As we enter the cooler fall season we tend to make a lot of soups and a lot of casseroles. We love our mulligatawny soup and our quinoa fajita casserole, but one of our all-time favorite casseroles is our crunchy chicken casserole. In a house full of young picky eaters it’s one of the few dishes we can fix and know that we have dinner taken care of for the whole family. But this casserole pre-dates our kids and has been a family favorite for years. It’s a fairly simple dish with cubed chicken, carrots, bread crumbs, and…oh yes…the cheese! Growing up, my extended family would frequently get together for birthday dinners. The menu was always determined after checking with the birthday boy or girl. A popular choice was stuffed shells that were the inspiration for our
Growing up, my extended family would frequently get together for birthday dinners. The menu was always determined after checking with the birthday boy or girl. A popular choice was stuffed shells that were the inspiration for our winter squash stuffed shells. But, I usually picked this crunchy chicken casserole. I have no idea where the recipe came from originally, but it is perfect for family dinners. And of course, oatmeal cake was always my choice for birthday cake!
Sure, you don’t go out to a fancy restaurant and order casserole. But let’s face it, casserole dishes are a staple of family life. Sometimes as a parent, for your own sanity, you have to have a few all-in-one dishes that you know are going to provide your whole family with a hearty meal. This crunchy chicken casserole certainly fits the bill and checks all the required boxes: protein-packed, all-in-one dish, our kids will actually eat it, contains a serving of vegetables, and it tastes great.
The base of this dish is cubed chicken–I usually sear and roast a couple chicken breasts the day before and then cube them for the casserole, however, rotisserie chicken would work too. The carrots need to be precooked as well. I usually cook them in a 4 cup glass liquid measuring cup in the microwave for 6-8 minutes with a little water, stirring occasionally. Then drain the carrots and they are ready to go into the casserole. The cheese sauce comes together fairly quickly. I think the key is to add the broth slowly and use a whisk to incorporate the broth and flour/butter mixture. I finish the whole thing off with some bread crumbs and bake at 375 for around a half an hour.
So as you enter the fall season make sure you have your favorite soup and casserole recipes ready to go and be sure to try out this crunchy chicken casserole. If you are looking for more fall casserole inspirations:
- Check out this list of healthy fall casserole recipes from Eating Well.
- 42 Easy Casserole Recipes for busy nights from Country Living
On to the crunchy chicken casserole:
- 4 c . diced , cooked chicken
- 6-8 carrots , peeled chopped
- 1 4 oz . jar diced pimentos
- 1/4 c . butter
- 1/4 c . flour
- 2 c . chicken broth
- 8 oz . shredded sharp cheddar cheese
For the topping
- 1/4 c . butter
- 2 cups herb stuffing or bread crumbs
- Cook the carrots.
- Melt butter in a pot over medium low heat.
- Add flour to butter and stir.
- Slowly add a little broth at a time, stirring constantly, until all broth added and thicken.
- Lower heat, add cheese and stir until melted.
- Remove from heat.
- Add cooked chicken, cooked carrots, and pimentos.
- Pour mixture into a greased 13x9 or casserole pan.
- Add 1/4 c. butter to a pan and melt.
- Add stuffing mix and stir.
- Spread over top of chicken mixture.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes at 375.