Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

As Julie and I planned our menu for September we thought that cooler days just had to be around the corner.  Well, if the last few days are any indication, it isn't getting cooler yet.  I am ready for fall and all the dishes that I don't make in the summer when it is hot. As much as I hate to say it, I am kind of getting sick of "cook out" food.  My inbox and facebook has been full this week of pasta salads, beans and other summertime dishes to celebrate this last summer weekend.  Well, I have moved on for this year. 

When I think of fall food I think of soups, apple cider, pot roast, pumpkin, squash and casseroles just to name a few.  I know there are people who are just not "casserole people," but I love them.  Also, it might be the convenience of a one dish meal,  just add a salad and your done.  I also like that they can be done earlier in the day and then I just have to pop it in the oven on a busy school night.  This Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole recipe that I'm sharing with you is perfect when you want a comforting meal that is kid friendly.  It's great to take to a new neighbor or a friend who's just had a baby.  It's simple and doesn't have any "exotic" ingredients. The original inspiration for this casserole came from Cook's Illustrated, but they used potatoes and I thought my family would prefer pasta.  Also, there is not a canned cream soup in sight, which I really like.  When my family was younger I seemed to use a lot of canned soups, maybe everyone used them more.  Dan used to guess which kind of canned soup was in any casserole I made.  I like that I'm not using all those preservatives and sodium, and it tastes better!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
For the casserole:
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream or whole milk
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded (8 ounces)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 - 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cooked and chopped
8 ounces ham, cubed
1 pound pasta (I use rotini, but penne or any other short pasta would work)

1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Boil pasta in a large pot of salted water until it is just shy of al dente.  While your pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant, stir continuously so it doesn’t burn.  Add the flour and keep stirring for another minute.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the whipping cream or whole milk.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened.  Be sure and whisk frequently so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom.  When thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the Swiss cheese, dijon mustard, and cayenne pepper.   Check your seasonings and add more salt and pepper if necessary. 

Mix the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta, chicken, and ham.  Place in a greased 9 x 13 dish. 

For the topping:  Melt the butter and mix with panko, parmesan cheese, and parsley if using.   Sprinkle on top of the casserole.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and the topping is browned.  



Linked to the following parties:
Addicted to Recipes Scrumptious Sunday Link Party
Everyday Mom's Meals Church Supper

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Casseroles are the best. Total comfort food! Thanks for sharing at Church Supper. Have a blessed week & Happy Labor Day ~EMM


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