pink peony

pink peony
old-fashioned peony

Friday, January 16, 2015

Betty's Best

This morning I found a carton of whipping cream hiding in the back of the fridge, left from last month's Christmas shopping. Seeing that it needed to be used right away, I decided to NOT make something sweet (which neither of us needs. We ate the last two Date Pinwheel cookies last night and shall be OFF sweets for a while.) Instead, I pulled out my favorite-of-all-time cookbook, dear ole Betty, because she holds one of my secrets.
Betty has been with me a long time, as you can readily see, and she's been with me through thick and thin, figuratively speaking, through everything from too-thick oatmeal to too-thin gravy and all my successes and failures in between. I always call on her for some of my favorite stand-bys. And that's what I did this morning; Betty has the best recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini ever. And yes, you guessed it -- it's the whipping cream that makes this special!

I've made Betty's tetrazzini many times without whipping cream, simply substituting milk or half and half (or a combination of the two)in the white sauce. And it turns out okay. But, oh, my goodness, when I happen to have whipping cream on hand, this dish is elevated to the level where it belongs!
I never have the sherry that the recipe mentions, so I just add a bit more chicken stock. And of course, homemade chicken stock is FAR better than anything out of a carton or can. There is simply no comparison to the taste. But again, when I don't have homemade, I blithely open that can. This morning, though, I had it all (except the sherry.)
Everyone in our family loves this tetrazzini, from the youngest to the oldest. If you have a carton of whipping cream languishing in your fridge, here's a great way to use it:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sherry (in case you have it!)
7 oz. spaghetti, cooked and drained
2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey (both are good)
1 3-oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in saucepan, then stir in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in stock and cream and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook and stir one minute. Combine spaghetti, mushrooms and sauce and pour into 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until casserole is bubbly.