This may seem very '70's, but I really do like casseroles. I like the convenience of the make-ahead, easy-to-clean-up-after, one-pot dish, and I love the feeling of comfort in every mouthful. Perhaps because it reminds me of the safety and security of my youth, living in that comforting cocoon known as home with my family. Then again, maybe it's because I just like creamy chicken, noodles, and a crunchy topping. Who knows? But what I do know is that this casserole is really good. It dates back 40 years or so, and got my personal update of having been made with meat from a smoked chicken that I had gotten from the local barbecue joint. Heavens, but this was good! This is the first time I had ever eaten smoked chicken (I had actually stopped by for salmon, but they were out, so chicken won), and now think that I will be getting to know the barbecue guy on a first name basis. If you have the opportunity to use this type, by all means, do so. If not, it is still tasty with chicken that you've cooked yourself.
Comforting Chicken Noodle Casserole
4 ounces egg noodles
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup frozen peas
6 button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup half ‘n half
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375º F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook egg noodles according to packaging directions, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine soup, heavy cream, half ‘n half, and whisk together until well blended.
Stir in vegetables, cheddar cheese, cubed chicken, and reserved egg noodles. Season with poultry seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper. Turn mixture into a 1-1/2-quart casserole dish.
In a separate bowl, toss together breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the top of casserole.
Place baking dish in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly.
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