Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday Dinner: Make-Ahead Chicken Casserole
mmmmm - Mennonite comfort food is more like it. This is an easy casserole with macaroni, chicken, and veggies that has to soak overnight before baking. It does call for a can of cream of mushroom soup, which I do not buy or cook with; that can be replaced with a homemade extra-thick white sauce, or a homemade cream soup mix from Simply in Season which is what I used. (Just say the word and I'll post the recipe if you want.)
thaw turkey (picked off the Thanksgiving turkey bones)
cook up the cream soup
set casserole on timed bake
open up cranberry sauce
Now a word about that canned cranberry sauce: I keep some on hand to make sandwiches with. It's great with brie and spinach. However, in a pinch, it works well as a tart sauce. There is going to be a lot of pinching around here because I am starting to teach another eight-week ESL class today. In other times, I would have made cranberry applesauce. It's something I'm thinking a lot about right now - the trade offs I make between family, teaching, and homekeeping.
Updated, with recipe:
Make-Ahead Chicken Casserole (tweaked from Mennonite Country-Style Recipes)
Combine in greased 8x12:
1- 2 c. diced cooked chicken/turkey
1.5 cups uncooked macaroni
3/4 c. grated sharp cheese
1 10 oz. can cream of chicken soup OR 1 and 1/4 c. cup very thick white sauce OR cream soup substitute below
2 c. milk and chicken stock combined
1/2 c. celery or parsley, chopped
2-3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
1/2 - 1 chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning (or sage and thyme)
Allow to sit in fridge at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Can double and bake in 9x13 (increase baking time 20 minutes).
I think this is a flexible recipe - it's just basically heating the casserole through, so you want to be sure you have a good ratio of solids to liquids. The first time I made it, I added more macaroni and milk instead of hardboiled eggs. I have never used the full amount of chicken, just increased the poultry seasoning. I used fresh parsley this time instead of celery, making the casserole much prettier. I think there's room with experimenting with peas or carrots too.
Cream Soup Substitute - - from Simply in Season
Mix and store, covered, in fridge:
2 c. dry milk powder
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. dry bouillion
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. dried minced onion
To use as one 10-ounce can of cream soup, combine 1 and 1/4 c. cold water with 1/3 cup mix in saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until thick.