I have a love affair, one that goes back a long, long time. In fact, for as long as I can remember, the pervasiveness exists and this obsession is somewhat addicting. And I am not ashamed of it and I know I am not the only one doing it. From early childhood, I sometimes played with it, fondled it but always eagerly devoured it with a lustful appetite. I still enjoy it today and I hope I will never lose the desire for it.
You see, making and eating a casserole is part of our family’s way of cooking. Casseroles are a one-dish wonder. Be it a simple side vegetable dish or a hearty meal in one, these pans and dishes are among our favorites and part of our weekly if not daily routine.
One of our favorite casseroles is Chicken Divan normally served with a side vegetable and a rice or another type of grain. Today, I’m making this into a one-meal casserole, without the need of any sides. It has all the flavors of your normal chicken divan plus an added vegetable and instead of rice, I’m using pasta. Enjoy!
My Chicken Divan
1 cooked, boned chicken or 2 breasts and 4 thighs
1 -16 oz box pasta like bowties, rotini or mini ziti
2 cups chopped broccoli florets, blanched
1 1/2 cups torn baby spinach or 1 cup tiny English peas – optional
1 small onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, minced
1 can condensed mushroom soup
1 can condensed chicken soup
1/2 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or Panko
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Cook the pasta in the stock from the chicken if available or cook in salted water. Cook until just under cooked. Drain and reserve about 1/2 cup of liquid.
Lighty coat a 3 quart casserole with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix the soups, cream, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry and the reserved liquid together. Stir in the pasta, chicken and vegetables. Spoon into the casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 35 to 45 minutes.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the butter. Remove foil, sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs and broil for a few minutes until golden brown.
Note: My first thought was to top with French’s fried onion rings which I think will be really great, but I didn’t have any on hand.