Pantry/Freezer Chicken Noodle Casserole

serves 4 hearty portions

For the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dried plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the casserole:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped onions
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (or 1 x 15-ounce can, drained)
  • 2 x 10-ounce cans chunk chicken, drained (12-ounce cans are fine too)
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons bouillon powder
  • 2 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 2 x 4-ounce cans mushroom pieces, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

***Measure out all ingredients before you begin cooking. You will be a calmer, more focused cook. (Also known as “mise en place”)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 deg. F with a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. For the topping, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir to coat, and toast for 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl, and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add onions and vegetables to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft and glossy.
  4. Add chicken, stir to mix, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the skillet mixture, stir to mix in, and cook for 1 minute. There should be no visible flour.
  6. Add the water and bouillon powder. Stir, scraping any stuck bits up from the skillet. Bring to a boil (lots of active bubbles) over medium-high heat.
  7. Add the noodles, stir, and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring every minute to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat.
  8. Stir in the mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and taste. If you like, add 1/4 teaspoon more pepper.
  9. Transfer casserole into an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish and spread evenly. Top with crumb topping and spread evenly to cover.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the casserole is bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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