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Creamy Parmesan Chicken Casserole



We were invited to a Pot Luck lunch yesterday  and so this casserole I am showcasing today is a little something I came up with to take to the affair.  I love Pot Lucks, or Covered Dish Suppers as they are also called.  They are a wonderful opportunity to taste a little dab of this and a little dab of that, to rub elbows and mingle with friends over some good food and to taste and try new and, hopefully, delicious things!


My mother always called me the Queen of Casseroles.  She said I had the ability to make an old boot taste good, and I guess (in all humility) I do.  Its not a special talent however, anyone can do it.  It just requires a knowledge of what flavours and textures goes together with each other.  Its simple really. 



First you want a starch of some kind . . .  potatoes, pasta, rice . . .  all work well.  We have pre-cooked packaged of rice over here and they are ever so handy to keep in the cupboard for days like this. Tinned  and frozen potatoes also work very well in casseroles! 



Next you will want a protein of some kind.  Tinned fish, cooked meat or chicken, beans and legumes, all work very well.  I always have some of these in my cupboard also.  Today I used canned chicken, but it is very easy to cook chicken just for this purpose.  Just take a package of chicken breasts, cover with water or stock, bring to the boil and then simmer until tender.  Let cool in the liquid, then drain and shred.


Next you will want some herbs, spices, aromatics.  Think chopped onions, chopped celery and or peppers . . . chopped mushrooms.  Fresh or dried herbs.  Herb and spice blends.  Today I used chopped onions and a Garlic Italian Spice blend, along with parsley flakes. 



Next you will want a sauce of some kind. You can use tinned soups or sauces.  Or you can make a simple cream/cheese sauce.  Today I mixed equal parts of double cream and chicken stock. That always works well.  Even with meats. You can use beef or ham stock with cream also.


Cheese.  I don't know about you, but I think casseroles are better with cheese, both inside and out.  I can't think of any vegetable or protein that doesn't go with cheese.  Today I used Parmesan in the casserole itself, and a mix of cheeses for the topping.


Vegetables.  I like peas, corn and beans in casseroles.  Here's a handy tip . . . for use with peas and with corn. If you are using frozen, reserve any toppings for the last bit of cook time, stir in the frozen veg and then top and return to the oven to finish off.  You end up with perfectly cooked peas and corn, with a beautiful colour and not dried out in the least.


Today I used peas and fifteen minutes was just long enough to cook them through and they retained that lovely bright green colour.  I know its not always possible such as when you are making a cottage pie or such, but if you can do it, it works out beautifully.


Finally  . . .  the topping.  I love cheese on top of most casseroles, but I also ADORE some crunch on top!  Crushed buttered cracker crumbs, buttered bread crumbs, crumbled croutons, crushed crispy fried salad onions/durkees, crumbled potato crisps/chips, etc.  All work very well.  Today I used a small packet of crumbled cheese & onion flavoured Sun Bites.  Altogether this was very, very delicious!


*Creamy Parmesan Chicken Casserole*
Serves 4
 

Just a little something I threw together for a pot luck lunch. It was delicious! 


1 (354g) tin of premium chunk chicken breast (12.5 oz tin), drained well and flaked
(I get mine at Costco, you can use 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 tsp garlic Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and black pepper to taste (just a pinch of each)
2 pouches ready cooked brown rice (about 4 cups cooked rice)
240ml heavy cream (1 cup)
240ml chicken stock (1 cup)
90g coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
150g frozen peas (1 cup)

To top:
3 TBS each grated Parmesan, Cheddar, Mozzarella cheeses
a handful of crisps coarsely crushed



Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a large shallow baking dish.  Set aside.

Put the onion into a microwave proof dish and cover.  Cook for 1 1/2 minutes on high.  Dump into a bowl.  Crumble in the rice.  Stir to combine. Add the garlic Italian seasoning, parsley, salt and black pepper, flaked chicken, cream and stock, along with the Parmesan cheese.  Stir to mix together well. Pour into the baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and stir.  Stir in the frozen peas.  Combine the cheeses for the topping and sprinkle over top.  Sprinkle with the crushed crisps.  Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown.  Serve hot.

There is no end to the combinations you can come up with:  Ham, potato, corn, cheese, onion; chili beans, sweet potato, onions, corn, cheese; fish, potato, broccoli, cheese, onion; I could go on and on.  The point is casseroles like this are very simple and quick to make.  All you need to do is keep a few basics in the cupboard/larder and you are never very far from a delicious bake!  Perfect for when unexpected company arrives!  Bon Appetit!


PS - Yes I did make a small extra casserole to taste before I took it to the pot luck.  Doesn't everyone?  I just wanted to make sure it was tasty enough to wow the others!  It was!

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Marie Rayner
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8 comments:

  1. This look soooo delicious and wonderful comfort eating... and great for autumn days ahead, too! :))) LOVE YOU ((BIG HUGS))

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    1. It’s really tasty Tracy, and you could break it down into two casseroles and freeze one before baking as well! So you would have a meal in the freezer for those days you are pushed! Love and hugs! Xo

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  2. I sometimes do try things before my family comes to make sure it's delicious also! You are a terrific creator!

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    Replies
    1. Years of trial and error Monique! SOme of my inventions in the early days were not so Great! I have honed the skill! Xo

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  3. Oh this sounds good! I already have your Parma Chicken Casserole pencilled in for this week, so I will add this to next week's menu. And thankyou for including an alternative to condensed soup - we can't get those here and the postage is too much to buy them in from the UK, so I generally have to pass on recipes involving condensed soup. But not anymore, it seems!

    And I totally agree with you about cheese enhancing any casserole. Are you sure we aren't twins?

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    1. It’s quite possible Marie, or at the very least kindred spirits! I think you are going to love this! I brought home an empty dish! Xo

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  4. I think it is a special talent Marie - some people know just what fabrics and patterns go together - others just how to combine instruments beautifully to make a piece of music - and you know how to make ingredients sing! This looks lovely!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ellie! I know what I like and I like to cook and eat! I suppose that helps! Its gorgeous. Hope you make it! xo

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