Country Chicken Casserole

chicken 12

So, I had the intern work with me all day today…it was interesting. I may or may not have thrown him to the gauntlet to fend for himself for one shoot, but I think he did an amazing job. I’ve been in this industry for 5 years now; I learned the ropes by getting thrown out into the world and not knowing what to do. I believe the “sink or swim” technique is how people learn best in this industry or in any industry for that matter.

Now let’s talk food. I drew this ordinary recipe out of my recipe box the other day and got all the ingredients at the grocery store along with ingredients for four other recipes I’m going to make this week. It sounded simple but had everything I liked in a good ole casserole (I seem to make a lot of those, huh?) so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Now I have a great little tip for everyone. When making any recipe that calls for cooked, cubed chicken (like casseroles, chicken stews, chicken spaghetti, chicken enchiladas…you get the picture), POACH the chicken breasts instead of sautéing or grilling them. The chicken comes out so tender and so flavorful, and is super-duper easy to do. First, grab a deep skillet. Place your chicken breasts in one layer on the bottom of the skillet. Add seasonings (I use salt, pepper, garlic powder & smoked paprika—“C’s Seasoning” is what I’ll dub that mixture from now on) and pour water over the chicken so that it covers the chicken breasts by about a 1/2″ to 1″.

My skillet wasn't deep enough so I had to flip the chicken once or twice, but it still came out tasting the same as normal poached chicken.
My skillet wasn’t deep enough so I had to flip the chicken once or twice, but it still came out tasting the same as normal poached chicken.

Heat skillet to medium-high heat and wait until it boils. Once the water starts to boil, turn down heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Drain water and let chicken rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes (so it won’t be scalding hot while you are trying to cut it). Cut chicken into cubes and voila! Cooked, cubed chicken breast. Refrigerate leftovers or even freeze so you have some cubed chicken on hand for another casserole or chicken enchiladas! Which reminds me—I have a great chicken enchilada recipe around here somewhere…

Country Chicken Casserole

  • 1/2 lb. medium fresh baby portabella mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 TBS. butter, divided
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 2 cups diced, cooked, and peeled potatoes
  • 1 jar (2 oz.) diced pimientos, drained
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (or 2 TBS. dried parsley)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

chicken 101. In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms & onions in 3 TBS. of butter until tender. Add the chicken, potatoes, pimientos, parsley, half-and-half, buillon granules, salt, rosemary & pepper; heat through.

Rosemary is a great poultry seasoning.
Rosemary is a great poultry seasoning.

2. Spoon chicken mixture into a greased 2 quart baking dish (I used my long 9″x13″ baking dish). Melt remaining butter in a small bowl, stir in bread crumbs and sprinkle over casserole. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crumbs are toasted.

chicken 5In regards to how to cook the potatoes for the casserole, here is what I did: I peeled two potatoes and then cubed them and put them in a pot of water to boil (like you’re making mashed potatoes). Instead of cooking them until mushy, cook them so they are still a little hard but tender enough to eat (crisp-tender?) as is.

Another thing to note: I had never heard of nor used “chicken bouillon granules” before but they were real easy to find. The same brand that makes the beef and chicken bouillon cubes that come in the little blue-topped jars makes the bouillon granules as well, and they were positioned right next to each other on the shelf in the grocery store.

chicken 8

In other news, this recipe was very tasty! My roommate gave it “two bowls up”—which means he went back for seconds. That is always a sign that he enjoys something I’ve cooked.

chicken 7

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