Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Comfort Food

 Our Storyteller is suffering with a cold and requested this simple but tasty 'comfort food' for supper. As I was putting it in the oven, I realized that I have not shared this easy recipe with you - so here it is! I  think this is a great casserole for 'veggie haters', picky eaters or those who require a non-spicy diet.  It's popular at pot-luck dinners too.  It doesn't freeze well - presumably because of the dairy  content - but that is easy to work around if you keep cooked chicken in the freezer.  When chicken is on sale I often bake 5 pounds with a sprinkling of herbs and when it is cool I cut it up and divide it into 2 cup containers before freezing it. It's handy for many different recipes, and works especially well in this one. You could also use a deli chicken or those frozen grilled breasts. 

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

8 ounces of fine or medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
3-4 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cans cream of chicken soup  (my recipe is below)
16 ounces  reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 -2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons  poppy seeds
1 sleeve of crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine first 6 ingredients and stir well. Spoon into a lightly greased 2 quart casserole or 7"x12" baking dish.  Top with the crushed crackers and drizzle with melted butter.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Serves 8.

Quick 'Cream of Chicken Soup' Substitute
We're always trying to avoid excess salt and this is more economical than Campbells.

3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 cup milk (room temperature)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup shredded chicken (if available)

Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat.  Blend in flour and seasonings while cooking and stirring until bubbling.  Slowly add the chicken broth and blend until smooth using a whisk.  Add the milk slowly and continue to blend until thickened.  If it gets too thick add a bit more chicken broth. This makes about 10 ounces  and is a good substitute for one can of Cream of Chicken Soup. Double for Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole.


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