Thinking back, one of my first cooking experiences was with Mom over scrambled eggs. I was so thrilled to be old enough to help with breakfast after only gazing up watching for the early years. I remember being so proud to hold the spatula and stir through the runny yellow mixture in anticipation of the fluffiness to appear when finished. What fun I had in the kitchen with her, learning new techniques & creating many warm memories. Her recipes are a way to connect with her once more in special place.

This week our meal plan included creamy chicken-noodle casserole with spinach & mushrooms. We often would have casseroles, which would undoubtedly warm us up during the chill of winter days. The original recipe is for 6 servings, so with our little family it is slightly scaled down.

Combine 2 chicken breast halves, about 1 1/1 cups chicken broth, 2 minced garlic cloves, bay leaf in large saucepan. Simmer about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken & cool. Shred chicken. Reserve cooking liquid.

Whisk 1/3 cup flour & cornstarch in saucepan. Add 1 cup milk; whisk until smooth. Stir in 1 cup milk, 1 tsp tarragon, 1 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and 1 cup reserved cooking liquid. Stir until mixture thickens about 5 mins over med heat. Add 1/4 cup dry white wine & stir about 2 mins longer. Remove from heat & stir in 1/2 package of thawed frozen spinach (which can be thawed & squeezed dry, steamed, cooked) and shredded chicken.

Preheat oven to 400 & add olive oil to 11×7 cooking dish. Cook 4 oz spinach fettuccine, drain, and return to pot. Add 1 cup sliced mushrooms to fettuccine along with chicken & spinach mixture. Mix together & add salt & pepper to taste. Transfer to baking dish.

Heat 1 1/2 tsp olive oil in small skillet and add 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs to toast. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake about 20 minutes. Let stand to cool and add 1/4 cup parmesan to top of casserole before serving.