Chicken casserole dishes are versatile and a perfect way to curb that comfort food craving midweek. All you need is chicken, spinach, and a cheesy sauce. You can also add extras like mushrooms or veggies, especially if you have trouble getting your kids to eat vegetables!. If you are looking for a quick and easy cheesy chicken casserole recipe that can be changed to fit your wants and needs, you are in luck!
Can I put raw chicken in a casserole?
For this chicken casserole recipe, we normally use already cooked meat. You can use chicken breast, chicken thighs, or really any leftover chicken. It's safe to use raw chicken as all of the bacteria will be killed as soon as the dish reaches 160°F. However, you should bear in mind that raw chicken will take longer to cook.
How long does it take to cook raw chicken in a chicken casserole?
Using raw chicken in a chicken casserole will add an extra 30-40 min to your cooking time. If you do opt for raw meat, be sure to leave out the extra veggies. Vegetables like carrots, onion, broccoli, peas, etc. will end up overcooking and turn to mush which will cause them to lose their crispness and taste. In this chicken casserole recipe, we only used spinach, so raw chicken will work for this specific recipe.
What can I serve with a chicken casserole?
You can serve it with your favorite side dishes, like boiled or mashed potatoes, rice, a green salad, or roasted vegetables. If you want to up your veggie intake, feel free to mix them into your casserole. Extra mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery will pair well with this Chicken Parmesan casserole.
Cheesy Chicken Casserole
Makes 4 servings
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach
5 tbs butter
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup cream (20%, 38%, or a mixture of the two)
A pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
12-14 oz chicken breasts, cooked and diced (or 2 cups of leftover chicken meat)
Thaw the spinach. You can do it overnight, or simply put it in a colander and pour some hot water over it. Once it cools off, press and squeeze as much water as possible out of it. Yes, spinach loves water, but all of that water hidden inside can make chicken casseroles watery! Place the spinach in your casserole dish.
Now let's make the sauce. Over low to medium heat (we don't want it to burn) melt 3 tbs of butter. While stirring add the flour and seasoned salt. Cook it for a few minutes. Then, gradually add the milk and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. Last but not least, it is time for the Parmesan and cream. Slowly stir in the last two ingredients until the cheese melts. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add the chicken to the sauce mixture, stir it lightly and pour everything into your casserole dish.
Melt the remaining butter and mix it with soft breadcrumbs. Sprinkle them over your chicken spinach casserole.
Cook it in the oven for 20-25 min or until the breadcrumbs start turning brown. If you would like your breadcrumbs to be crispier, broil the dish for a few minutes before removing it from the oven.
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