Saturday, June 25, 2011

Girls Night Dinner

Last night, a girlfriend came over for dinner. We had chicken tetrazzini, salad, and garlic cheese bread with peach cake for dessert.
My friend and I both thought the chicken tetrazzini was very delicious. Today, I reheated some leftovers for lunch, and Brad asked me if I liked it. I told him I thought it was really good. He said if he ordered it a restaurant, he'd be disappointed. I was crestfallen. I worked so hard on it, and I thought it was sooo good. Then I took a bite. It is DELICIOUS right out of the oven. It looses a lot in the storage/ reheating process. The pasta absorbs a lot of the liquid and the flavors, and the breadcrumb topping gets soggy. Brad described it as a casserole with cream of mushroom soup in it, and, after trying it reheated, I don't disagree.

... so I highly recommend this recipe IF you are going to be able to eat it all in the first sitting. The recipe makes a FULL 13x9 inch pan, so unless you are feeding a family of seven, or have teen aged sons, cutting the recipe in half is probably a good idea.

Chicken Tetrazzini
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup flour
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups grated Italian Cheese Blend
12 ounces linguine
3/4 cup frozen peas1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (if desired, which I usually don't)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish. Set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil over medium high heat in a deep large skillet. Combine 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and sprinkle over chicken breasts. Place in hot pan until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate to cool slightly. When cool, shred chicken or cut into bite sized pieces, and place in a large bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil to the same pan. Add mushrooms, and saute over medium high heat until the mushrooms release their juices and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the entire mixture into the bowl with the chicken.

Melt the final 3 tablespoons of butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk together. It will be clumpy. Whisk in the milk. Add cream, broth, nutmeg, and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase heat to high until the mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir often. Add Italian cheese and stir.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add linguine, peas, sauce, and parsley to the bowl with the mushrooms mixture and the chicken. Toss until the pasta is coated and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Stir together the Parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

For dessert, we had peach cake. We ate it warm, with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Peach Cake
2/3 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
4 medium peaches, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 13x9 inch pan. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture alternating with the buttermilk, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in the peaches by hand. Pour the batter into the pan. In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

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