My favorite meal-in-a-dish casserole is made with chicken. I sometime wonder what we ever did without those great rotisserie roasted chickens from the supermarkets. They are great to have on hand for casseroles, soups, salads or just to serve as a meat course. Add a salad and some rolls from the bakery and you have a complete meal with little time spent in the kitchen.
Several years ago, I was planning the menu for an annual statewide conference held at our church. Of course, I decided to make a chicken casserole as one of the entrees.
I took a basic recipe and started adding more flavor using ingredients I had on hand. Of course, my first ingredient was boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I gave each piece a good sprinkling of lemon pepper seasoning, which sparked up the flavor. If you are in a hurry, remember that they have rotisserie chicken flavored with lemon pepper also.
Most casseroles need a cream base, and I almost always opt for some kind of canned cream soup. For this particular dish, I chose cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups, to which I added green peas and sour cream.
This casserole was not only tasty, but also quick and easy to make. If you want to add an elegant touch, use canned asparagus instead of the green peas.
The following recipe for Lemon Pepper Chicken Casserole calls for a top crust of Ritz crackers mixed with butter and poppy seeds.
I remembered I had some tortilla chips leftover from another event, so I decided to crush them for the topping. You could also use breadcrumbs or potato chips. If I were making this casserole today, I would use lightly buttered Panko crumbs. These Japanese breadcrumbs add a great crunch. You could also use either plain, Italian or lemon pepper Panko crumbs.
If you have a favorite casserole recipe but find that you don’t have all the ingredients needed to make it, don’t worry. Most recipes can be adapted to any type of meat and vegetables you have on hand.
Lemon Pepper Chicken Casserole
6 to 8 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
Lemon pepper seasoning
1 (10 ¾ ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (10 ¾ ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
1 cup green peas
35 (1 sleeve) Ritz crackers, crumbled
1 teaspoon poppy seed
⅓ cup melted butter or margarine
Sprinkle chicken breasts with lemon pepper seasoning. Place in shallow baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake until fork tender. This usually takes about 20-25 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, green peas and chicken. Mix well and spoon into casserole dish. Combine crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of casserole. Bake at 350 F until bubbly, usually about 20-25 minutes.
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