Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Today I’m going to share my favorite dish to use up leftover chicken, easy chicken tetrazzini, a creamy cheesy casserole that is easy to whip up for a weeknight dinner

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I stumbled across this dish nearly two decades ago. When I first started making it, I learned that chicken tetrazzini was a casserole dish from the turn of the century. Some say it dates back all the way to 1908. You might think it is an Italian dish because of the name and the fact that it has pasta, but it isn’t. It was actually named after turn-of-the-century opera Luisa Tetrazzini.

Making Chicken Tetrazzini

It was very popular in the 1940s and 1950s as a staple casserole dish. In my household, it has become one of our beloved family favorites, not just because of the delicious creamy taste, but because it is a wonderful way to use leftover chicken. I also go to this recipe if I don’t have enough chicken to make it a main course. This recipe stretches a few breasts out enough to feed a family.

Apparently, that’s why it grew in popularity. During the Great Depression, it was used to make the most of the little meat families had. Housewives also used whatever pasta they had on hand. That’s why you see it with all kinds of pasta like spaghetti, broad egg noodles, linguine, even penne, and elbow macaroni. In fact, many people even use the recipe to make turkey tetrazzini with leftover turkey. I almost always do this after Thanksgiving. During the 1940’s and 1950’s some housewives even used canned tuna along with whatever cheese they had on hand. Tetrazzini is a truly versatile dish.

It may surprise you to learn that there is no universal standard recipe for tetrazzini. It was kind of a first throw-down recipe of sorts. Earlier recipes are slightly more complicated than what I will share today. Early recipes call for sautéing your own fresh mushrooms and then creating a cream sauce with heavy whipping cream, butter, white wine or sherry, meat stock, and cheese. However, thanks to the 1950’s housewife, she used a more convenient method of using Cambell’s Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken condensed soups to quicken this recipe and that is what I am going to show you today – easy chicken tetrazzini.

Roasted chicken
Courtesy of Unsplash

Start by shredding your chicken while your pasta boils. If you prefer, you can slice your chicken or meat into bite-sized chunks. Once your pasta is drained, add it to a large bowl, combine your cans of cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup. Add milk, half and half, or cream. If you are using cream you need about a cup of cream. If using half and half or milk, you can use about a half cup or change until you reach your desired consistency. We like ours extra creamy and rich. If you don’t care for such a heavy sauce, you can dilute with more milk. If you don’t have milk, you can substitute a half cup of meat stock to dilute.

You’ll add in your cheese to the cream sauce. I reserve half for spreading on top. As I mentioned earlier, housewives used whatever cheese they had on hand. I prefer parmesan because it adds a lot of flavor. But I’ve used Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, Cheddar and various combinations of cheese. Some people also like to put a topping on the top. Like toasted breadcrumbs, crunchy cornflakes or fried onions like a green bean casserole. I, however, don’t do that, although you can if you want. You may notice, I’ve omitted any salt from the recipe. That’s because there is plenty of sodium in the condensed soups and cheese. So I suggest tasting before you add any salt on your own.

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Al dente noodles and chicken are smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce in this easy casserole.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 Large Chicken Breasts, Cooked Shredded
  • 1 ½ Cups Shredded Parmesan or other cheese Divided (two 3/4 cups)
  • 1 10.5 oz Can of Cream of Chicken Soup Preferably Campbell's
  • 1 10.5 oz Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • ½ Lbs Spaghetti or other pasta
  • 1 Cup Heavy cream or half and half (or milk for a lighter sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped (Optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Cook pasta according to the package instructions
  • While pasta is cooking, shred cooked chicken into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add one can of cream of chicken condensed soup, one can of cream of mushroom soup and cream or milk. Stir well to combine.
  • When pasta is cooked, drain well, and combine with cream sauce.
  • Add half of the divided cheese into the pasta mixture and combine well.
  • Transfer pasta to a deep casserole or baking dish.
  • Spread remaining cheese on top and bake at 375 for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is bubbly and cheese is golden.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Keyword chicken, chicken breast, chicken casserole, easy casserole, easy recipe, family favorite, leftovers, pasta, weeknight dinner
chicken tetrazzini

