Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Of Jerk Face Puppies and Giant Casseroles

So let's talk about Saturday and Sunday mornings. Aren't they great? You get to sleep in a little - catch up a little on some sleep you might have missed during the work week. Well... not in my world. Sunday morning 5:15 one young puppy named Bernard let it be known he was done with his crate. Oh did I mention he's in our bedroom and there's no prayer of avoiding that yapping? Oh and Andy can sleep straight through it? Yeah - super special. So when I heard the little scamp pee in his crate I figured I better get him out of there... so I did. Well... what to do with him since he's only allowed in the kitchen? Head to the kitchen.
5:45 AM... Bronwyn was awake - I told her to go back to bed. I ended up baking some cookies I'd prepped the day before, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up, then making a casserole for Monday night. I knew I had a long work day and Andy would be working from home and could easily pop it in the oven. I also had plenty of time to get it done since I was being held hostage by this little scamp.
This casserole is more work than the typical casserole that I do. Frying bacon, pre-cooking chicken, pre-cooking veggies in the bacon fat, which by the way - not a super fan of... but my family is. So plenty of prep - but why not? I'm up at 5:45. Dear Bernard. Don't do that again - ever you little jerk.
It was great to come home that night to the smell of dinner ready, to Bronwyn who proclaimed "I lost another tooth at school today!", and Nicholas "I have a low fever and I don't feel well." Always fun at my house! Thankfully they all ate and enjoyed this one. I thought it was good too. Andy declared the casserole huge but tasted good and he plans to have plenty more as leftovers. Works for me.
Moral of the story... puppies are jerks. Oh... and this casserole is a win.

Cheesy Loaded Chicken Noodle Casserole
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 oz cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups half and half (or milk)
pinch kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
10 slices bacon, diced (divided)
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken is great for this)
1 cup frozen peas (or mixed veggies)
12 oz extra wide egg noodles, cooked 1 minute shy of al dente and drained
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese , (divided)
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese , (divided)
4 oz Crispy Fried Onions , (divided)

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a skillet, cook diced bacon over MED heat until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the drippings. Add diced onion and chopped mushrooms to bacon drippings and cook over MED HIGH heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl.
To large mixing bowl, add cream of chicken soup, sour cream, half and half, salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Whisk or stir until smooth. Add shredded chicken, 2/3 of the cooked bacon, frozen peas, 2 oz of the crispy fried onions, most of the shredded cheeses (reserving a few Tablespoons of each type), and cooked egg noodles.
Gently stir to combine well, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses and remaining bacon. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Remove foil, add remaining 2 oz crispy fried onions in an even layer, and bake an additional 5-7 minutes, until onions are lightly golden brown.
Sprinkle casserole with minced parsley if desired and serve hot.

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