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Chicken Casserole

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This chicken casserole recipe originally was tuna casserole. But since my family isn’t too big on the idea of canned tuna with noodles, I changed it one day when I didn’t have any tuna. And the tuna casserole recipe I have came from my Great Aunt Jo on my mom’s side of the family.

I remember eating the original casserole for the first time in Scottsdale, Arizona. This was when I was a kid, and we were swimming in summer-time. Furthermore, I think my mom told us we were going to have tuna casserole. And we all thought, ‘Uugh, yuck.’ However, we were in for a delicious surprise.

penne pasta, red onion in black pot with spoon on stove

Though you guys know I love to change recipes. The original calls for 10 oz can of albacore tuna; and to cook the noodles until they’re tender only, not fully cooked. Although, if you don’t cook them fully, then when the casserole comes out of the oven, a lot of the noodles, if not most of them, will be rock hard. Unless you know the trick to cooking them. Trust me, I’ve made this enough times to know. This is why I’ve added the water, so that the noodles have some way to cook prior to going in the oven.

Ingredients for Chicken Casserole:

  • 1 lb ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 14 1/2 oz can tomatoes, pulsed in food processor with the juices
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz can of mushrooms or 8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 12.5 oz can of chicken
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 14-35 oz of water
chicken, penne pasta, tomatoes in clear rectangular casserole dish

Instructions for Chicken Casserole:

  • First, preheat oven to 375 degrees; and spray a 9X12 inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Next, cook the pasta with chopped onion in olive oil until pasta is golden. Then add the remaining ingredients, except chicken and cheese. And bring to a boil. When adding the water, do so 14 oz or less at a time, and stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • Cook until noodles are al dente. Remove pot from heat and add canned chicken; stir into the noodles. Then transfer to a casserole dish. And top with the shredded cheese. Stir and bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

I could only find one recipe that appeared similar to the one from my aunt, with the spices and tomatoes. Though there are others with tomatoes. But mostly when you look up tuna casserole, you’ll find recipes with mushroom soup, condensed mushroom soup, etc. So people associate tuna casserole more with a white sauce rather than a red tomato sauce.

penne pasta, chicken, tomatoes on white plate

And there are probably about as many chicken casserole recipes around as there are people. Chicken is extremely diverse, as are casseroles.

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By KS

I breed pure Black Ameraucana chickens and Easter Eggers that are Black Ameraucana mixed with either Cuckoo Maran or Barred Rock. And I donate eggs to people or organizations in need.

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