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Chicken Tetrazzini

I learned to make this from Frances Handin at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Bryan, Texas. It is the church where Nicholas and Fallon were christened. Actually, I went into labor with Fallon at church on Sunday, October 24, 1993! Frances was known for making these and delivering them to people when they were ill or had a family emergency. She brought one to us when Fallon was born. I began making it for our family after that. It is still one of my favorite comfort foods.

Prep
Cook
Serves 12people
Ingredients
2
(3 lb) or heavier) chickens (cook with onion and celery)
18
oz thin spaghetti
1/4
lb butter
1/2
cup flour
3
cups milk
1
lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1
medium onion, chopped
1
green bell pepper, chopped
2
can (4 oz) of mushrooms or 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sauteed
1
small jar pimientos, chopped
buttered Ritz cracker crumbs
salt
white pepper
Directions
1.
Boil chicken with onion and celery. Reserve stock. Debone and cut chicken into fairly large pieces. Cook spaghetti in 2 qts. chicken stock until tender (follow directions on package). Make cream sauce by blending butter and flour; add milk slowly while heating (using a whisk). After the sauce has begun to thicken, add cheeses. Season with salt and white pepper. Cook onion and green pepper in reserved mushroom juice. Add chicken to drained spaghetti, then cream sauce and mushrooms; add onions and pepper. Add pimientos. Butter two 3 qt. casserole dishes. Divide the mixture evenly between them. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then add buttered RItz crumbs atop. Continue baking for another 10 minutes or until crackers are golden brown on top.
2.
The secret to this recipe is in the seasoning! Taste carefully to be sure you have the right amount of salt and white pepper. It can handle quite a bit of white pepper but go slowly until you figure out your taste. This freezes really well.

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