Yesterday I was in JoAnn’s with my daughter and grandbaby. We were looking for some fabric for a project for Baby “B’s” big 1st Birthday party coming up next month. As we stood in line waiting for a cashier, there was behind me, an elderly lady who was “chatting, oohing, and ahhing” with Little Pea (grandpa’s nick name for her). This sweet lady was going on and on about how darling she was, and how precious! (I wasn’t about to disagree! lol)
As we chatted, I noticed she had two big grapevine wreaths in her basket and some fall floral decor. I commented that it looked like she was going to make some wreaths. (Never one to overstate the obvious! That’s me!) She replied that they were “Thank You” gifts for some friends. I said “Oh how wonderful! I hope they turn out beautiful!” She smiled and replied “They will!”
I’ve thought a lot about that encounter yesterday! I loved her self confidence! She didn’t say it in a prideful manner…just very self-assured and confident in her abilities. So where is this all going and what does it have to do with Chicken Noodle Casserole? I’ll tell you! It made me think! I wish I was that self-assured! Why do we as women feel we can’t “own” our talents and skills? I post every week knowing that I love my cooking, crafts, and party idea’s, that my friends and family do, but worry no one else will?! So, I’ve decided I’m going to be like “wreath grandma”! (Her newly appointed nick-name! Hope she likes it!) I’m going to OWN it! In a self confident non-boastful way. I think it’s a way of letting God know I’m thankful for the gifts he has given me.
So, with that said…this is an amazingly delicious new recipe I came up with! It’s good! It’s REALLY good! 110% pure comfort food! I’ve made a version of this Chicken Noodle Casserole for about the last 5 years. It’s a really great family casserole and perfect for the cooler months of Fall and Winter when you yearn for comfort foods. Lately I’ve seen pictures on Pinterest of a similar casserole with veggies added. Mine is not that recipe, but I’m sure it’s similar. I took my original recipe and just threw in a package of frozen vegetables and we LOVED the addition!
Start out with one package of al dente cooked rotini pasta…or “curly cues”…as I like to call them, and two cups of diced cooked chicken. (Tip: Two cups is equal to two frozen boneless chicken breast.)
I want to stop for a second in this recipe and insert another tip. I know there are a lot of women who dread cooking. It’s not your thing, and yet… you want to give your family healthy yummy meals. I get it! I really do! A lot of you are working Mom’s and your tired when you get home! You still have to do all the “kid” stuff… plus dinner! So…how do we make it easier? How can we simplify and help with the family budget and provide healthy home cooked meals? One thing you can do is boil/cook a bunch of chicken breast all at once! Grab that Costco bag of boneless chicken breast and a great big pot and just cook them all at once, chop them up, bag’em and freeze them. (It will take about an hour! Big time saver during the week.) Pull one out before work, and you are half way to dinner!
Next add in one package of frozen mixed vegetables. You don’t need to precook them. Just toss them in! (I love the “pop” of color!)
Now add in one can cream of mushroom soup, one can cream of chicken soup, one cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt. Everything in one bowl! Mix until everything is well combined.
Place in a 9×13 casserole dish. How simple was that? If you precooked your chicken all you had to cook was the pasta. That takes only a few minutes, or 10 spelling words! (wink, wink)
It’s looks so good already and we haven’t even finished it yet! We need a little more “comfort” with some ooey-gooey cheese on top and a sprinkling of butter Panko bread crumbs!
Here’s another little tip to making buttered bread crumbs. Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a microwave safe glass measuring cup or bowl. (I just used the one I had used for the milk! I’m all about not making more dirty dishes!) Then I add the breadcrumbs, I use Panko because I like how crispy and crunchy they are, and dried parsley, Plop! All in the same cup! Stir with a fork until well coated! Then just reach in grab the crumbs and sprinkle all over the top of the casserole!
You’re done! Dinner is made! You have your creamy chicken noodle and veggies packed underneath all that glorious cheese and those buttered bread crumbs. It’s time to bake it! Place in a 325 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted, the breadcrumbs are slightly golden, and the casserole is bubbly.
I just love how delectably delicious this looks! The pasta will soak up some of that creamy sauce as it is baking, the reason we always cook our pasta “al dente”, which will make the dish even more flavorful and comforting. The vegetables will be tender crisp not soggy! Which is a nice combination with the noodles, cream sauce, and pasta.
Honestly when the first bite of this hit my mouth I said, out loud,”Mmmmmm”! I loved it! It was instantly comforting! The creaminess of the sauce with the pasta and melted cheese…heaven! The added vegetables terrific! It’s cozy nest food! Who doesn’t like warm, comforting, cozy food this time of year?! I think we all desire that feeling of “home” you get when eating certain dishes. This is one of those dishes! The bonus is how fast it all comes together with little effort!
I served ours with a great big green garden salad and a slice of bread. You don’t need much to make this a complete meal. You can adjust this to fit what’s in your pantry. Use a different pasta if you don’t have curly cues, elbow would work great too! If you only have cream of chicken soup use two of those and skip the mushroom soup. If your kids only like corn and hate “green stuff”, only use corn. It’s still going to be delicious and your whole family will love it!
I think we should call this “magic casserole” because you are going to be surprised how fast it disappears! The printable is below! I have a GREAT week planned out this week here at the nest so be sure to keep checking back for new posts and new recipes! Remember we are AMAZING and we do remarkable things every single day! You matter in the life of someone! Never forget that! Let’s all try to be like “wreath lady” and have confidence in our talents! Thanks for stopping by my Nest!