Make it Natural: Chicken Tetrazzini with Green Peas and Chives



Along with cooler weather, fall brings a yearning for comfort foods. Sometimes those old favorites can use a fresh makeover! Jennifer wrote asking for help in making her family's favorite chicken tetrazzini a more healthful, lower sodium recipe. We made this beloved casserole healthier by cutting back on the cheese, using whole grain pasta, and making a sauce from scratch rather than using canned cream of chicken soup. The results are delicious!Check out the full recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini with Green Peas and Chives opens in a new tab and let us know what you think.We think this dish is perfect for making on the weekend and then baking later when you're crunched for time. Casseroles are great for combining protein, carbs and veggies in a single dish. Just serve with a green salad and the meal is done.If you don't have any leftover chicken in your fridge, you can pick up some cooked chicken from our Prepared Foods case or use part of a rotisserie chicken. Of course, it's also very simple to cook some up yourself. Just place a couple of uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a baking dish with about 1/2 cup of water, cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes until cooked through. Do this step first and the chicken will be ready by the time you have the rest of the casserole prepped.With a few changes to Jennifer's original recipe, we were able to increase the fiber, lower the fat and decrease the sodium. Here's how:

  • More fiber

    • By using whole grain pasta and cutting the amount in half, we were able to increase fiber by 6 grams while lowering total calories and carbohydrates.

  • Less fat

    • Using Parmesan cheese (made from skimmed or partially skimmed milk) in place of Colby jack cheese (from whole milk) and using less of it (due to Parm's rich, sharp flavor) saved calories, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
    • Replacing cream of chicken soup with one cup low-sodium chicken broth saved calories, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

  • Lower sodium

    • Substituting Parmesan for Colby jack cheese and using less cheese altogether reduced sodium.
    • Using fresh chicken breast rather than canned saved sodium.
    • Cutting the cream of chicken soup and using low-sodium broth in its place helps cut back on sodium.

  • Adding mushrooms and peas to the recipe helped improve the overall nutrient density, heartiness and flavor.

Give this delicious version of chicken tetrazzini a try and let us know what you think. Did you miss the recipe? Here's the full Chicken Tetrazzini with Green Peas and Chives opens in a new tab.Got a recipe that needs a natural makeover? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe for a healthy makeover and publish the improved version on our website, we'll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card.

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