Chicken noodle casserole is a comforting throwback meal that’s easy to make, and perfect to feed a crowd.
Call me strange, but dining hall food in college (which happens, oddly enough, to be very close to the aforementioned list) never creeped me out like it did some of my roommates.
One of my favorite old classics to make these days is chicken noodle casserole.
I also love its distant relative “tuna noodle casserole,” but some discerning family members refuse to eat it, so therefore I don’t waste my time making it.
Pick your battles, I say.
Chicken noodle casserole: it’s creamy, cheesy and hearty, and it’s also a great way to use up leftover roast chicken!
Don’t have any leftover roast chicken?
Just pick up a small rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
OR, buy packaged roasted chicken strips—it really doesn’t matter.
The point is to keep it simple!
Here are some of the tools I use:
- 2 cups dry shell-shaped pasta
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ½ stick salted butter
- 2 tablespoons salt + ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk (or 2%, but if you use skim the sauce may break – it needs the fat)
- 5 slices Provolone cheese, diced (or 1 cup shredded cheddar or Italian blend)
- 1 cup cooked chicken, diced
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ cup packaged fried onions
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt, then the pasta and cook to al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, pepper and ½ teaspoon salt – whisk together well, making sure everything’s fully incorporated with the butter. Pour the milk into the saucepan all at once, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the mixture thickens – about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the cheese, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the pasta, chicken and peas to the sauce, and fold together to combine. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish, sprinkle with fried onions and bake for 20 minutes, or until it starts to bubble around the edges.