Chicken Casserole with Canadian Monterey Jack

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Chef Caroline McCann
This cooking club recipe makes enough for three large casseroles and is an easy weeknight meal.  It’s kid-friendly and includes all four food groups.  Serve with a crisp green salad and dinner is complete.
2 packages (each 375 g) fine egg noodles
1 package (2 lb/1 kg) frozen mixed vegetables
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1 package (227gr) cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 onions, sliced
6 cups (1.5 L) grated Canadian Monterey Jack cheese *
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
3 cans (each19oz/540 ml) ready-to-serve cream of chicken soup
1 cup (250 mL) chopped parsley
2 tsp (10 mL) salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups (500 mL) plain breadcrumbs
½ cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup (50 mL) melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Lightly butter three - 3 quart/3L baking dishes.
To a stock pot of boiling salted water, add noodles and bring to a boil; boil 1 minute. Add frozen vegetables, cook stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender; drain and transfer to a very large bowl.
In large skillet melt butter over medium heat; add mushrooms and onion. Cook stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onions have softened; add to noodles.
To the noodle mixture add Canadian Monterey Jack cheese, diced chicken, chicken soup, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Divide the noodle and chicken mixture among prepared baking dishes.
Topping: In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, parsley and melted butter; sprinkle evenly over noodle dishes. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until topping is golden brown.  Preparation time: 40 minutes; Cooking time: 40-50 minutes; Servings: 12.
*You can use Canadian Cheddar, Canadian Gouda or Canadian Brick for this recipe
This casserole is so versatile, you can easily customize it to your family’s tastes. For example:
  • If desired, you can replace the cream of chicken soup with a homemade béchamel sauce. In a medium saucepan melt 6 tbsp (90 mL) butter. Remove from heat, with a wooden spoon mix in 6 tbsp (90 mL) all-purpose flour. Return to heat; cook on medium heat until it bubbles and the mixture becomes crumbly. With a whisk, gradually add 4 cups/1 liter of 2% milk, ½ tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Proceed with the recipe as above.
  • If desired, you can replace the breadcrumbs with plain potato chips for an extra crunch. Simply crush 1 (250gr) bag plain potato chips and sprinkle on top of the casserole dishes before baking. To freeze this dish, reserve the chips or the breadcrumb topping and add to thawed casserole and bake.
  • For vegetarians, simply omit the chicken and replace the cream of chicken soup with equal amounts of cream of mushroom soup.
  • If desired, you can substitute 3 cans (170 g) drained water-packed tuna for the cooked chicken and replace the cream of chicken soup with cream of mushroom soup or homemade béchamel sauce.
Cooking Club Tips: Refrigerate casseroles for up to two days. To serve; bake in preheated oven, uncovered for 60 minutes or until topping is golden brown and hot. Freeze without the topping.
Remember to wash and sanitize your hands, cutting boards, sink, all work areas and equipment with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw chicken.

Source:  Dairy Farmers of Canada
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