Friday, September 7, 2012

Comfort Food


My "patient" has progressed this week from chicken noodle soup to chicken and rice and finally tonight, she asked for Miss Susie's chicken noodle casserole. This request was made in part because she knew it would make enough to freeze one dish for her to take back to the city. She lives where there are probably 37 places that she could order food and have it delivered to her. But when you've been under the weather, none of that food is as good as your mother's.

My good friend Susie gave this recipe to me years and years ago. It is the ultimate comfort food. Creamy and rich and cheesy. Everyone in our family likes it--all the way from Baby Sister to Daddy-O. It is the perfect dish to take to a friend when they need a little help. It is also a HUGE recipe. My largest mixing bowl will barely hold all the ingredients. It will fill a 9x13-inch dish all the way to the top. We usually divide it into two dishes and stash one in the freezer for later. I have made three small casseroles from this recipe. Make it however it works for you. Tonight I filled a square foil pan for the freezer and then put the rest in a 2-qt. oblong baking dish for our supper.


Miss Susie's Chicken Noodle Casserole

4-5 chicken breasts
1 (16-oz.) bag of wide noodles
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
grated parmesan cheese
homemade croutons

Boil chicken breasts until tender. Pull meat off bones and cut into bite-size pieces.
Cook noodles in the broth, according to package directions. Drain.
Mix chicken, noodles, soups and sour cream together. Put into 9x13-inch greased baking dish.
Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, then sprinkle a little parmesan cheese over it. Top with buttered croutons.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.


If you are freezing a dish, leave off the croutons. Wrap tightly with heavy-duty foil and freeze unbaked.  To bake, move from freezer to the refrigerator the night before baking. Then uncover, add croutons and bake. You might need to add a few extra minutes. Just check to see if it is hot all the way through.

Today I used boneless skinless breasts to make it easy. I added a can of chicken broth to the cooking water before I cooked the noodles for a flavor boost. (But I don't like the packets of stuff labeled "flavor booster.) 

I don't always use croutons but they do add a nice crunch. To make them, leave a couple of slices of bread out (I stuck them in a cold toaster oven) for a few hours to get stale. Slice into cubes. Melt butter in a skillet, then toss bread cubes in the butter and stir in skillet until lightly browned. You could use buttered bread crumbs instead. 


The weather has looked just like this for much of the week. It has kind of matched the mood in the house. Surely the sun will come out soon.



2 comments:

Mommy said...

When describing Mrs. Susie's dish to others, I affectionately call it "crisis casserole" -- the perfect dish to deliver to someone in a (good or bad) crisis. Also, I usually freeze it with the croutons...still delicious!

Mimi said...

Good to know you can freeze with the croutons, too. Probably most of the time, I don't even make the croutons--even though that makes it so good.