has shared with me that his favorite everyday joy comes from having dinner as a family. It is something he can look forward to during his workday, then enjoy a peaceful night with a full, happy belly.
I like for dinner to be special, but being busy with a baby and school can sometimes make getting dinner ready challenging. Of course, we occasionally end up ordering in. We try to reduce waste and make the most of our resources, especially when it comes to food. Composting helps us make the best of whatever food must be thrown away, but food’s real purpose is to be eaten. This means making the best use of leftovers.
Leftovers don’t have to be boring. Make them into something different, and the dish is just as new and exciting as last night’s.
Earlier this week, I made Engagement Chicken–a meal good enough to get a marriage proposal from a prince. I used a pretty large roasting chicken, so with plates for the two of us and some shredded pieces for baby Bisty, there was a good amount of chicken left over. No problem there–leftover chicken just gives us an excuse to have this rich, creamy baked pasta.
It’s not pretty, but it’s delicious. I snapped this pic before it finished browning. Once it was done, my husband was so eager to cut right into it, I didn’t get a picture of the finished product.
If you Google and Pinterest Chicken Tetrazzini, you’ll find a lot of variations. I’ll share with you the version I came up with that works best for us. I switch it up from time to time based on what we have in the house. For instance, I had some mushrooms in the refrigerator this time and threw those into the mix. Below is the recipe I use:
- 16 oz (one box) of spaghetti, cooked
- 1/2 cup (one full stick) of butter, plus more to grease pan
- Cooked chicken torn or cut into bite-size chunks–I don’t measure this out but just use whatever amount of cooked chicken I have leftover. 1/2 to 1 lb is probably a good approximation.
- 1 can cream of chicken soup, plus an equal amount of chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 cups of sour cream
- 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms, if desired
- 1/2 cup of garlic-infused vinegar–I highly recommend Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar with Roasted Garlic. It is sooo good and makes adding just the right garlic flavor so easy. If you’re substituting with another vinegar or a 1/2 cup of dry white wine, just add a bit of garlic powder to the dish.
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp Romano or Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, chicken, soup, broth, sour cream, mushrooms, garlic-infused vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Use butter wrapper to grease baking dish.
- Add spaghetti to the chicken mix.
- Pour into baking dish and top with all of the cheese.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove foil, bake uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is as brown as you like. You may want to raise the temperature to about 375 F for the last few minutes if you like the cheese very brown and a little crispy on the sides.
This dish is great comfort food. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does. This was Bitsy’s first time eating it. I was so glad to see she like it. She was a little behind the curve on her growth at her 12-months pediatric visit, so her pediatrician suggested including a bit more fattening foods in her diet to try to catch up. The butter, sour cream, and cheese should help 🙂
Hold onto this recipe and substitute turkey for chicken as a great way to use your Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s a great stick-to-your ribs meal for a late fall night.
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