Mama’s Chicken Casserole

DSC_0755This recipe is one of my Mama’s, that has been in the family for many years. It means a lot to me because my Grandmother Hughes, always requested that I make it for her in her later years. I might add, there was nothing I love more than cooking for my grandmother … whom had a very refined taste palate and was a great critique on anything and everything I made for her. I valued her opinion not only my cooking styles but many subjects in life. One whom lives to be 100 years old and gives you advice, you might want to heed it.

Ingrediants

2 Tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Boneless, skinless Chicken Breast cut into bite sized pieces
4 Boneless, skinless Chicken thighs cut into small bite sized pieces. You can use all white are all dark meat if you like. I prefer the dark meat but like to keep it mixed up a bit. You also can put more or less meat, according to your personal preference. In my family they want more meat most of the time. Roughly 4 to 5 cups of meat, about what I use and what you’ll get from the above sections.
½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 red bell peppers chopped into chunky pieces
1 green bell pepper chopped into chunky pieces
2 medium onions chopped into large chunky pieces
1 – 4 oz can Giorgio chunky portabella mushrooms undrained
1 – 10.5 can of Campbells cream of mushroom
1 – 10.5 oz can of Campbells cream of chicken
1 ½ cups Blue Plate mayonnaise
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ tsp salt, or to your taste
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp of Tony Chachere’s More Spice Creole Seasoning
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 box of pasta of your choice (I prefer to use shells or angel hair) cook according to directions on the box, about 3 to 4 cups of pasta … more or less, according to your pasta ratio preferred!

Topping:

My topping of choice …
½ cup slivered almonds

If you prefer another topping like crushed Ritz crackers, crushed corn or frosted flakes, it’s really whatever your choice may be usually about ½ will be enough.

Directions

Start with a nice sized pot that can be used on the oven top or inside, preferable a nonstick. On a medium to high heat add the olive oil and let it heat for about a minute on a medium to high setting, then add the already prepared bite sized chicken pieces. Sprinkle the ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes on top then stir it up to make sure the seasoning is distributed well throughout the chicken chunks pieces. Continue to stir for about 10 minutes or until the chicken some of the juices start to evaporate.

Now add the chopped bell peppers and onions and continue to stir for an additional 10 minutes. Add the can of mushrooms undrained. Continue to stir until the onions and bell peppers become limp and the liquids have started to evaporate, about an additional 5 minutes. I usually start my pasta about the time I add the can of mushrooms so that it will be ready and drained after this last step. You’ll also want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Now add your Campbells soups, heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise and mix it well. Turn your heat down to a low to medium setting. Let it simmer about 3 minutes while you add the final spices, then mix well to be sure the spices are well distributed throughout. Stir occasionally until the mixture is heated well about 5 more minutes and remove from the heat.

Add your prepared pasta of choice and fold into the mixture until it all covered and even distribution is achieved.

At this point, if you’ve used a pot that can be put in the oven go ahead and add topping of choice on top distributing it evenly. If you have to transfer to a casserole dish do so after spraying spray with cooking spray, then place your toppings on it. Place your dish in the oven for 45 minutes. If you choose to add cheese as a topping do so when there’s 15 minutes left on the timer. When it’s done, let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving hot or warm. Bon appetite!DSC_0761

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