Do you know what today was? (Thursday as I write this.) Torture Todd with pasta day! Yes . . . every once in a while, I have a day in my kitchen, where I play Torture the Toddster with Pasta. He hates pasta. I love pasta. Now and again I just have to have my fix. He doth protest somewhat . . . but meh . . . you can't have things your own way all of the time can you?
I had some chicken I wanted to use up and I had found this delicious sounding recipe in a book I have entitled, "The Gathering of Friends, volume 2." I have had this book for a few years now and hardly cooked from it, so I decided that come hell or high water I was finding something in it to cook . . . and this was it.
I had most of the ingredients in the house so why not?? I adapted it where I needed to and the end result was indeed quite scrumptious. (Shut up Todd!! He begs to differ.)
The original recipe called for all Monterrey Jack Cheese as well as frozen chicken tenders. I used half cheddar and half jack cheese . . . and chicken breasts, cut into strips. I shortened the simmering time of the chicken and it worked out great. I dare say it would even work well with leftover cooked chicken, disposing of one of the steps.
It tasted quite a bit like the original version, which of course . . . was loaded with cream. This one is just loaded with cheese. I don't know which is worse for you . . . the cream or the cheese?? The bacon's probably not all that good for you either . . . but you have to admit . . . anything loaded with bacon, cheese and pasta just has to be delish!
I also added the chicken stock to the pasta, boiling hot, and before I slid the casserole, covered tightly, into the oven for the first baking time. I covered it with a sheet of foil which I had sprayed with non-stick cooking spray so that none of the cheese or pasta would stick to the foil. (A little tip for you guys, that works a charm.) Then I just popped off the foil for the final ten minutes. It turned out perfectly delicious. It wasn't dry at all.
Todd was annoyed when he saw it. He said . . ."what did you do, think to yourself . . . I know what I'll do today cook the old man pasta and chocolate???" I just gave him that coy smile of mine and said . . . "You know you love it when I am a bit of a rebel darling, and I don't see any chocolate here." His reply . . . "Hmmph."
For an old pasta hater . . . he had two servings. That speaks for itself. Methinks the old man doth protest too much.
*Baked Chicken Tetrazzini*
Serves 4 to 6
An old favourite, easy, updated and delicious.
2 1/2 pounds chicken breast meat
6 slices of streaky bacon
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 pound of dry fusilli pasta
8 ounces grated medium cheddar cheese
8 ounces grated Monterrey jack cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 TBS granulated chicken bouillon
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Spray a large nonstick pan with low fat cooking spray. Cut the chicken into strips. Add to the pot, cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is tender. Gently shred with a fork. Remove and set aside. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels, reserving the pan drippings. Chop the bacon and set aside. Saute the onions, peppers and mushrooms in the drippings until the onions and peppers are softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken pieces. Cook the fusilli pasta according to the package directions until al dente, adding the chicken bouillon to the water. Once cooked, drain and rinse in a strainer. Stir into the pan with the cooked vegetables and chicken. Toss in half of the bacon pieces and the cheese. Place in a buttered 9 by 13 inch pan and sprinkle with the rest of the bacon pieces. cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the chicken broth, stirring it all together. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle with the chives (I forgot these!) and serve immediately.