Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Casserole

Today I’m going to share with you one of my GO TO meals on the rare occasion I don’t have anything planned for dinner, I’m low on groceries, or short on time. Part of the reason for this? It’s basically made only with OHI. Sometimes I’ll work this into my meal plan too, because it’s so easy and the whole family loves it.

This is a great Second Meal, because you can use leftovers from another chicken dinner for this casserole. When the chicken is leftover from another meal, this one should take only about 45 minutes to prepare. It’s homey comfort food at its best!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
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1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup  milk
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables – I use carrots & peas, and corn
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (or shredded chicken is good too)
About 2 cups Egg noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Triple Cheddar cheese (or more if you really like cheese!) for topping
*Sometimes I’ll add a little extra shredded cheese into the mix also
I’ve made this enough times that I usually eyeball the ingredients – except for the milk. Too much milk and it’s tasteless and watery.

Preheat your oven to 400º. Start by putting hot water in a medium pot and salting the water. Bring to a boil and cook your egg noodles according to package directions.
In the meantime…Start with the soup, milk, parmesan, and pepper and stir in a casserole dish (I think I use a 2 Quart one). Then I add the veggies (which I usually leave out a bit so they’re not frozen solid) and mix. Add the cooked, drained noodles next.
While the noodles are cooking I chop the chicken into cubes and add it last.
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Remove from oven, stir if noodles on top look hard or browned, then sprinkle cheese to cover top. Bake for another 5 minutes to melt cheese. I usually let it sit for a few minutes, then dig in!! Hope your family enjoys this as much as we do 🙂

First meal ideas for chicken:
Spinach Artichoke Chicken (if you use this, you have the bonus of additional veggies, AND it will be creamier!)
Fresh Take Italian Parmesan chicken
Stuffed Chicken

Spinach Artichoke Chicken

I have to share this recipe with you. It was so good I made it twice in two weeks. It’s great as a First Meal too!

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I can’t. It was one of Pinterest’s top 20 recipes of 2013.

The first time I made this, I used frozen chicken tenders because that’s all I had (refer to the first super freezing weather of 2014… store was COMPLETELY out of fresh poultry). I also was on the phone while in the frozen aisle, so forgot to grab the frozen spinach. Instead I chopped up fresh broccoli and mixed it in – it was really good. The broccoli florets collected all the sauce and cheese and were so good. I also thought I had mozzarella cheese, but didn’t – so I used the Italian Four Cheese blend instead. The chicken was so tender you could cut it with a spoon. My only suggestion would be to use a sheet pan or different dish to cook the chicken the first time, as it gives off so much liquid from being frozen. I did try to drain it out of the baking dish, but not enough – the sauce was still a little watery. But, it was good enough for me to make again, so I can’t really complain there!

The second time I made it, I used fresh thinly sliced chicken breast. I remembered the spinach this time, but still added broccoli just to have another vegetable. The chicken was a little tough, but again still good. Next time I’ll just use regular chicken breast like the recipe suggests! I used the leftovers in this Second Meal.

One thing I want to try is squeezing lemon over the chicken before the S&P and baking it the first time. I think it would add a little more flavor, and complement the artichokes well.

It’s really good served over angel hair pasta. It would probably also be good over lemon-butter rice, or egg noodles!

Click here to view the recipe! Happy cooking!

Update: I found this recipe on the back of a Knorr Pasta Side that I made for a work – night. If you’re in more of a hurry or want the noodles to be more incorporated in the dish, try this:
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Healthy Stuffed Chicken (Second Meal)

The Hubs has been doing an awesome job lately of consistently exercising and especially eating foods that are out of his comfort zone (raw veggies! gasp!). I am super proud of him! I know he will reach his weight loss goal if he continues down this road.

On the other side of that is: if he wants to continue down this road, I need to be on board to help him. Genesis 2:18 says “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (emphasis mine) I love this verse, because it’s very practical when it comes to being a wife. I am created to be my husband’s helper. I read a book by a Christian author that gave me this awesome filter to ask of everything I do: Am I helping or hindering my husband? (Always good for a gut check!) So, in his weight loss goals, I am coming alongside him to be his HELPER. Which means making healthy (well, health-IER) meals! I’m so excited that he’s motivated enough to try new things.

A Second Meal using tomatoes, onion, and spinach is stuffed chicken. (See here for a First Meal.) The first time I made this was before work one night, when I was prepping dinner before I had to leave for work. The hubs had requested something healthier than the chicken nuggets and Mac n Cheese I was making for the kids. I got a family pack of chicken breast when it was on sale, and some of the breasts were really large and thick. I cut them into smaller tenderloins and was thinking about butterflying some too. I was going to just grill a chicken breast for him, but then this idea came to me. I recently used it again for my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner at our house. Modifications for a larger group are in red

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Chicken Breast
Bell peppers – red, yellow, and orange
Onion (any kind will do – red, Spanish, or white)
Tomatoes (Roma work best because they’re firm)
Spinach
Italian dressing (click here for homemade recipe)
Butter or cooking oil
*Optional: shredded cheese like Parmesan, Mozzarella, or Italian Blend
*As always, adjust ingredients or recipe to your tastes!

1. Butterfly a thick chicken breast, leaving enough connective protein to keep it shut after you stuff it (I’d say it’s in between a butterfly cut and cutting a pocket in your meat – more open than a pocket, but not completely cut through either.) Drizzle with some Italian Dressing, spread with a pastry brush all over and let it marinate on your raw meats cutting board while you cook vegetables. When I made this for the whole family, I made a homemade Italian dressing for the marinade, adding 3 extra garlic cloves for more flavor. I put them in a glass baking dish and poured the dressing over top.

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2. Heat a small pat of butter or drizzle of oil in a small skillet. For a large group, I used my large skillet. Add chopped onions, tomatoes, bell peppers (I used yellow and orange and red), and spinach. Saute very gently and sprinkle a little S&P.  Remove from heat. You can stir in cheese to the filling as well; I added about 1- 1 1/2 Tblspn Italian blendFor the large group, I used a handful of shredded parmesan cheese, about a quarter of each color pepper, half a Spanish onion, 5 Roma tomatoes, and a whole bag of spinach (remember it shrinks!), then put the stuffing in a bowl until I needed it. *Be careful with this though – you might have to drain the veggies of liquid before you stuff your chicken!

3. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile add the vegetables to the chicken – inside the ‘pocket’ – and fold the other part of the chicken over to close. When grill pan is hot enough that water sizzles loudly when flicked onto surface, lift chicken with tongs & spatula and set on grill pan. (Use tongs on open side holding it closed and spatula underneath closed side.) Cook for approximately 7 minutes or until chicken no longer sticks to pan and there are nice grill marks on bottom. Then flip and cook the same on the other side (using tongs again to keep pocket from falling open).

4. Move chicken to a sheet pan with edges. I line with aluminum foil for easy clean up. I had a lot of extra filling, so I spooned more over top before baking. Finish in a 350º oven for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (If you want to know if it’s cooked or not without cutting into it, ‘feel’ it with the tongs. It should no longer be soft, but springy and almost firm. If it’s too firm and hard, it’s overcooked and will be dry and chewy.)

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That first time I made this, I wished I had made two so I could have devoured one before work. He loved it and even though he’s never been a big spinach or tomato fan, he ate the WHOLE thing and said the stuffing was awesome. At my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner, all the plates came back empty. I hope you enjoy this healthy, quick and delicious entrée!