Friday, May 25, 2018
Cooking

#CookClub recipe No. 23: Back-to-School Chicken Casserole (w/ video)

When the kids go back to school, many of us return to the kitchen. Sure, we've cooked during the summer but when the school bell rings each fall, we seem to get more serious about schedules.

#CookClub recipe No. 23 is a Back-to-School Chicken Casserole that can be tailored to many tastes. I made it exactly as the accompanying recipe reads but as I was cooking, I thought of many ways to tinker.

For instance, the bread-cube topping could easily be refrigerated biscuits, making the dish more like a savory cobbler. You can also change up the bread, substituting any crusty variety for the sourdough, even Cuban bread. It's best, though, if you cut the cubes from a whole loaf rather than slices. I might even be tempted to try it with a dried stuffing topping, using a brand like Pepperidge Farm. The recipe suggests baking it in a casserole dish, but it could also be made in individual ramekins.

As far as the filling goes, you can play with it endlessly. Leave out the peas and add shelled edamame. Double up on mushrooms (or don't use them at all). Slice chicken breasts that you've roasted yourself or use a rotisserie bird. Or leave out the chicken all together and turned it into a vegetarian dish by adding more vegetables.

And now for the can of condensed soup. I don't feel bad at all about using it though I know some cooks turn up their noses at a non-scratch sauce. I like the variety and I look for a low-sodium version. It's nice to have the choice between mushroom, celery or chicken.

This is a good go-to dish to have in your pocket throughout the school year. I imagine it might get put in the family's regular rotation.

As always, I am eager to see what the #CookClub will do with it.

Join us online!

To participate in #CookClub online, the key is to remember #CookClub because that's how you'll tag everything. You'll have two weekends to make the recipe and post a photo on Instagram.

Post photos and comments about the Back-to-School Chicken Casserole by 6 p.m. Aug. 31. Some of the photos and comments will be printed Sept. 3 in the Taste section of the Tampa Bay Times.

As part of the #CookClub conversation, join us Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m. for a live #CookClub chat on Twitter.

Contact Janet K. Keeler at [email protected] or (727) 893-8586. Follow @RoadEats.

Back-to-School Chicken Casserole

6 tablespoons butter, divided use

4 cups cubed sourdough bread (see note)

2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 small onion, peeled and sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moon shapes.

1 celery stalk, trimmed and sliced thinly

4 ounces (about 5 large) button or crimini mushrooms, sliced

1/3 cup frozen peas

1 cup white wine or chicken broth

1 (10.75 ounces) can cream of chicken soup (see note)

2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Melt four tablespoons of butter and toss with bread cubes, parsley and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

In large skillet, melt remaining two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Reduce heat, and saute onions for about 15 minutes. (If you want them caramelized, they will need another 15 minutes.) Add mushrooms, carrots and celery, increase heat back to medium, and cook for about 5 five minutes, until mushrooms have given up all their liquid and reduced in size. Stir in frozen peas.

Add wine or chicken broth and condensed soup. Stir until combined and smooth. Incorporate chicken and let heat through, less than 5 minutes.

Spoon mixture into 9-inch square baking dish (or shape of shallow baking dish). Top with bread cube mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: Substitute crusty Italian bread, ciabatta or even Cuban bread for the sourdough to cut into 1-inch cubes. Also, any kind of condensed cream soup will work here, including celery or mushroom.

Serves 4.

Source: Janet K. Keeler, Tampa Bay Times

Comments
Transform your weeknight cooking with this kitchen tool

Transform your weeknight cooking with this kitchen tool

Once upon a time, way back in the annals of home cooking, there was an era before sheet-pan suppers.In that dark age, even well-equipped kitchens did not have so much as a single professional sheet pan, let alone the two or three deemed indispensable...
Published: 05/23/18
Up your homemade smoothie game with these tips

Up your homemade smoothie game with these tips

You could head to your neighborhood juice shop and order a $7 or $8 smoothie. Blending your own, however, is not only easier on your wallet, but you can customize to your heartís content and make several batches at a time.Whether youíre making a nutr...
Published: 05/23/18
Vanilla is complex, even smoky, and may be a bakerís best friend

Vanilla is complex, even smoky, and may be a bakerís best friend

By Kim OdeSomewhere along the line, vanilla became synonymous with bland or ordinary.Which is just plain wrong.Blame it on a world of Chubby Hubby ice cream and Candy Cane Oreos, where "more" sounds like "better," where fake flavors bolster profits.I...
Published: 05/23/18
I tried making restaurant-quality braised short ribs at home

I tried making restaurant-quality braised short ribs at home

One of my 2018 cooking resolutions was to cook at least 10 things this year that I never have before. Somewhere near the top of my list was short ribs. You can hardly eat at a restaurant now without seeing short rib in some form on the menu: braised,...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Five ideas for cooking with lavender

Five ideas for cooking with lavender

Lavender is almost as pretty to smell as it is to look at, but as far as taste goes, the results arenít always as appealing. A little like cilantro, lavender can taste soapy to some people, making it a tricky plant to use properly. But, when used the...
Published: 05/22/18
Taste test: new (and very sugary) cereals

Taste test: new (and very sugary) cereals

My addiction to sugar began as a child. I loved sugary breakfast cereals as a morning meal or an evening snack, the sweeter the better. We used to joke in my house that I even added table sugar to Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms. Thankfu...
Published: 05/21/18
Five ideas for sleep-friendly midnight snacks

Five ideas for sleep-friendly midnight snacks

When the clock strikes midnight, I reach for the cookie jar. Okay, maybe itís not an actual jar ó maybe Iím even lazier, and I reach for the cardboard box of chocolate chip cookies I bought from the store. The point is, my late-night snack habits are...
Published: 05/16/18
Exploring alternative tea drinks to toast Prince Harry and Meghan Markleís royal wedding

Exploring alternative tea drinks to toast Prince Harry and Meghan Markleís royal wedding

The year was 2011. It was the night before Prince Williamís wedding to Kate Middleton, and I stood in my kitchen making chocolate chip scones. I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m., with plans to sit in the spare bedroom of the townhome and watch Britainís ro...
Published: 05/15/18
Taste test: pineapple juice

Taste test: pineapple juice

Having always loved a fresh pineapple stick in my brewed iced tea, I wondered recently if a splash of pineapple juice would give it the same sweet kick. While few of us drink pure pineapple juice, our panelists definitely enjoy an occasional watered-...
Published: 05/14/18
Branch out: Give Sauteed Asparagus in Soy Sauce Glaze a try

Branch out: Give Sauteed Asparagus in Soy Sauce Glaze a try

Asparagus is by far the favorite vegetable of my family. I can serve nearly 3 pounds of asparagus a couple of times a week to my family of six, and my girls will still argue over who gets the last stalk. I say this not to impress you with the adventu...
Published: 05/11/18