Creamy Chicken Casserole
Is it cold where you are?
Are you desiring a meal that will fill you up with warmth and comfort?
What about a casserole that pleases the pickiest of eaters and is made with REAL food? No canned soups here!
A serving of this creamy casserole is like a warm hug from your Nana. It is hearty, rich, warm, and filling.
Whenever I think of this dish I don’t get excited like I do for a fiery Mexican dish or a rich tomato pasta, but every time I take a bite of it I truly feel filled up with love.
While growing up, one dish my mom was known for was a creamy chicken casserole she referred to as Amish Chicken.
It is funny she was known for this dish, because it was not one of her favorites. She prefers bold flavors and this dish had been historically blander in flavors.
I think it was something that people loved it for a couple reasons:
- My mom typically delivered this meal to people who were in need of a hot cooked meal, like after a baby was born or someone was ill.
- Picky eaters and kids seem to inhale this meal–leaving a busy parent satisfied that they could serve one meal without any complaints.
- It is relatively easy to make.
- It is warm and filling, which for Ohio winters, was greatly appreciated.
Regardless, people, including myself, LOVE this meal referred to as Amish Chicken.
However, the original recipe was fairly boring and I wanted to jazz it up so that I could serve this meal to my family with a bit more culinary flair (but that picky eaters would still devour!)
My Creamy Chicken Casserole:
- The Base: I start with whole wheat rotini pasta which provides the dish with more fiber and protein than the traditional white pasta. I love to use rotoni pasta for this casserole beacuse the creamy sauce gets stuck in every nook and cranny of the pasta.
- The Chicken: I use my diced roasted chicken because I almost always have it in my freezer and if not, it is so easy to whip up and so much more tasty than boiled chicken.
- The Sauce: This is where I get fancy with it–because it takes all of 2 seconds more and takes the dish up about oh, 100 notches!! I start with a typical roux with flour and butter and then deglaze the pan with a dry white wine. I also use my homemade chicken stock, milk, and fresh thyme.
- The Cheese: Growing up, my mom always used that grated cheese that came from a green can in this dish. I use freshly grated Parmesan Cheese–as my mom only does now as well.
So you need to make this recipe.
- ½ stick (1/4 cup) butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1½ cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- 8 oz whole grain rotini pasta noodles, cooked al dente
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Lightly butter a 2 quart casserole dish.
- Melt butter in large saucepan. Add flour and whisk together for 1 minute.
- Add wine, while whisking and allow to come to a boil. Slowly add chicken stock, thyme, salt and pepper as you whisk.
- Bring mixture to a boil and continue to whisk occassionaly. Lower heat and add milk and cheese.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes until sauce is thickened and milk is warmed through.
- Pour sauce over cooked pasta and add diced chicken to the mixture. Stir together and pour into casserole pan.
- Bake for 20- 25 minutes until top of casserole is browned.
- Freeze this dish by assembling up to baking. Allow to cool and store in large freezer gallon sized bag or in a disposable casserole pan. Defrost 12 hours in refrigerator and bake as directed.
- Use up leftover turkey in this casserole as well–it would then be very simliar to a Turkey Tetrazzini.
Freezer Friendly: prepare the dish up to baking. Wrap well with foil and plastic wrap and place in freezer until ready to bake. Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees covered for 1 hour and then uncover and bake for 20-30 minutes until dish is bubbly and warmed through.