So yesterday afternoon I was thinking about what to make for dinner. Wasn’t so excited about having to take time to make something, since I was in the middle of taking care of a bunch of other things. With a lack of enthusiasm, it’s hard to come up with something to make!
I knew I wanted it to be something with chicken– we haven’t had any in a while and I had some chicken I needed to use. All I could think of were chicken strips or sautéed chicken, but I wasn’t feeling it. Then I remembered one of my favorite go-to recipes: chicken casserole! And I happened to have all of the ingredients I needed to make it (ok, well, most of the ingredients so I made some easy substitutions).
I’ve adapted my chicken casserole recipe from one that my mom used to use to make tuna casserole. It turns out my husband and I both like it with chicken better, so for the last 3 years or so I’ve only ever made it with chicken. This recipe is pretty easy, and great if you need a quick meal.
2 cans Condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup Milk
2 cups Cooked peas
1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
12 oz Egg noodles – cooked
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
French’s French fried onions
Garlic Salt to taste
The first thing to note about these ingredients is the cream of mushroom soup. I used to use Campbell’s, but then I have learned that they might not be halal. The Campbell’s website in Canada identifies which of their soups is halal, and the condensed creme of mushroom soup is not marked; however, their “Ready to Enjoy” cream of mushroom soup is– but that might be too soupy for this recipe. The Muslim Consumer Group website lists Walmart’s Great Value brand condensed cream of mushroom soup as halal, Another alternative is to make your own; see recipe at bottom of this post).
My next note is the cheese (you can see my prior post on halal cheeses here which will open in a new window). I generally buy kosher cheddar cheese from Whole Foods, but they are not that close to my house. On a recent trip to Target, in their specialty cheese section I found some kosher cheese: Apple Smoked Cheddar Cheese. So I thought I’d give it a try. Last thing to note is that I also substituted the egg noodles– didn’t happen to have any, but did have bow-tie pasta, so I used that instead!
Okay, so now on to the cooking. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. You can cook the chicken anyway you’d like; lately I’ve been boiling it, then after it’s cooked I shred it. While this is going on, boil your pasta and cook your peas (I always use frozen peas– canned peas would likely get too soggy). Also at this time you can prep your cream of mushroom soup; if it’s canned, use a small bowl or measuring cup for liquids to mix the soup with the milk. I also usually will add the cheese in there too to get it well incorporated throughout the casserole.
Once everything is ready, mix it all into a large baking/ casserole dish. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Then cover with tin foil; I’ve learned this is best to prevent the top from getting overdone and dry. Bake for about 20 minutes or until warm. Remove from oven, stir, and then sprinkle French Fried onions over the top; leave off the foil and put back in the oven for about 5 minutes.
And that’s all there is to it! Total time from start to finish was about an hour, but the biggest proportion of that is downtime, when you will be boiling the chicken and letting the casserole sit in the oven. I think I was only actively working on it for about 15 – 20 minutes.
All my substitutions worked out great– especially the cheese, which added an unexpected flavor and smelled awesome! Here’s what the finished product looked like, with a side of sautéed yellow squash and zucchini (also sprinkled with garlic salt). Oh, and by the way, it makes great left overs :)