Serving and Storing Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken Tetrazzini is a heavy dish, so I like to serve with a garden salad or other green like roasted asparagus or green beans. If you have leftovers, chicken tetrazzini will keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can microwave it or warm it in the oven to reheat it. I have never tried freezing it, although pasta normally freezes okay if placed in a good quality container to protect it from freezer burn. Also, I’d probably allow some room in the container since cream tends to expand when frozen. As I said, I’ve never tried freezing it, so let me know in the comments if you try it.

chicken tetrazzini

Thank you for joining me for this recipe. I know you will enjoy it. Over the years, I’ve really grown to enjoy using older recipes because they are tried and true and women knew how to feed a large family and provide comforting home-cooked meals every day. If you are fond of casseroles, be sure to check out my Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole and Baked Ziti.

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti is a meat lover’s dream. Two kinds of meat and triple cheese make this the ultimate Italian-American comfort food.

pioneer woman's baked ziti

This post is a sponsored post, meaning I have collaborated with Pioneer Woman in return for financial compensation and free products for testing purposes. This post also contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Baked Ziti is one of our favorite dishes. It’s the ultimate in Italian-American comfort food. If you like the way lasagna is baked, you’ll love baked ziti. It’s similar, but without the tediousness of layering pasta. Served casserole style, it’s filled with zesty tomato sauce, Italian sausage and gooey cheesy goodness.

Today, I’m going to share Pioneer Woman’s recipe for baked ziti. This was the first time I’ve tried it and it was yummy!!! Ree girl, this was awesome!

The Pioneer Woman

If you’ve never heard of the Pioneer Woman, I pity you just a tad. Ree Drummond is a famous blogger who shares her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. On her blog, she cooks up some good ole’ eats that anyone can cook. These days she also has her own show on The Food Network. I love her down to earth writing style that makes you feel like her best friend. Be sure to follow her blog…after mine, of course!

Making Baked Ziti

Traditionally ziti uses ziti pasta which resembles small tubes, but I’ve also used penne pasta in a pinch and found it works just as well. In Italy it’s ziti al forno, which translates exactly to “baked ziti.”

I received a complimentary jar of the Rustic Bolognese sauce. It’s very tasty and reminds me of a homemade sauce, minus the hassle! I grew up on Prego. Over the years, I’ve used all kinds of sauces. I highly recommend trying Pioneer Woman’s new line of Italian pasta sauces which now come in the following varieties:

  • Marinara
  • Italian Sausage & Peppers
  • Rustic Bolognese
  • Four Cheese
  • Garden Vegetable

In the past, I’ve used a different recipe for baked ziti, but after today, I’m switching. This is a meat lovers dream! It calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of Italian sausage! I’ve written the recipe to use ground Italian sausage because it is readily available to me at my store. If you can’t find it, you can always use regular link Italian sausage. I recommend cutting the casing lengthwise with a knife and then peeling off for easy removal. Then brown, like normal.

baked ziti

Pioneer Woman Baked Ziti

A delicious Italian-American casserole filled with zesty tomato sauce, cheese, Italian sausage basked into bubbly goodness.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs Ziti Pasta Uncooked
  • 2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Lbs Italian Sausage Ground
  • 1 Jar PIONEER WOMAN Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 15oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Shredded
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
  • 1 Lbs Lean Ground Beef

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 375
  • Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently
  • Crumble sausage, then ground beef into skillet with cooked vegetables. Cook until ground meats are evenly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Mix egg, ricotta, and parmesan until blended
  • Drain pasta and spoon into a large bowl. Add pasta sauce mixture and ricotta mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray; top with mozzarella.
  • Bake 20 mins or until heated through
Keyword bacon casserole, cheesy casseroles, italian, italian sausage, pasta, tomato sauce
pioneer woman's baked ziti
pioneer woman rustic bolognese

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Pin now for later! Also, don’t forget to subscribe so you can get great recipes delivered right to your inbox! If you’re looking for more comfort food, you absolutely need to try my Shrimp & Crawfish Étouffée and my Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies. Thanks for reading!

Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Tired of your boring roast? Try this recipe for Mexican pulled pork (pork roast) – slow cooker pork carnitas.

slow cooker pork carnitas

Yummy pork carnitas – it is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. I particularly love them too because there is always enough leftovers for another meal and any night I can get out of cooking is a happy accident! Carnitas literally translates to “little meats.” But if you’ve ever wondered what it is, it’s basically just Mexican pulled pork.

Ingredients

Making Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Here in Texas, because of the large Hispanic demographic, it’s super easy to find pork perfectly trimmed for carnitas. But don’t fret, all you need is pork shoulder or pork butt roast. Normally it weighs about 2-4 pounds. Some of that will cook down due to the high fat marbling. You will place it whole in the slow cooker, no water needed.

Juice your orange. You can substitute with store bought orange juice. About a half cup to a cup is fine. Pour over your meat. Add your spices and chopped onion.

Now to add your jalapeño If you want it more on the mild side, I recommend deveining the jalapeño. To do this, chop off the top of the pepper. Slice the pepper in half while on it’s side. Pull out all of the seeds and thinly slice the vein of the pepper off and discard both. Then chop your jalapeño as normal. Don’t be afraid to use a whole jalapeño. The pepper heat reduces a lot as it cooks.

Pro tip: Use gloves to stop the pepper oils from getting in your hand, Remember, never touch your face or sensitive areas while handling peppers.

Juice of One orange
Slow cooker pork carnitas

Serving and Storing

Your pork roast will cook on low for about 8 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when you can pull apart the meat with a fork. That’s right. Pork carnitas should be melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender when they are done.

Personally, my favorite way to serve pork carnitas is in soft tacos. There is nothing quite like warm, homemade flour tortilla tacos. I love topping them with cilantro and onion. I prefer to serve them with traditional spanish rice (yup, I have a recipe for that too) and charro beans. During the summer, I’ll often switch it up for a side of Mexican street corn. So yummy!

Store slowcooker pork carnitas in the fridge for 3 days in an air tight container.

Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Mexican pulled pork with fresh onion, jalapeño, and orange flavors.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 Pounds Pork butt or Pork Shoulder
  • 1 Large Orange Juiced
  • 1 Large Fresh Jalapeno Deveined, deseeded, and chopped
  • 1 Small White Onion Chopped
  • Salt. Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

Instructions
 

  • Place pork butt or pork shoulder whole in crock pot.
  • Juice one large and orange and pour over pork. May substitute ½ cup to 1 cup of store bought orange juice.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Scatter chopped onions.
  • Prepare jalapeño by cutting the top off and slicing lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cut out the pepper vein and discard. Chop remaining pepper and scatter in crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours.
Keyword carnitas, crockpot, crockpot recipes, mexican main dish, mexican recipes, pork, pork roast, pork tacos, pulled pork, slow cooker, tacos

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Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

This yummy, cheesy, bacon cheeseburger casserole is easy for weeknight dinners, potlucks and makes a great left over meal.

Okay folks, today I’m sharing one of my favorite weeknight recipes. It combines three of my favorite ingredients: cheese, beef, and bacon. It also calls for a can of cream of chicken soup. Let’s be honest, all great casseroles contain this creamy can of meaty goodness.

I found a similar recipe a few years back in a magazine and I’ve tweaked it over the years and it’s turned into this yummy recipe.

Jump to Recipe

Ingredients

So I find that ground beef with a higher fat content does better with this recipe. Normally, I’m an extra lean kind of girl. But since the meat will be cooked twice, the added fat helps keep the meat juicy. Otherwise, I find the meat tougher and dryer. Therefore, I recommend using 93% lean 7% fat. You’ll be draining off the excess fat, but that fat in the meat will keep it soft and tender.

