Chicken Noodle Casserole

Chicken Noodle Casserole

 What I really call this is “Chicken Helper – My Way”.  We all pretty much know Hamburger Helper and Chicken Helper and all those variations.  Every time I see a person with two or three (or sometimes more) of those in their cart, I want to go up and say, “Here, let me show you how to do this same recipe almost as cheaply and definitely healthier”.  Of course, I don’t.  I made this dish as a quick dinner for myself when my Heart was traveling a couple weeks ago but I ramped it up tonight.

Chicken Noodle Casserole

 

The Key to this type of dish is the sauce. The original reason I made this dish is because of “stuff” in my pantry. I had bought some packages of gravy mixes when my Heart had his surgery for things like mashed potatoes – yes, lazy but they aren’t horrible in the ingredients area and there is a low sodium variety. But, as it happened, I did not use them so they are just sitting around.  I am also trying to find substitutes for Cream of Mushroom soup.  The base for this sauce is McCormick’s low sodium Chicken Gravy (and yes, I know, NOT gluten-free).   I made the gravy according to the package directions. Once thickened, I added about 2 Tbsp of heavy cream and 1 – 1 1/2c shredded cheddar cheese (not precise on the amount of cheese because I just kept sprinkling until I got the consistency I wanted).  Blended thoroughly until all melted and relatively thick, then added 2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, a hearty dash of freshly ground black pepper, and 1 heaping Tbsp of Dijon mustard. The mustard really brings all the flavors together.

Chicken Noodle Casserole

 

Another reason I made this dish is because I also had a bag of egg noodles in the pantry (also from when my Heart had his surgery – for chicken noodle soup, which I didn’t make for miscellaneous reasons).  Cooked approximately 3/4 bag of egg noodles (16oz size) cooked according to the package directions.  Drained and returned to the cooking pot with chopped store-made rotisserie chicken (I used dark meat for this recipe so two legs and two thighs but would definitely be just as good with the breast meat – I am using that for chicken salad) and raw baby spinach.

Chicken Noodle Casserole

 

Tossed all the ingredients together

 

 

Chicken Noodle Casserole

 

 

The hot cheesy sauce wilted the spinach perfectly and there is a LOT of sauce but that is actually what you want and is one of the best parts of the dish.

 

Chicken Noodle Casserole

 

Plated with just a dash more pepper.  This super fast and very simple dish is definitely a do again.

Notes:

  • Once everything is combined – it would be easy to put the combination into a baking dish, cover with some cheese and/or bread crumbs and bake until golden brown for more of a “casserole” feel.
  • Almost any vegetable could be substituted but I would parboil broccoli vs. using raw because the sauce won’t cook it.  Defrosted frozen peas would also be excellent.
  • Canned tuna could also be substituted.

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