Thursday, May 17, 2012

Creamy Chicken Casserole

This recipe fits right in with our preparedness plans.  First, I have an immune deficiency and a tendency to get sick, so this kind of recipe that results in "cook one, freeze one" is a good deal that I can make easily while I am well and have a hearty meal to simply pop in the oven when I'm not.  Second, I can use the canned chicken from my emergency food stores that need to be rotated out and used before it goes bad.  The original recipe I found over at Tried and Tasty (and have adulterated for my own purposes here) calls for "cooked cubed chicken" and you are welcome to use fresh, bought-from-the-store, or canned.  I think it's a great recipe for rotating out the canned stuff.

My husband, Joseph, found out today that his bad cholesterol is too high and his good cholesterol is too low, so I added a couple of ingredients to the recipe in the hopes of improving his cholesterol levels.  He hates fish and doesn't get much omega-3 fatty acids, so I snuck some tuna into this recipe in the hopes that the rest of the flavors would either cover it up or blend well with it.  I also added chia seeds, which are a healthy addition to any meal.  I was unable to find cream of celery soup at any of the grocery stores in my area, so substituted cream of mushroom, instead. 

The Recipe:
1 bag (16 oz) egg noodles
2 cans (12.5 oz) chicken
1 can (5 oz) tuna
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen peas
1 - 2 cups shredded carrots
2 c. milk
1 large can (26 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 large can (26 oz. each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 c. chopped onion
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Cook the egg noodles according to package directions.  While those are cooking, mix the chicken, tuna, peas, carrots, milk, soups, onion, chia seeds, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.  When the noodles are finished cooking, drain them and pour them into the bowl on top of the mixture.  Add the butter and mix into the hot noodles to melt.  Stir it all until mixed well.  Scoop evenly into two foil pans or casserole pans.  I used 13"L x 9"W x 2"D foil pans.  Cover both with foil.  Place one in the freezer and the other in the oven on 350 for 30 minutes.

Frozen casserole instructions come directly and unadulterated from Tried and Tasty:
To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Cover and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes (assuming it’s not in the foil pan), or until heated through, stirring twice. Or cover and bake casserole at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer until heated through.

The results:
Joseph tasted the tuna and wouldn't eat it.  The kids liked it and I thought it was great.  Next time, I will have to make it without tuna and see if my dear husband likes it then.  If you're trying to make this to hide some tuna like I did, forget about it and leave the tuna out of the recipe.   If your family likes some mild tuna flavor, feel free to leave it in. 

Added 2014:
When I posted this recipe, I didn't know I had Celiac Disease.  Those noodles were a big reason why I was getting sick a lot.  If you've come here for recipes because you know I eat gluten-free now, please be aware that this is not a gluten-free recipe unless you use gluten-free noodles. 

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