Monday, November 8, 2010

Recipe: Italian Chicken Casserole for the Soul

Perhaps you recall me saying that I was feeling vulnerable last week? Ok, I admit it was very small but it's at the veeeery end, right here. I'm not sure that is entirely the word. Stuck, overwhelmed, overdone, tired, in a rut, uninspired, failing, flailing, undone, falling down...those all work.

What I figured out was that I was none of those things. What I was, was disconnected. I called Heather. Remember Heather? Not only did she make me feel better, she validated my feelings and then did something even better: she bought a ticket to come see me. For this weekend. Somewhere in that amazing gift and conversation something changed.

That was it. That was all I needed. I was trudging down the path, plodding along, making some progress here and there but doing the whole "forest and trees" cliche. Then I couldn't do it anymore. So I called the person I knew who would identify, dumped out my vulnerabilities, and she listened and cared. And now I've gone from overdone to overflowing. Ideas are falling out of me, progress is being made on all fronts, things are looking up.


Part of the progress can also be attributed to Once a Month Mom. While I don't mind a freezer meal here or there I'm really not the type to make months and months worth of meals ahead. Much. Until now. You see I was having one of those 'everything I make is a flop (edible, but a flop)' weeks. So I gave up and said "Fine, I'll try the Once a Month Mom method, cook a ton and be done with it. I give up."

I'm also not a "cook with canned soups" person either so this was a challenge for me. But I went to the grocery, loaded up, made a bunch of the recipes (not all of them) and cleaned my kitchen (mostly). The last recipe I made I had to modify beyond recognition to make it work. I was out of ingredients, energy, and time. So the "Chicken Cobbler Casserole" became more like an "Italian Chicken Casserole". And it was good. Really good. Really, really good.

The first night I made the Chicken Casserole and a small version of the Pizza Casserole (for the kid). Eh ate all of her dinner (never been done before), scraped her plate clean, and asked for more (and ate all that). I then dropped dead right there on the kitchen floor.

Ok, not quite.

Then my husband proceeded to eat half the casserole (luckily he has a the metabolism of 5 men). Ok. Great. Everyone loved it. If they eat like this I'll have to be Six Times a Month Mom though!

But I, too, couldn't stop snacking.


It was that good.


So I figured I should share the recipe.

Enjoy and stay tuned - this week is all about five minute solutions and projects!


 Italian Chicken Casserole 
inspired by Christina's Taste Test Project

1 1/2 sticks melted butter, divided
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
6-8 cups fresh or just stale bread, cubed
2 medium onions, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (we're growing ours in our basement, hurrah!)
2 green peppers, sliced
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence (doesn't matter, use what you have)
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk (we use whole)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1-15oz jar roasted red peppers, diced
6 medium chicken breasts, cubed and sauteed/cooked though with some seasoning (salt and pepper)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine 1 stick of melted butter, bread, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese - toss together to coat the bread and set aside.

In a large (preferably deep-sided) skillet saute onions and peppers, with remaining butter. Season with a bit of salt and pepper as well. Once these are nice and soft, slightly browned, add in the mushrooms and cook for another few minutes.

Add seasoning of your choice, canned soup, roasted peppers and milk. Stir and bring to a gentle bubble. Give a taste - adjust seasoning to your liking (salt, pepper or herb blend).

Add chicken, stir and pour in two 9x9 pans or one large pan (like a 13x9).

Top with butter/Parmesan/bread mixture, sprinkle with remaining cheese. (Cover and freeze if you are making ahead). Note: If you have extra bread, place on a baking sheet and bake/toss a few times while your casserole bakes. When the now-croutons turn a golden brown remove, let cool, and store in an air-tight container.

Bake until bubbling and golden. About half and hour. If the bread begins to brown beyond your preference cover with foil and continue baking until ready.

Don't forget: If you need the cooking conversion chart it's right here.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you liked my recipe (or your modified version of..)! My family absolutely loved it too! There was so much flavor and, I 100% agree that the leftovers are fantastic too! The best part is that you can pre-assemble the casserole ahead of time and bake off when needed!

Here's the link to my original recipe:


k said...

This seriously has my name written all over it to try!

Sandie {ABL} said...

I'm glad your friend is coming. She sounds fabulous :) Enjoy your visit & by the sounds of this post, it seems like your creativity and productivity is flowing. Wouldn't it be great if we could bottle that?!