Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini (Photo courtesy Southern Living)
Growing up in the Heart of Dixie, I can recall seeing copies of Southern Living Magazine lying on coffee tables in many homes that I visited. And of course, the respectable kitchens had a copy of The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. It was probably the first real cookbook that I had to have when I got married and had a kitchen of my own.
Southern Living has been the quintessential guide for helping Southerners beautify our gardens, making our homes more welcoming, and gracing our tables with delicious food for almost fifty years. Throughout the years I found myself tearing out pages of recipes from my copies of Southern Living and putting them in a binder.
It is always nice when Southern Living comes out with a new cookbook full of recipes to try. Recently I was sent a copy of Southern Living Heirloom Recipe Cookbook: The Food We Love From The Times We Treasure to review. It is a 336 page paperback book with full-color pictures of classic dishes and sprinkled with a few stories of southern life.
The chapters are organized as follows:
- Cocktail Hour “it’s always five o’clock somewhere in the South” – Among the recipes are Iced Tea, Zesty Bloody Mary, Orange-Champagne Cocktail, Sugared Pecans, Olive-Cheese Sandwiches, Chicken Salad in Swiss Cheese Puffs, and Oysters Rockefeller.
- Cherished Breads “baked goods that make the heart grow fonder” – Here you will find Southern Cheddar Spoon Bread, Favorite Southern Cornbread, Refrigerator Bran Muffins, Blueberry Streusel Muffins, Orange Rolls, Sour Cream Crescent Rolls, Quick Monkey Bread, Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, and others that are sure to make you want to start baking.
- Memorable Mains “pass-down recipes loved by generations of Southerners” – Dixie Fried Chicken, Chicken Kiev, Smothered Quail, Beef Wellington, Pepper Steak, Veal Marsala, Stuffed Peppers, Crispy Fried Catfish, Classic Trout Amandine, Shrimp Creole, Pork Chops with Cream Gravy, and several other will help you figure out how to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”
- All the Fixin’s “sumptuous side dishes that also make great veggie plate medleys” – With recipes such as Summer Fruit Salad, Marinated Vegetable Salad, Green Goddess Salad, Fresh Green Beans Amandine, Baked Beans, Fried Okra, Creamed Spinach, Macaroni Au Gratin, Delicious Black Eyed Peas, and Sweet Potato Casserole you might find it difficult to pick only three or four for one meal.
- Covered Dish Classics “one-dish favorites for family dinners and potlucks” – Chicken Divan, Chicken-Wild Rice Casserole, King Ranch Chicken, Beef Stroganoff, Shepherd’s Pie, Italian Sausage Lasagna, and Jambalaya are just a few of the hearty dishes in this section.
Smoky Mountain Brunswick Stew
- Blue-Ribbon Desserts “no Southern sit-down is ever complete without something sweet to eat” – This is probably my favorite chapter, because I have a sweet tooth, and because of recipes like Perfect Chocolate Cake, Million Dollar Pound Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Lemon Bars, Congo Squares (I remember my sister making those), Chocolate Cream Pie, and too many more to mention.
South Carolina Coconut Cream Pie
- Holiday Traditions “recipes that become food memories of family celebrations” – This chapter has all the recipes you will need to make your holidays special. Recipes include Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing, Giblet Gravy, Perfect Prime Rib, Roast Leg of Lamb, Sausage-Cornbread Dressing, Holiday Cranberry Salad, Green Bean Casserole, Classic Cheese Soufflé, Favorite Pecan Pie, Chocolate Yule Log, Classic Eggnog, and Divinity.
- The Larder “from pickles to jam, preserving garden goodness is a Southern tradition” – This chapter has recipes for Bread-and-Butter Pickles, Watermelon Rind Pickles, Okra Pickles, Nannie’s Chowchow, Freezer Strawberry Jam, Muscadine Jam, and several others to help you preserve your garden goodies.
I tried out the recipe for Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini. I substituted a gluten-free pasta for the regular spaghetti noodles and cut back on the cheese. It was quite delicious, but I think I should have used all of the cheese per the recipe instructions.
Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 3/4 tsp. salt divided
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 4 skinned and boned chicken breasts cut into 1?2-inch cubes
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 7 oz. uncooked spaghetti
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 medium-size green bell pepper chopped
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 10 3/4-oz. can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 8-oz. package sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 2-oz. jar diced pimiento, drained
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 cups 12 oz. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring halfway through.
Combine 1 cup water, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes or until done. Drain chicken, discarding liquid.
Combine olive oil, 6 cups water, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti, and cook 10 minutes or until almost tender. Drain well.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add bell pepper, and sauté until tender. Gradually whisk in flour until blended. Gradually whisk in milk, next 6 ingredients, and 2 cups Cheddar cheese until blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in chicken.
Spread half of spaghetti into prepared baking dish; spread half of chicken mixture over spaghetti. Repeat layers.
Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and almonds; bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
***Recipe reprinted with permission.
Southern Living Heirloom Recipe Cookbook: The Food We Love From The Times We Treasure would be a nice gift for someone starting out or for someone who wants to add to his or her collection of fine Southern recipes. It is available at your favorite bookstore or at Amazon.com.