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Comfort food comes in chicken casseroles

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune

A chicken tortilla casserole is a good choice to serve for a wintertime dinner.


If you enjoy comfort food, especially during the winter, then I hope you find something to your liking in this week’s recipe selection.

Chicken remains very popular for just about any type of main dish meal, especially dinners. Also, in most cases it is not all that expensive. If you use one of those rotisserie chickens that are precooked, it can also be quick and easy, and who doesn’t like that?

So think about setting a hot chicken casserole down on the dinner table and watch your guests or family dig in. And as usual, stay safe and warm as we get through the rest of this winter season.

Cat’s chicken tortilla casserole

2 cups cubed, cooked chicken

6 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces

1 1/2 cups corn

1 small can sliced ripe olives, drained

1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped

1 can cream of celery soup (can also use cream of chicken or mushroom)

1 container (8-oz.) sour cream

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons Knorr chicken bouillon granules

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

2 cups Colby/Jack cheese, shredded (or use a Mexican cheese blend)

1. In large bowl, mix chicken, tortillas, corn, olives and green onion tops.

2. In a small bowl, blend cream of celery soup, sour cream, soy sauce and bouillon granules; set aside.

3. In a skillet, heat olive oil to medium high and saute onion and bell peppers until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to caramelize. Add garlic and mix well, then add to chicken mixture.

4. Add soup mixture to other ingredients in the large bowl. Add the cheese and mix all thoroughly.

5. Grease a 2-quart oven-proof casserole dish and turn mixture into dish; smooth the top with back of wooden spoon. Cover and heat in a 350-degree preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove cover about halfway through baking.

Chicken pot pie casserole

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery ribs, diced

1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and minced

2 cloves pressed or minced garlic

3 cups rotisserie chicken meat, cubed

4 ounces button mush-rooms, cleaned and diced

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 cup flour

2 cups chicken stock or broth, low sodium or unsalted

1/4 cup white wine, semi-dry or Chardonnay

1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground sweet basil

1 piecrust, store bought or homemade

1 egg, beaten slightly with 1 teaspoon water

1. Preheat oven to 375. Allow piecrust to warm at room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes, before rolling out. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add diced carrots and celery and cook for 3 minutes. Add minced onions and cook until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add cubed, cooked chicken and diced mushrooms and cook 1 minute.

3. Sprinkle vegetables and chicken with the flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Stir in chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze the pan. Pour in the white wine and cream. Stir well. Season to taste with salt and add the pepper, thyme and basil. Stir well and continue to cook until thickened to a thick stew consistency.

4. Pour chicken stew mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Roll the piecrust to 1/4-inch thickness and into 1-inch strips to create a lattice top. Or, drape it over the chicken stew mixture, and trim or crimp in the sides. Combine egg and water and brush the pastry with the egg mixture.

5. Bake in preheated oven, on the center rack, 35 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden.

Chicken and veggie rice casserole

1 cup long-grain white rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup chopped yellow or white onion

2 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 large stalk celery, diced

6 medium-sized white or brown mushrooms (or use 1 small can of stems and pieces, drained)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen or canned corn (drained if canned)

2 cups chicken broth (preferably from cooking the chicken thighs)

2 to 3 frozen, boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 can condensed cream of celery soup

1 cup shredded cheese, such as mild Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack or a blend

Seasoned salt, to taste

1. In large saucepan, cook chicken thighs in enough water to cover (and to have at least 2 cups of broth left over) until the meat is very well done and the broth is rich. Drain, saving broth. Cut chicken up into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

2. In medium saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid, heat olive oil; add rice and begin to cook until rice becomes opaque. Add all the prepared vegetables (including peas and corn). Cover and continue to cook on low until the rice is done, about 20 minutes.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine rice mixture with the two cans of condensed soup (do not add water). Season with salt, if needed.

4. Pour into a large, buttered or sprayed casserole dish and top with shredded cheese. Bake about 25 minutes at 350 to 375 degrees or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted.

Broccoli and chicken casserole

6 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 packages of frozen broccoli

2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 cup medium Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 small jar pimentos

1 tube of Ritz-type crackers, crushed

1. Cook broccoli until it is mostly tender but is still crisp. Drain broccoli and mix with remaining ingredients except for cracker crumbs.

2. Place in greased casserole dish. Top with crackers and bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cheesy chicken stuffing broccoli and rice

1/2 to 3/4 of 16-oz. bag Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

1 cube butter

2 or 3 large ribs celery, chopped

1/2 large onion, chopped

Chicken broth

3 cups (or so) cooked, boneless chicken meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

4 crowns broccoli, steamed, cut up (not too small or they fall apart)

3 cups (about) cooked rice

1 can cream of celery soup, undiluted

1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1/2 soup can milk

3 cups (about) shredded Monterey Jack and medium Cheddar cheeses, mixed

Additional cheese, for topping

1. Prepare stuffing by melting butter in a skillet and cooking the celery and onion until tender and translucent. Place dry stuffing in very large mixing bowl; add butter and vegetable mixture to stuffing and mix well. Pour enough chicken broth over mixture to moisten stuffing.

2. Add remaining ingredients to large bowl and blend well. Turn out into greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with some additional shredded cheese.

3. Bake at 350 degrees until casserole is hot and bubbly and cheeses are well melted. Note: some French-fried onions (the kind in a can) would be good to mix with the cheese on top

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