Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lighten up the Comfort Food

It's that time of year when you start watching your intake, due to that thing called a resolution, and that whole viscous cycle begins again.  

Wouldn't it be grand if you could enjoy foods that not only taste great, are comforting, and not to mention not damaging to that new resolve you may have put in place.  Oh and by the way have I failed to mention, may even be kind of simple to prepare.  

OK you may be giving me the old stink eye about now, but I am being completely serious, how might I gauge this, ok mom, I'm selling you under the bus.  If she can prepare it without difficulty, then it that hits the simple meter, and if my brother eats it and has no idea that it is healthy and reduced in calories, then we have a winner. 

The recipe I have to share is quite delicious, and transforms this classic into two casseroles one for now and freeze one for later. Best part pick up a rotisserie chicken and the hard part is put aside. 

Chicken Tetrazzini

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Cooking spray
1 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup celery, finely chopped
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3- 8 oz packages pre-sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup all-purpose flour 
3-14.5 oz cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
4 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
 1 pound uncooked linguine
4 cups cooked chicken breast (from a rotisserie bird)
1 slice white bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, black pepper, salt, and mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add wine; cook 1 minute.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Gradually add flour to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly (mixture will be thick) with a whisk. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  4.  Add 1 ¾ cups Parmesan cheese and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until cream cheese melts. Add pasta and chicken; stir until blended. Divide pasta mixture between 2 (8-inch-square) glass or ceramic baking dishes coated with cooking spray.
  5. Place bread in food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form. Combine breadcrumbs and ½ cup Parmesan cheese; sprinkle evenly over pasta.
  6. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Remove casserole from oven; let stand 15 minutes.
  7. To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through Step 5. Cool completely in refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.
  8. To prepare frozen unbaked casserole: Thaw casserole completely in refrigerator (about 24 hours). Preheat oven to 350°. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover casserole with reserved foil; bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 1 hour or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minute.
If you wish to only make one casserole, half your ingredients before starting, and then continue.  But if you can just make both and freeze the second, it will make life easy for you.