Monday, March 15, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole

I've always loved casseroles for their homeyness. They are far from glamorous and even a little frumpy, but are always delicious and conjure up many wonderful childhood memories of family dinners and church potlucks. Lazy Sunday afternoons are perfect for making casseroles, which are really easy but can be time consuming. This Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole encompasses everything I love about casseroles- extra noodles, hidden veggies and lots of gooey cheese. This recipe is enough for two 8x8 casseroles- one to enjoy now and one to freeze and enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you DON'T feel like cooking!

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole
Warm, creamy and delicious, it will remind you of home! 
Serves 8 (two 8x8 casseroles)

2 large chicken breasts
1 lb. Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup (or combo with cream of chicken)
1 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Finely Diced Green Pepper
1 Finely Diced Onion
1/2 lb. asparagus spears, cut into 1 in. pieces (optional)
1 1/2 cup Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 cup Additional Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Preparation Instructions
Combine soups, 1 cup cheese and vegetables in large bowl. Poach chicken breasts in large pot in water (enough to cover) until done, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Remove 1 1/2 cups broth to large bowl with other ingredients. Add more water to pot (as needed) and cook spaghetti until al dente. Do not overcook. Shred or finely chop chicken and add to other ingredients. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with the other ingredients in large bowl and mix well.

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

Wine of the Night
Root: 1 (The Original Ungrafted)
Colchagua Valley, Chile

Carmenere is an absolutely delicious grape grown in Chile. It is known as the “lost grape of Bordeaux” and is an incredible value compared with European wines (this bottle was around $10). This wine has rich flavors of plum, blackberry and spice. On the nose it reminds me of a Zinfandel. It has a full body and broad structure, and the finish is luscious. I absolutely love it!

Recent Earthquake Note:
According to the Wall Street Journal, "At a national level, losses of Chilean wines, one of the country's signature export products, amount to 32,500 gallons, or nearly 13% of last year's production, with a value of $250 million, according to Wines of Chile, an industry group. Despite the dislocation caused in Chilean wine country, the quake shouldn't affect global wine prices, because Chile's market share isn't so large that a hiccup in its exports will cause scarcity."

Thank goodness! Support this up and coming wine distributor and enjoy some Chilean wine!

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