Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Three Cheese Chicken Casserole
Sunday dinner. First we had to cook down the crabapples. Now, that's a fun story :-) Then, we had to make slices of happiness. Done. Now, what to fix? Raw lamb shoulder made into Tandoori Style Lamb? Nope, no yogurt. Well, then, how about the cooked lamb? Ummm, no yogurt to make tzatziki sauce. Well, then, there's a rotisserie chicken in the fridge downstairs. Great, we'll make Chicken Elegante. Umm, no frozen chopped broccoli. Did I use the chutney in the fridge? It'd make great chicken salad? Chutney was there but chicken salad wasn't happening. Probably because the greens for the base of the salad were at work... Well, now, we were not having any luck here, were we? How about the fried salami sandwiches from 5 in 5? The provolone is at the office. The salami and peppers and ciabatta are at home. But, alas, not the provolone. Fine, we'll make chicken green bean casserole. Except there's no cream of chicken soup. We do, however have cream of mushroom soup. And, leftover mushrooms. Maybe I could find another casserole...
Yeah, so you're probably wondering about the crabapples. They're pesky little things. About halfway between a raisin and a grape. And, we have a zillion of them. Three crabapple trees. So, one evening we got home and grabbed an old sheet from the junque pile. It went onto the ground below the best bearing crab apple. Then, we started shaking the tree. And, grabbing handfuls of crabapples from the tree. Finally, our arms wore out. We didn't feel like we had many crabapples. Then, we picked up our haul. Maybe we could cook down the whole mess? Until I checked online and found out that the leaves and stems have a toxic substance when consumed in large amounts. So, it was time to pick out the leaves and stems. To the deck we went. Here's what this all looked like.
Now, the crabapples have been cooked down with just enough water to cover. I've got about five cups of juice that I'll cook with sugar and turn into crabapple jelly. But, that's for tomorrow! Into the fridge with the crabapple juice and on with dinner.
Hunting thru my scanned recipes I found one from Taste of Home called Three Cheese Chicken Bake. Not only did (and do) I have peppers from the garden to use up but there were leftover sautéed mushrooms from Saturday evening. And, there was cottage cheese in the fridge to use up. And, a half a bag of wide egg noodles. Perfect. Along the way I added a good dose of dry sherry. And, I put in a whole medium onion and the equivalent of a large green bell pepper instead of the half cup the recipe called for. Oh, and I still had that box of Corn Flakes. Corn Flakes and garlic butter instead of buttered bread crumbs - Yum! Maybe if I could have that for breakfast I'd eat cereal!
What did we think? We loved this. I know there are some really wonderful casseroles out there. Maybe even some we could call elegant. This is not elegant. This is good, old-fashioned comfort food. This will go into our regular rotation.
Three Cheese Chicken Bake
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained (or better yet, 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced and sautéed)
1 2 oz jar chopped pimentos
2 t dried basil
1/4 c dry sherry (not cooking sherry!)
4 oz - 8 oz wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
3 c cooked chicken, diced
2 c ricotta or cottage cheese
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded Parmesan, divided
1 c Corn Flakes, crushed
2 T butter, melted
1/2 t garlic powder
Sautee the onion and green pepper in the olive oil. Once they're softened, set the pan aside and allow them to cool a bit. Heat your oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients through the cheddar cheese. Add 1/2 c of the Parmesan. Mix just until it's all mixed together. The recipe actually calls for mixing the sauce first then mixing it in with the noodles, chicken etc. I didn't do that because it meant another dirty bowl... Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Top it first with the rest of the shredded Parmesan, then the crushed corn flakes, then drizzle it with the garlic butter. Bake for 40 minutes.
adapted from Taste of Home