Before I get involved in what I’m sure will be an absolutely mesmerizing post on the creative use of leftover roast chicken, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who left me such kind and wonderful comments on my anniversary post Friday. You all help make it worthwhile and are what keeps the whole blogging thing enjoyable. Thank you all, so much, my dear bloggy friends.
And now on to the business at hand. Since I missed participating last week in Smart Mouth Broad’s new Money in the Bank…doohickey…thing…what would you call it? Really? At any rate, I’m taking up the money saving reigns today and will keep you enthralled with my shopping and cooking exploits from the weekend. I won’t go into the hormonal hysteria I suffered from Friday and Saturday…yet. I’m saving that little gem for this week’s Spin Cycle, which is all about The Change. (It just may be “change” for you, but in my world it’s about THE Change. And it’s not pretty. Just thought I’d warn you.)
Anyhoo, they had some interesting sales this week, and roasting/stewing chickens were Buy 1, Get One Free again and holy, er, cow, ground chuck was $1.99 a pound. Not only that, but red bell peppers AND extra sharp cheddar cheese were on sale, which means only one thing at the Sushi Bar: pimento cheese. So I made a roast chicken for dinner last night, along with some of my grandmother’s cornbread dressing (if I ever lack the ingredients for making either cornbread or cornbread dressing you can just call for the men in the white coats with the butterfly nets because you’ll know I’ve completely lost it), and as usual when I’ve roasted a chicken I have tons of chicken left over. Sometimes it’s made into chicken salad (I’ll post my recipe for that another day, ’cause it’s goooooood stuff), sometimes it’s thrown on a green salad, sometimes it’s put in a stir fry, and sometimes it’s made into a wonderful, homey casserole.
While this is not a difficult dish to prepare, it’s not exactly one of those easy to put together casseroles, although I suppose you could do something similar with cans of cream of celery and cream of chicken soups, but it would be a pale imitation of this glorious dish. This is the kind of casserole that gives casseroles a good name; it’s the kind of food that comforts and nourishes the soul as well as the body. I have yet to meet anyone (besides The Young One) who doesn’t gobble this right up, and then go back for seconds. Made with homemade egg noodles, this is nothing short of ambrosial.
If you have some leftover chicken (and I’ve done this before with leftovers from one of those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store), you’ve probably have everything else on hand to make this. If you don’t – tsk, tsk. We’ll have to work on that.
Chicken Noodle Casserole
2 1/2 cups of leftover roasted chicken, cubed
1/2 stick butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
I cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
8 ounces medium egg noodles
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over low heat and saute the onion, celery and carrot until the onion is soft, about 5 – 7 minutes. Stir in the flour, making a roux, and cook for anther 5 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth, then the milk, and increase the heat slightly. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the manufacturers instructions; drain. When the sauce has thickened, stir in the noodles and peas and remove from the heat.
Pour the chicken and noodle mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top, then drizzle the melted butter over the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are browned and it is all heated through. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.