Saturday, September 28, 2013

Herbed Chicken Noodle Casserole

I overbooked my day today and, not surprisingly, the clock ran out before my plate was cleared of crumbs. Among the items not addressed was that thing we call dinner. Usually that would mean a quick dinner out, but restricted choices during Lent made that a poor option for us tonight. Take out was equally unappealing because it meant venturing into rain that would impress even Noah. Based on a scan of the fridge and pantry and a list of my quick fix recipes, I decided it would be a perfect night for a chicken noodle casserole. I had the remains of a rotisserie chicken, some noodles, and the frozen vegetables I needed to pull this off. I chose this casserole because a kiss of tarragon gives it a more intriguing flavor than many dishes of its type and, more importantly, the Silver Fox likes it. So, I set the kettle to boil and made a thin bechamel (white) sauce using a quick-mixing flour, a product I often use when I'm in a hurry or want to brown meat. I stripped and shredded the chicken and ran some frozen peas and carrots under hot tap water for a quick thaw. The noodles went into the kettle and some Parmesan cheese was stirred into the sauce along with a squeeze of lemon juice and the tarragon. When the noodles were done, they were drained and and added to the sauce along with the chicken and vegetables. The mixture was turned into a casserole dish, topped with more cheese and transferred to the oven to bake until heated through. It took all of 15 minutes to assemble and another 30 minutes to cook. I am including directions for the white sauce because I use a quick-mixing flour. Feel free to use another white sauce if you prefer and, if you hate tarragon, use a herb more to your liking . I use whole milk to make my sauce but you can use reduced fat dairy if you wish. Here's the recipe.

Herbed Chicken Noodle Casserole


One-Step White Sauce

1-1/2 cups cold milk

2 tablespoons quick-mixing flour

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Casserole Mixture

1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed and drained

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

4 cups cooked egg noodles

1/2 cup shredded cheese (i.e. Cheddar, American, Colby)


1) Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Lightly spray a 1-1/2 quart casserole with cooking spray. Set aside.

2) To make white sauce: Combine milk, flour, butter, salt and pepper in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice, tarragon and Parmesan cheese and stir until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.

2) To make casserole mixture: Stir vegetables, chicken and noodles into white sauce, combining well. Turn into prepared casserole dish. Top with grated cheese and bake for about 30 minute, or until heated through and cheese has melted. Yield: 4 servings.

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