Casseroles are simple, one dish meals that are commonly found in North American homes, at pot lucks, and at other gatherings. I have seen countless tv and movie scenes that portray families complaining about casserole dinners or that jokingly associate casseroles with poorly skilled cooks. I was in university the first time I tried a casserole and, jokes aside, casseroles are tasty, convenient, and most of them freeze well. They’re great for using up leftovers and they can be thrown together using any protein, pasta/rice, and vegetables that you happen to have on hand. I don’t make casseroles often, because they tend to be high in calories and sodium, and are often made with processed foods, but every now and then I will surprise my sister with her favourite casserole (recipe below).
Chicken or Turkey Casserole Recipe
1 pound (454 g) dried angel hair pasta
2 cups of cooked chicken or turkey that has been cut up or shredded into small pieces
1 can Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can Campbell’s condensed cream of chicken soup
3 cups of shredded cheese(s) (Note: Use any combination of cheese that you like. Our favourite combination is Velveeta cheese with Monterey Jack for the topping, but I’ve also made this using cheddar, marble, or mozzarella.)
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen and defrosted) (Note: Sometimes I omit the vegetables completely when I make this.)
ground black pepper
ketchup and/or hot sauce (optional for serving)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the inside of a large casserole dish and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Meanwhile, in a large, heat proof bowl, stir together the chicken or turkey, condensed soup, 2 cups of the cheese, peas, and a pinch of ground black pepper. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cover the pot with the lid until it reaches a full boil again. Then remove the lid and cook uncovered until you have achieved your desired doneness (use the package directions as a guideline), stirring occasionally. Be sure not to overcook the pasta. Drain the pasta well and stir it in with the other ingredients in the casserole dish. Spread the pasta mixture evenly in the dish and sprinkle over an even layer of the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered until it is heated through and the cheese is bubbling, about 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm. Once this has cooled completely, it can be frozen. Allow it to defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.