I love casseroles. Maybe it's because, in my mind, casseroles equal comfort food. Something about all those ingredients bubbling in the oven, with the flavors melding together. Then again it might be the fact that most casseroles involve some kind of pasta, and I love pasta! And cheese, gotta have cheese in a casserole. Well my chicken casserole says comfort food to the max . . . and of course it has pasta and cheese. Here's the recipe.
2 cups cooked chicken (I used thighs)
8 cups cooked egg noodles (PASTA!)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (CHEESE!)
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
Now, I have to confess that I had planned to take pictures of every step of this recipe from start to finish. Problem is, my camera batteries were dead and I searched our house and couldn't find two good AA batteries. So, I wound up taking a couple pictures with my cell phone of the casserole right before I baked it. Not that you NEED step-by-step pictures. I mean, this is pretty basic stuff people. However, I remember when I first got married and couldn't cook at all. Believe me, I wish there had been food blogs back then! I NEEDED STEP-BY-STEP PICTURES!!!!!
As we are a "dark meat" family, I boiled 6 chicken thighs for about 30-40 minutes in salted water. Then I brought another pan of water to a boil, cooked my dried egg noodles until al dente, then drained them. Since this casserole is going to be baked, you don't want to overcook the noodles. While the meat and noodles were cooking, I chopped my onion and celery. (To be brutally honest, while the chicken was boiling and the pasta was boiling and I was chopping celery and onion, I was ALSO peeling about 50 pounds of tomatoes for salsa, but that is for another post! Much thanks to my mom (LOVE YOU!) for coming out and helping me peel tomatoes. I have 10 gallon of peeled tomatoes sitting in my refrigerator right now and I will be making and canning salsa tonight!)
After your chicken is cooked, peel the skin off, cut the meat into bite sized pieces, and place in a large bowl. Seriously, when I say large bowl, I mean large bowl. This recipe makes a lot of chicken casserole and it will be difficult to stir if you don't use a large bowl. To the chicken add your cooked noodles, cream of chicken soup, celery, onion, one cup of the broth from boiling the chicken, sour cream, one cup of the cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and put in a large casserole dish. A 9x13 works great, but, I used my new Le Creuset oval casserole dish! This is my first piece of Le Creuset enameled stoneware and I will tell you that I am VERY impressed. Spray the pan with cooking spray before adding the ingredients. Spread one cup of cheese over the top of the casserole and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
This casserole is very basic, but delicious. You could even put the casserole together the night before, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you get home from work and then bake it. I wish I had a picture of the baked casserole but the vultures were circling, I mean, my husband and kids were starving, so you'll just have to trust me when I say it was golden and bubbly and delicious! Serve this with a salad and bread and you've got a meal fit for vultures, I mean a king!