Now let’s talk bacon. The recipe calls for a couple of strips of bacon. In a pinch you can buy bacon bits found in the salad section. But don’t use those God-awful fake orange ones. Use 100% real bacon. Hormel makes a decent one. Otherwise, I recommend using a couple of strips of actual bacon. No need to dirty another pan. Cut it up and add it to the meat. It also makes your meat extra flavorful. Drain off the excess fat.

bacon cheeseburger casserole

The recipe also calls for a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. You may wonder why were adding that to a cheeseburger casserole. Well something has to hold the casserole together. Condensed soup works well, even when diluted. If you prefer to use cream of mushroom, that would work too. I’ve used it when that’s all I had in the pantry! The condensed soup combined with a small amount of cheese really helps hold everything together.

Serving & Storing Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I have a habit of serving this recipe with baked bread, particularly biscuits, but this is already a heavy meal so there is no need to do that.

Like most casseroles, this stores very well in an airtight container for about 2-3 days. That’s another reason to use the fattier beef. If you plan on warming it up again in the microwave as leftovers, the fattier meat will continue to stay juicy. I’ll be honest though, we rarely have leftovers. My entire family scarfs it down. Even my one year old!

There have been times I’ve doubled the recipe just for the purpose of leftovers if we have a busy week.

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I love to think of this recipe of a modern day, American shepherds pie. A yummy ground beef casserole, topped with golden brown potatoes.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Cutting board
  • Casserole dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Lbs Ground Beef 93/7%
  • 3 Strips Bacon Chopped
  • Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese divided into 1/3s
  • 1 Can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 60 Frozen Tater Tots approx
  • ½ Small White Onion Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Minced
  • 1 Salt & Pepper To taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Cut bacon into small pieces and place in medium hot skillet with the ground beef.
  • Add garlic, salt & pepper, and chopped white onion
  • Continue frying until meat is browned and onion is translucent. Remove from heat.
  • Pour meat mixture into a casserole dish and spread evenly.
  • Take ⅓ cup of cheese (half of the cheese) and sprinkle it on top of meat mixture.
  • Place frozen tater tots in single file rows until all meat is covered.
  • Bake in oven for 35 minutes.
  • In the last five minutes of baking, sprinkle the remaining half of cheese on top tater tots and continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Keyword bacon, bacon casserole, bacon cheeseburger, beef casseroles, casserole, casserole recipes, cheddar cheese, cheesy casseroles, easy recipe, family favorite, leftovers, pot luck, potato recipes, shepherds pie, weeknight dinner
bacon cheeseburger casserole

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Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy green chili chicken enchiladas? Yes, please. Learn how to make this simple weeknight recipe in all it’s cheesy, creamy goodness.

I’m Hispanic. I don’t care what’s inside an enchilada – it’s the best and it’s hard to get it wrong! I love chicken enchiladas. Bu these creamy green chili chicken enchiladas are my favorite. Over the years, I’ve used this recipe to make different variations of my favorites. That’s what makes this recipe great. You can swap out the chilies for seasonal ones.

For example, one of my favorite things about the late summer here in Texas, is that Hatch Chilies are in season! They’re hot, but oh my goodness, they are wonderful roasted! Our local HEB grocery store, even fire roasts them for you in August.

I also love using poblano peppers at times. Poblano peppers are kind of a wild card though. Every now and then, you get some real hot ones!

Making Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

I love this recipe because it can be a great use for left over baked or rotisserie chicken. My local grocery store actually sells shredded rotisserie chicken that is already shredded for you. They even separate white from dark meat if you want it. Come on, it can’t get easier than that. HEB has totally spoiled me.

I make this recipe for weeknight dinners. It’s about 20-30 mins of prep time, with a 30 min cook time. But I’ll tell you a secret, if you are in a pinch with time you can create an enchilada casserole instead. You’ll need the same ingredients, but instead of rolling the enchiladas, you later them. A layer of tortillas, followed by chicken and cheese, then sauce, then continue layering. Top with cheese. The cook time is the same. It’s just as good but you can cut the prep time to about 10 mins or less.

shredded c

Serving

I love to pair this dish with other Mexican staples like charro beans and Spanish Rice. In a prior post, I provide my family’s recipe for Perfect Spanish rice. I also love to top this dish with pico de gallo.

If you’re worried about it being too hot with the pico, simply leave out the jalapeños and just make it with tomato, onion, and cilantro.

Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy green chili chicken enchiladas? Yes, please. Learn how to make this simple weeknight recipe in all it's cheesy, creamy goodness.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 20 Enchiladas

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz Sour cream
  • 1 Lb Shredded chicken
  • 20 Corn tortillas
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 10oz Can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3.5 Cups Bag of Mexican shredded cheese perferably Kraft
  • 1 4oz Can of diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz Can of Verde (green) enchilada sauce
  • 1 Cup Pico de gallo optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350. Lower the racks down so that the dish will be in the center.
  • In a large bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, verde enchilada sauce, and sour cream . Whisk well until fully blended.
  • Spray a large baking dish (9×13) with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  • In a large bowl, add shredded chicken. Drain green chilies and add to chicken. Blend well and set aside.
  • Separate 2 cups of shredded cheese. Set the rest aside.
  • On a work surface, lay a tortilla flat. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese lengthwise. Then add the chicken mixture. Carefully roll the tortilla and place it seam side down. The cheese will help hold the enchilada together as it cooks.
  • Continue with all the tortillas until finished. If you're using a smaller dish, you can add a second row on top.
  • Pour the cream enchilada sauce mixture all over the enchiladas. Top with the remainder of the cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and thoroughly cooked.
  • Serve with charro beans and spanish rice. Garnish with pico de gallo, if you wish
Keyword chicken enchiladas, creamy enchiladas, enchiladas, green chili, poblano enchiladas, weeknight dinner
creamy green chili chicken enchiladas

Storing & Reheating

You can prepare the enchiladas for advance. This is particularly great for dinner parties. Roll the enchiladas, but store in the fridge without the sauce. When you’re ready to heat, pour the sauce and pop in the oven.

These enchiladas store fairly well. You can even freeze them in a good, air tight container suitable for freezer storage. I recommend keeping the enchiladas for no longer than three days in the fridge. They warm up better in the oven than in the microwave though.


I hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s one of my favorites. Don’t forget to e-mail subscribe for more recipes and freebies!

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Shrimp & Crawfish Étouffée

Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee is a delightful seafood dish with peppers, onions and Cajun spices. Serve over fluffy white rice.

Shrimp crawfish Etouffee

Etouffee is a classic Cajun dish. If you’re a beginner to Cajun cooking, this dish is for you! Crawfish Etouffee is the most common combination, but this dish also incorporates shrimp. Crawfish Étouffée is perfect for weeknight dinners because it’s made in about 30 minutes.

Make Etouffee with a simple roux. To make a roux, brown flour with oil or butter. A dark roux makes a darker the sauce. Tender onions and bell peppers sautéed with garlic and paprika, round out the dish.

Hint: When using shrimp, remove excess water by draining in a colander before cooking

Serve Etoufee over white rice. You don’t need a rice cooker. Make perfect rice by adding one cup of rice, 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Do not stir rice. Stirring makes rice clumpy. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until all water is gone (about 15-20 mins).

Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee

Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee is a classic Cajun dish. The secret is in the roux. Crawfish and shrimp are slowly simmered in a light roux sauce with garlic, onion, bell pepper and Cajun spices. 
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp All purpose flour
  • 1 Lbs Crawfish meat
  • 1/2 Lbs Shrimp Tail off, deveined, drained
  • 1 Sm Onion Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Bell pepper Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Minced
  • 1 Cup Chicken broth
  • 1/3 Cup Green Onions Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika

Instructions
 

  • Rinse and drain crawfish and shrimp in colander 
  • In a deep skillet, on medium heat, add oil.
  • Slowly add flour. Continue cooking until brown, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. It should be a deep golden brown.
  • Add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook until tender.
  • Slowly add chicken broth, stirring between pours to make sure there are no clumps. 
  • Add Paprika, shrimp and crawfish and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until sauce thickens.
  • Serve over white rice
Keyword bellpepper, cajun, crawfish, etouffee, onion, shrimp

Looking for more recipes? Try White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Shrimp and Crawfish Etoufee first appeared on My Beautiful Mess