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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I have always loved Chicken Cordon Bleu. It was our main course when we got married years ago...I have made my favorite version many times, even tried a layered casserole awhile ago. However, this version surpasses my other casserole option. When I have the time I like making the classic version, but this dinner came together easily and tasted delicious! When tasting the sauce I could have kept eating it, but decided it was better if I used it in the actual meal I was preparing! I accidentally left three ingredients out of the picture, so in addition to what is pictured below, you will also need 3 oz. cream cheese, 2 cups of milk, and 2 TBLS. flour.
Before you begin the casserole, bring your water to a boil and cook the pasta. The first step in the casserole process may seem a little tedious. The original recipe calls for you to blend the cream cheese, flour, salt and milk in a blender. I just used my food processor and pulsed it a few times to get the mixture soft and smooth. Once that is ready, warm up 1 TBLS of butter in a saucepan. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, slowly add the milk mixture, stir and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the onion powder and Italian seasoning. Add a little salt and pepper, try some and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Continue to heat and stir till the mixture becomes thick. At this point I poured the cooked pasta, cooked chicken, bacon and ham into a large bowl and poured the mixture over the top. Stir to coat and pour in a casserole dish. 
Melt 3 TBLS of butter with 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bread crumbs are lightly browned. 
Now that is what's for dinner!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Adapted from Eat Cake for Dinner

2 1/2 cups pasta, your choice (measure before cooking)
Cook pasta according to package directions

I decided to just grill some boneless skinless chicken breast during the day so they would be ready for dinner. You need about 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken
4-5 Strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 lb. deli ham, diced

In a food processor or blender combine
2 cups milk
4 oz. cream cheese, straight from the refrigerator 
2 TBLS flour
1 tsp. kosher salt

Melt 1 TBLS butter in a saucepan and add 1 tsp. garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds and carefully add the milk mixture. Stir continuously for about 3 minutes until simmering. Add in 
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Continue to stir until mixture thickens. 
Add 1 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese and stir till cheese melts. 

In large bowl combine pasta, bacon, chicken, and ham. Pour the milk/cheese mixture over and stir to combine. Place in a greased casserole dish.
Mix together 4 TBLS of melted butter with 1 cup of panko bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

I used two smaller casserole dishes to prepare this. I baked one and placed one in the freezer to pull out when we are in a rush or in need for an even easier dinner! 

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