Chicken Tetrazinni, With Dairy and Without

This delicious casserole can be prepared ahead of time and, with a few substitutions and omissions can be made dairy-free.For supper last week, I made chicken tetrazinni, a family favorite that can also be made with turkey, for the first time in a long time. After his first bite, the Man of Steel decided he wanted it made again for his birthday meal extravaganza to be held in a few weeks. Because the dish can 1) be prepared ahead of time, and 2) be made in dairy and non-dairy versions (at least 3 of those attending steer clear of dairy), I was thrilled. In honor of the upcoming celebratory event, here’s the recipe for chicken tetrazinni, with notes about how to make the non-dairy version, too.

Chicken Tetrazzini

2 – 3 cups cooked, deboned, cubed chicken
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (omit this ingredient in the dairy-free version)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter (dairy-free version uses Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup green or sweet red pepper, chopped
12 ounces spaghetti
6 slices of bread, toasted and cubed
1/4 cup melted butter (dairy-free version uses Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put cubed chicken and cheese (omit for dairy-free version) in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain. Rinse with cold water and place in pan with turkey and cheese. Stir well.

While spaghetti is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons of butter or Earth Balance in a sauce pan. Add onions and pepper. Saute until onions are transparent. Add flour and mix well. Slowly add broth, whisking and stirring constantly until it boils. Let it boil gently for one minute. Pour sauce over noodle/meat/cheese mixture and stir well.

Toast the bread and cut into cubes. Drizzle with 1/4 cup melted butter or Earth Balance and stir well. Sprinkle croutons over the noodle mixture. Bake for 1/2 hour.

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