A creamy chicken casserole is a baked dish containing chicken, vegetables and milk ingredients. It is usually served as a main course for dinner, but can also be a side dish or served as leftovers. Creamy chicken casserole typically contains chicken and other fresh ingredients prepared by a cook, but a quicker version can be made using chicken soup and frozen vegetables. In addition, creamy chicken casserole can also be made with noodles, which make the dish more filling.
To make a creamy chicken casserole, vegetables are sautéed in a saucepan; choices might include mushrooms, onions, celery and peas. Frozen vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, can also be used in a creamy chicken casserole to save time. The vegetables are typically combined with a variety of spices to add flavor, such as pepper, thyme and garlic powder.
The most important ingredient in a creamy chicken casserole is the chicken itself. It is common to slice raw chicken breast into small strips or pieces and add them to the saucepan once the vegetables are sufficiently cooked. The chicken strips should be cooked until they are no longer pink. A simpler option is to use a can of condensed cream of chicken soup in place of the chicken. This saves time and adds flavor and creaminess to the casserole.
It is typical to use noodles as an ingredient in creamy chicken casserole. Egg noodles are most common, although other kinds of noodles can work as well. The noodles are usually boiled until soft and mixed in with the chicken and vegetables into a large casserole dish. For a healthier version of a casserole, whole wheat or whole grain noodles may be used in place of egg noodles.
Making the casserole creamy is an essential step in making creamy chicken casserole. This is typically accomplished using chicken stock, cornstarch and dairy ingredients. Chicken stock, cornstarch and evaporated milk are usually combined to make a thick substance, which is then poured through the entire casserole, hardening when baked. Sour cream can also be stirred into the casserole for extra creaminess.
While all types of creamy casseroles come out soft, it is common to add ingredients on top to make the casserole crunchy as well. This can be done using bread crumbs that are sprinkled over the casserole before baking. As an alternative, dried and crushed cereal and Parmesan cheese may be used as a flavorful and crunchy topping.