It’s a time for comfort food, for making good use of what’s in the pantry, even freezers and fridges, for limiting trips to the grocery store. You’re probably like me and keep a few things stored, just in case. One dish meals are always a boost, especially for the cook! Personally, I’ve always loved a good casserole and I think we all would do well to have a few in our repertoire.

Chicken casserole, and there are many, is good all year round, though it seems I tend make this rendition in early Spring, when there’s still a nip in the air on up through Easter and when the weather warms up. I’ll admit this casserole lends itself to substitutions, is a good one to double up- cook one right away, then freeze one just in case you need to send a meal or would love to have a ready to bake meal on hand. And, this chicken casserole is old fashioned, uses pantry staples and can be assembled quickly too!

Camellia’s Chicken Casserole

  • 2 sleeves of party crackers such as Ritz or Town House- roughly crushed
  • 1 stick of melted butter (cooled) plus more for preparing the baking dish.
  • 2 cups of fully cooked, roughly chopped or shredded chicken breasts
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (may substitute cream of chicken) low sodium if possible
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh, frozen or canned asparagus- drained. Remove any woody stems.
  • 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • *May add 1/2 cup of chopped or sliced mushrooms, often shredded cheddar is added as a variation in the topping
  • Melt butter and cool. Add butter to crushed party crackers, press half of mixture in the bottom of a lightly butter 9×9 Pyrex dish. Reserve cracker mixture for topping. In a mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients- chicken, canned soup, sour cream, asparagus, liquid and if desired mushrooms or grated cheddar. Salt and pepper mixture to taste. Mixture should be thick. Carefully pour chicken mixture on top of crushed and buttered crackers in prepared dish. Add remaining topping to finish assembling the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving. This recipe may be doubled. *Feel free to substitute fresh or frozen early peas, broccoli is good also, though you may need to steam a bit first and please don’t use big chunks. For a bit of extra crunch, I have substituted sliced celery, which adds a subtle flavor. And if you don’t have cream of mushroom soup- cream of chicken or even cream of celery works too! Baked Turkey Breast is also a good substitute for the chicken.One ingredient I wouldn’t feel comfortable exchanging is the party crackers, since they have a unique and satisfying flavor that cannot be duplicated. This casserole, since it essentially uses fully cooked ingredients freezes well. Enjoy!
  • Casseroles have been the mainstay of southern Cooking for…a whole lot of years! They are a great way to stretch food to feed the masses or can be made up in batches or single servings. Give a Southern cook a ‘situation’ we can come through with a casserole. New baby, surgery, new home, sickness, dinner on the ground, holiday gatherings and sadly, even death- there’s a casserole for any and all occasions. There’s something about a casserole that fills a basic need for comfort in trying times. This one? Let’s just say- I could start at one corner and go in for a dip…come back later and even it up. Still later, heat it up… dish it up and then run a spoon around the edges. You get the picture. Waste not, want not, right? I’ll bet you have most of the ingredients without even having to go to the grocery store! Stay home. Stay well fed. Stay healthy.

    Love y’all, Camellia

    * A few tips during this pandemic: I have had good results buying larger cuts of meat – chuck roasts, turkey breasts and bulk ground beef which currently are more available. I plan meals around using leftovers or dividing these meats, preparing them ahead for meat loaves, hamburger patties; dividing a roast into two smaller roasts, stewing or roasting some of the chicken and making a stew, soup, casserole or chicken salad so that food preparations is minimized. Remember meat is protein and generally has zinc- which aids the immune system. (Be careful of serving sizes, though) And the bonus of dividing larger quantities of meat into several meals is- I don’t feel like I’m slaving in the kitchen, instead of reading, writing or doing Spring gardening or clean up! And while I’m at it- the pollen this year is unbelievable! Though, I’m so thankful to have a yard! Until next time… glad you stopped by!

    Photographs are obviously mine.

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