Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chicken Noodle Casserole {from scratch}

Chicken Noodle Casserole {from scratch}
My mom, rather famously (in my family), made a few vows about things she would never do when she had children:
  1. Never be absent (her parents owned a business and were very busy. She knew she always wanted to be really involved with us and she was! She was a girl scout troop leader AND a cub scout leader, she volunteered at our schools, and she was just always very present.)
  2. Never make her daughter cut her hair. Apparently there was a somewhat traumatic incident where my grandparents forced my mom (kicking and screaming) to chop off her very long hair-into something of a boy-length cut. She promised she would never force that fate upon her future daughter--me! Thank goodness. She somewhat regretted that vow occasionally but she never made me cut my hair off.
  3. She would never ever make meatloaf or tuna noodle casserole.
Chicken Noodle Casserole {from scratch}
I know. The last one seems a bit random. Apparently those were food items that were fairly common in her household and she hated them. So...she was like "never again." And she never did. I'm ok with this because I don't like meatloaf or tuna noodle casserole. It all worked out. 

What this has to do with this recipe is: Chicken Noodle Casserole was my mom's adaptation of the dreaded Tuna Noodle Casserole. Essentially, she subbed in things she liked for things she hated (chicken instead of tuna, cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom). And what resulted was probably my favorite meal growing up.
Chicken Noodle Casserole {from scratch}
Since I was (and am) such a picky eater (and since my mom is not in love with cooking, and is pretty picky herself)-if I found something I liked...we ate it. Alot. Like...there was a point where this casserole was made weekly. My poor brother was so tired of it. But I could not get enough! I requested it constantly. I was sick? Chicken noodle casserole. It's my birthday? Chicken noodle casserole. It's Tuesday and I'm hungry? Chicken noodle casserole. And then....I moved away. And I started to learn how to cook. And I realized I had overdone it with the casserole...and sorta didn't want it anymore. And somehow here I am and I haven't eaten chicken noodle casserole in over 5 years.

Correction-I hadn't eaten chicken noodle casserole in over 5 years.
That dry spell has ended!
Chicken Noodle Casserole {from scratch}
The other day I was hungry and itching for a recipe I hadn't made before...or at least recently. And I was thinking about all the ingredients I had and what could be done with them and...my brain just thought of this casserole. And I knew it was time to bring it back. So I talked to my mom and got the original recipe (for the tuna noodle casserole) as well as what her substitutions were. And I knew I was going to have to make my version a bit more from scratch (although I suppose since I bought the noodles and the breadcrumbs it's not technically from scratch...whatever). So I created what you see here. It tasted just like I remember. And it was still so darn simple to make (yes...even with me making homemade cream of chicken soup and roasting the chicken). It just tastes like comfort and home and like a creamy chicken noodle soup in casserole form. 

Perfect to make you feel cozy on a chilly day.

And to make you feel home.

And to make you want to give your mom a big hug. <3

(Speaking of giving my mom a big hug: Tomorrow is my birthday! And I was super sad because it was looking like I wouldn't have anything to do until the evening, when people got off from work. BUT my mom decided to take the day off so she and I can spend the earlier part of the day together. We're going to go shopping and out to eat and I'm sooo excited. Best mom ever!)


Chicken Noodle Casserole {from scratch}

 Author: Kayle, "The Cooking Actress"
Adapted from my mom who adapted it from her mom's Tuna Noodle Casserole.


Chicken Noodle Casserole {from scratch}
Ingredients:
  • 7 oz. cooked chicken, shredded (either roast 1 chicken breast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or use a rotisserie chicken you bought or a can of chicken)
  • 8 oz. egg noodles
  • 1 batch homemade cream of chicken soup (or 1 can storebought)
    • 3 tbsp. butter
    • 3 tbsp. flour
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk (regular or fat-free)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large pot, cook egg noodles according to package directions. Pour into a colander to drain.
  • {if using canned cream of chicken, skip these steps:}In the emptied pot, melt butter over medium heat and, once melted, whisk in flour. Cook until the flour is bubbly and then add the milk and chicken broth. Whisk frequently until it thickens and begins to bubble.
  • Add cooked and drained noodles, shredded chicken, and the can of evaporated milk to the pot. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.
  • Bake 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Let cool slightly and then serve!
  • Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Chicken Noodle Casserole {from scratch}
Here, I'll share. Try a bite.
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