So, the other night I was shopping at the last minute trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner. I saw a recipe online for chicken thighs that looked really good, and I had all the ingredients (except the actual chicken haha). I grabbed some thighs and other random things I needed and headed to the checkout. They were $6.
There was a warm glow on my arm and I turned to look. Rotisserie chicken…fully cooked, well seasoned, ready to eat, rotisserie chicken. Guess how much it cost. $6…
I put the thighs back and got a BIG head start on dinner.
Attempting to ease my guilt about “cheating,” I made this casserole with leftover rotisserie meat.
And ease my guilt it did. In fact, the first few bites made me forget all of my troubles. It’s that good!
It’s a totally balanced meal with so much savory flavor that you’ll be having to exercise all your self control not to have seconds (I failed).
I got the inspiration for this recipe about 2 hours before I had to leave for work. Running around the kitchen like a maniac, I took all the photos as fast as I could, then realized there were only 10 minutes left to get ready for work. Apparently, running around for two hours in a not yet air conditioned house (we’re holding out as long as we can) doesn’t make you look “work ready.” By the time I got myself looking moderately presentable, cleaning up wasn’t even an option. It looked like a Creamy Chicken Casserole bomb had gone off in my kitchen.
It always seems like the more delicious the recipe, the harder you have to work to get your kitchen back in order afterward. I’m trying to get better about cleaning as I go, but sometimes it really puts a cramp in my creative process, and sometimes the recipe is so high maintenance that I just don’t have time during the actual process of making it. If anyone knows a kitchen fairy that works for leftovers, let me know.
Ok, dirty dish rant over! I promise.
I cut this recipe in half (mostly because I only had that much chicken). Sometimes my life decisions are based off of the status of the protein in my fridge. The life of a wife and food blogger.
If you want this to fit in a standard 9X13, just double it!
Double the cheesey, creamy casserole goodness. Double the alliteration (I’m not telling you how many time I spelled that before the red line disappeared)
I happen to love peas and broccoli with creamy cheese dishes, but you can put 2 cups of whatever vegetables tickle your fancy. Sometimes I will use all peas, because I love them, and it’s so easy!
You should make this casserole before it gets too hot to even turn your oven on! I know that in a few weeks, here in Houston, it’s going to be all I can do to stand in front of hot stove, let alone turn the oven on!
Maybe you are blessed to live somewhere in which summer doesn’t literally make you feel like you’re melting in a hot steamy sauna every minute of the day!
It’s ok though, in only 3 weeks, I get to escape to California for a few days!
What are your summer plans?
- FOR THE CASSEROLE:
- 8 oz pasta of your choice (I used penne)
- 1½ cups shredded chicken meat
- 1 cup broccoli florets, thinly sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup half & half or milk
- 3 tbl unsalted butter
- 3 tbl all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- 2 slices of bread (I used whole wheat), torn into quarters
- 2 tbl unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- FOR THE CASSEROLE:
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8X8 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- In a large saute pan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir with whisk constantly for about 2 minutes, or until roux is golden brown and bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth. Continue whisking until broth is fully incorporated. Let simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put water for pasta on to boil in a large stock pot. When water boils, add pasta, broccoli, and peas to the water. Boil for 2 minutes less than package instructions, so the pasta will be slightly underdone.
- Slowly add half & half to broth mixture while whisking. Whisk until fully incorporated. Let simmer at medium low heat until mixture is reduced by ¼, about 10 minutes.
- Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Take off heat.
- Drain pasta and veggies. Add back to stock pot. Add cheese and sauce. Mix to combine.
- Add pasta mixture to prepared casserole dish.
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- Combine all ingredients for topping in food processor until it is the consistency of small crumbs. Sprinkle on top of casserole
- Bake at 375, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until topping is well browned and filling is heated thoroughly.
- Let cool 10 minutes before serving.