Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm Back with Hot Chicken Salad Casserole


Hi - I'm back. Remember me? I’ve been away from this blog for so long. I’ve thought about it often, but quite honestly – I’ve been in a cooking rut.

In June, we traveled out of town and then came back with a week to prepare to go to our church’s girls camp and cook for the leaders for 4 days. We thought it would be a fun adventure – and it really was. But I was dead on my feet. Cook, clean, cook, clean…you get the picture. The bad news was that my recipe binder didn’t make it with us. The good news is that I had this blog and with the help of a couple of people, we were able to make almost everything come out right.

Then July hit with camping trips, and an IRS audit. That in itself is enough to make someone decide to eat cereal for dinner for the month. My kids are great foragers…whatever they can find, they’ve been making. They’ve perfected peanut butter sandwiches, tomato soup, mac’ n cheese, toast, cereal, chocolate milk, and anything yummy they could sneak from the pantry while my back was turned as I struggled to re-create my financial life in 2008. Then my husband and kids got sick (probably from that highly nutritious diet I just outlined)anyways, July has been a rough month!

Really, enough about my personal life. What I have been cooking has mainly been from recipes from this blog. I’m just barely starting to feel like I am getting my head above water, and I’m finally inspired to do some new cooking.

I picked up a couple of recipe books at the library yesterday. One focusing on casseroles, and the other on crème brulee. I can’t wait to start playing with them and I am once again inspired to cook.

Tomorrow after church we are having a potluck dinner. I thought I should at least make and effort and so tonight I made ‘Homemade Snickers’ and a ‘Hot Chicken Salad’ casserole.

This casserole comes from another SAA recipe book and it is an old standby. Don't be deceived because it is anything but hot - as in spicy. Think of a chicken salad sandwich...then get rid of the roll and lettuce and heat it up. Then add some super crunch to it - my all time favorite thing about this casserole is the crunch. Every single bite is filled with wonderful crunching.

Now, be forewarned. I am am Mormon, (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). For some reason, cornflakes on top of potatoes or casseroles seems to be acceptable in the Mormon culture. I don't understand why. I'd just like to throw out the disclaimer that I do not make it a general practice to put corn flakes on my chicken salad sandwiches (or really anywhere for that matter). However, I thought it would be nice to come home from the potluck with empty dishes, and cornflake casseroles - well, they seem to be typical Mormon potluck fare - and the kids LOVE cornflake casseroles. So, bear in mind that these lovely cornflakes just add to the amazing crunch of this hot salad.

Enough gab...on to the recipe!

2 c. cooked and cubed chicken (3 chicken breasts or 6 - 8 thighs)
1 1/2 c. diced celery
2 c. cooked rice
1 c. mayonnaise. (Do Not use miracle whip, but fat free or lowfat are fine)
2 T. diced onion
2 t. lemon juice
1 can undiluted cream of mushroom soup
2 cans sliced water chestnuts (these are the secret crunch ingredient)
1 t. salt
2 1/2 c. cornflakes
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)

Mix everything except the cornflakes, almonds and butter together and put into an ungreased casserole dish.


(Here it is without the cornflake topping yet)

In saucepan, melt butter. Once melted, add almonds and cornflakes. Toss to completely coat.

Spread cornflake mixture over chicken and rice mixture and bake uncovered for 25 - 30 minutes at 350*.

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