Monday, March 7, 2016

Easy Economical Chicken Casserole - Chicken Tetrazzini

Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner!
Casserole dishes are hearty and simple to make using ingredients you'll likely find in your pantry. Filled with chicken,  pasta and mushroom soup, this is a family favorite. Quick and economical, too.

As a mother of five children, my mother-in-law perfected the art of stretching a food budget. When it came to serving economical, hearty and simply delicious meals for her family, she was the queen.
Shortly after my marriage she sent a gift that would keep on giving for years: a care package with a recipe card along with the dry ingredients needed to prepare this dish. 
Baked Chicken Tetrazzini
Included was a glass, oven proof casserole dish, a box of spaghetti, Ritz crackers, a can of cooked boned chicken and a can of cream of mushroom soup. The remaining perishable ingredients were in the refrigerator: milk, butter and shredded cheese.
From those basic ingredients, I was able to create a casserole that I would make many times over the years. Here are the instructions and ingredients you'll need to make this dish. I hope you try this recipe out.
Use a baggie to crust the crackers.
1/2 Package of Spaghetti (8 oz.) Or substitute any other pasta that your family enjoys.
1 Cup of Cooked Shredded Chicken (Canned, baked, rotisserie style or turkey works, too.)
1 Can of Creamed Soup, Mushroom, Celery or Creamed Chicken
1 Cup of Milk or Chicken Broth or a combination with half of each
1/2 to 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Sleeve of Ritz Crackers (I've used crushed potato chips or other types of crackers) Crushed
2 Tablespoons of Butter for the top of the crust
  • Cook the spaghetti according to the directions until it's firm, not mushy. This is usually about nine minutes once the water comes to a boil.
  • Drain the pasta and pour it back into the warm pan.
  • Pour in half a cup of milk; add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Open the canned mushroom soup and stir it into the cooked spaghetti
  • Add about half a can of water.
  • Add the can of cooked chicken to the mixture and stir gently.
  • Pour the combination into a greased, oven-proof casserole dish
  • Grate some cheddar cheese over the top or use prepared shredded cheese if desired.
  • Top the casserole with a layer of crushed Ritz Crackers and dot the surface with a little butter.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees about thirty-five minutes or until bubbly.
Hot and Delicious!

The dish can be made with any pasta your family likes: Rotini or rigatoni, egg noodles or elbow macaroni. No matter what shape or brand of pasta you choose, the dish turns out delicious.
Any type of milk is fine to use: regular, two-percent, skim or fat-free. You can substitute chicken stock or evaporated milk with a little water added. 
Instead of mushroom soup, you can use cream of celery soup, cream of broccoli or cheese soup.
For a little color, I like to add about 1/4 cup of frozen green peas or carrots into the mixture before pouring it into the casserole dish to bake. You can spice it up as desired with garlic, onion salt, celery pieces, mushrooms or by adding a variety of leftover veggies.

Served with a cup of fresh fruit or a small salad, this makes a filling, economical meal.


  1. I remember having things like this growing up, so it sure brings back memories. Now being gluten intolerant, I have to be a little creative sometimes, but at least there are more things available on the market now.

    1. Hi Deb, The great thing about recipes like this one is the ability to substitute alternate ingredients like gluten-free pasta. I found some GF Rotini at Aldi's the other day and tried it out. It wasn't bad! It was made out of corn meal.

  2. Mmm Mmm Enjoyed this. Thank you.

    1. I saved you a large portion. Iced tea to go with that? Apple pie for dessert.

  3. Another winner...sounds perfect for Sunday dinner or a lovely dinner party...thanks, dear Peg.

    1. I love making Chicken Tetrazzini on a cool day. It smells great baking in the oven. Thank you, Maria.