After being busy for weeks it seems that things have finally slowed down a bit where I actually have the time and energy to do some blogging. After writing for 10 hours a day sometimes I just don’t have the energy or will to sit in front of the computer anymore and blog even though I really enjoy it. Hopefully I can have some more time to do some in the coming days and weeks. We’ll have to see what the work schedule brings along. With the craziness behind me for now, I have had some time to cook a few new things lately, including this recipe from Cook’s Country that I made last night for chicken noodle casserole. Granted, this dish combines two ingredients I personally don’t eat myself – cheese and noodles – but Michelle and Sean both love them and I had all of the right ingredients on hand to have a go at the recipe and see what I could do with it. It seemed simple enough to make so it was worth a shot.
Chicken Noodle Casserole
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and trimmed
4 ounces deli American cheese, chopped coarse
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
25 Ritz crackers, crushed coarse
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add the noodles and 1 tablespoon of salt and cook, stirring often, until the noodles are just al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water until they are cool, about 2 minutes. Drain the noodles again and set them aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the now empty pot over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, carrot and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set them aside. In the now-empty pot, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half and chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until it is no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the pot from the heat, transfer the chicken to a plate, and shred the chicken into bite-size pieces once it is cool enough to handle. Whisk the American and cheddar cheeses into the sauce until it is smooth. Stir the shredded chicken, noodles, bell pepper mixture, peas, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 1/4 teaspoons of pepper into the cheese sauce.
Transfer the mixture to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and top with the Ritz crackers. Bake the casserole until it is golden brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let the casserole cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve.
It was very simple to make and the whole dish comes together in about 45 minutes. I actually used some leftover chicken that we had on hand and sped the process up even more, just warming it in the sauce for 2 minutes instead of having to cook it all the way through. even though I personally didn’t eat any, I have to admit that it looked pretty good and Michelle and Sean both had seconds so I guess it tasted good too. This recipe makes a lot, with a suggested serving of 8 to 10 people, so if you don’t want a lot of leftovers you can cut it down to half. While they had the casserole, I had a soft shell crab sandwich and slaw, which I will share the recipe for tomorrow.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!