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Monday, April 22, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

When I first joined Pinterest I pinned a ton of recipes (and not much else) and then just forgot about my account for awhile.  In the past few months I've come to kind of rely on Pinterest to help me find information quickly.  I use it for everything from knitting and crocheting stitches, to decorating tips (not that I use them that often, but I do get ideas), to organization and cleaning tips (including some recipes for homemade cleaners that cost a fraction what store bought ones do and are less toxic and clean just as well), to tips on parenting, and finally recipes of all kinds.

I found this recipe on Pinterest probably close to a year ago and finally tried it in November.  I had really liked the sound of chicken cordon bleu turned into a casserole, but the recipe called for rice and therefore kept getting pushed back on the list of things to try.  See, Aaron doesn't eat rice.  One night I was working on the menu plan and I saw this pin on my food board again and thought, 'Hey, that would probably be good with pasta!'  I decided to go ahead and add it to the menu and I am so glad that I did.

I tend to like casseroles for a few reasons.  They are usually quick to put together so even though the cooking time seems long most of it is just waiting on it to bake in the oven.  No matter how many pots, pans, dishes I use to prepare the casserole, once it is in its single dish in the oven I have plenty of time to clean up my mess before serving dinner.  I never have to worry if part of dinner is going to be cold by the time I serve it because everything bakes in the oven together and comes out hot and delicious.

This casserole is short on vegetables (as many of our meals seem to be) so I am having steamed broccoli with mine and Bailey is having some frozen mixed veggies.  As I said before, the original recipe called for rice which I think sounds fabulous so you could totally back substitute rice for the pasta.  I think it would also be really tasty with some vegetables IN it (not just on the side) such as some steamed broccoli and carrots, maybe some frozen peas or some mushrooms mixed into the soup, or even some chopped up asparagus.  Experiment, it's fun.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 cups cooked pasta shapes (we like rotini)
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded (I chopped and sauteed 2 chicken breasts on medium with just salt and pepper until it was cooked through)
10 slices deli ham, cut into squares (I actually used leftover ham from Easter that I had frozen)
6-8 slices Swiss cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
10 saltines
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Start with a 9x13 baking dish, sprayed with vegetable oil spray.

Spread the pasta in the bottom of the baking dish in an even layer.

Cover the pasta with the chicken.

Sprinkle the ham over the chicken.

Layer the cheese over the ham and chicken.  You'll notice I left a spot without cheese, it's because Bailey doesn't like Swiss cheese and refuses to eat it.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the cream of chicken, the milk, and the sour cream and mix until smooth.

Spread the soup mixture over the cheese.

In a plastic baggie, combine the saltines, the paprika, parsley, and garlic salt.  Crush them gently with a rolling pin or something similar and then shake the baggie to combine the crackers and spices together.

Sprinkle the cracker mixture over the cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with veggies or salad on the side.

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