Classic Recipes: Chicken Asparagus Extra Cheesy Casserole
During the winter months, casseroles and soups are a mainstay in the kitchen. Outdoor grilling isn't much of an option and let's face it, meals can get boring. Since the pandemic, there's been quite a bit of takeout at our home. Don't get me wrong, having a meal prepared by someone other than myself is nice. But sometimes, it's nicer to stay inside and 'do it yourself'. On those nights, blow the dust off the old recipe box given to you by grandma or mom and find some classic recipes.
I say, go for the 'stick to your ribs' recipes that everybody enjoys. The ones with the baked cheese and the creamy white sauces that are oh-so delicious. We're talking 'comfort food'. With the world turned upside down and little relief in sight, we need a break. Let's indulge.
Chicken Asparagus Casserole is one of my Aunt Marge's classic recipes. After sharing tonight's dinner menu with me, I was reminded of Mom's asparagus casserole. I'd forgotten, until tonight, how much I loved her casserole. It was creamy, flavorful, and one of those dishes you couldn't stop eating. Check out the recipe and find some substitutions for those wanting to cut out some salt or stay with fresh ingredients.
Chicken Asparagus Casserole
4-6 deboned chicken breasts
2 (16) ounce cans of whole asparagus drained (you may use fresh...see tip below)
Cup of mayonnaise
2 cans cream of chicken soup (see below for quick homemade soup with less salt)
tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
tsp. Cavender's Greek seasoning
1/2 tsp. cumin
Cup of sharp cheddar cheese
Cook chicken breasts in rolling hot water for approximately 30 minutes. After draining the chicken, let it cool and cut into cubes. Mix the chicken with the cans of cream of chicken soup. Place chicken in a 9 x 13 dish. Layer the whole asparagus on top of the chicken. Mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and seasonings. Spread over the asparagus. Add the cheese. Cook for 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven. If you want the cheese a bit crisper, broil for five minutes or less.
Tip for using fresh asparagus (shared by Chef Jeff)
"Simply put on the plate, sprits with a bit of your favorite oil & season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic, wrap, and microwave at two-minute intervals to the desired doneness. Use immediately or place in fridge or freezer for a couple of minutes."
Recipe for homemade cream of chicken soup (double the recipe for the two cans)
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup milk (1 or 2%)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add flour, and whisk together to make a roux (a minute or two). Add the chicken broth and milk, and whisk until creamy (no lumps). Add the garlic powder. Salt to taste.
Bring to a simmer and continue cooking until the mixture thickens about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat. This will make the equivalent of one can of cream chicken soup. Double it for this recipe.