Country Casserole


In my family, if you die, get sick, have a car accident, have a baby, have a potluck, have a family reunion, have a picnic, get bad news, get hungry, or get last minute dinner guests…You get a Country Casserole!
This is our standard family casserole. It shows up everywhere! Why? Because we love it! This casserole is quick, easy, filling, great tasting, an inexpensive way to feed a crowd, a complete meal in one, freezes AMAZINGLY well, can be made even MORE easy by using canned chicken when you’re not in the mood to cook chicken ahead of time, and more importantly, its my husband’s personal favorite.
There! You ready for the recipe now?
Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!

You’ll need: small shell pasta, cream of chicken soup, garlic powder (just a bit), milk, shredded cheddar cheese, canned french fried onions, and frozen mixed vegetables.
Also some salt and pepper.

I’m warning you: I am making a little more than double recipe of this. I never make a single recipe. I showed the ingredients for a single (only one can of soup and such), but in the photographs I am taking you are going to think “WOW, that thing is huge!”. I never make just one of these casseroles because they freeze so incredibly well. With the effort of a single casserole and just a little more cost wise you can have an extra casserole anytime you need it! I go into some nifty reheating instructions as well as convenient storage instructions for the extra casserole later in this post.
You’ll also need chicken! You can cook it and shred it or you can just buy a large can of chicken and dump that right in when the time comes!
I have made this so many times, I have it down to a streamlined art. Set some water on to boil and pour your pasta in…….
Now pour your frozen mixed vegetables in right on top of it.
That’s right, we’re going to cook them all together at the same time and they will turn out just as fine as if you cooked them separately.
Cook until pasta is almost done. Drain well and pour into a large bowl.
At this point I am using my trusty red dishpan!
Add chicken.
I usually shred my chicken finer than this but my parents stopped by and Daddy was looking at a problem with my car so Mama insisted on staying outside due to that old martyr thing of “Well, he’s hot so I can’t be cool” and so I was in a hurry to get back outside due to the whole “Well, they’re outside so I can’t be inside….”
Pour in cream of chicken soup…
And milk
Add salt
Add garlic powder (Keep in mind the quantities you see here are for an almost triple recipe!)
Toss in cheese
Add pepper…
Pour in french fried onions.
Stir all of that up really well!
Spoon into a 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 for thirty minutes.
Remove from oven and top with more french fried onions….
and more CHEESE!!!
Return to oven for a few minutes until all of the cheese melts.
Country Casserole
  • 2 cups small shell pasta, cooked and drained
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
  • One can French fried onions, divided
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (can use canned chicken or rotisserie )
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine everything in a large bowl, reserving half of the cheese and half of the onions for topping later. Spoon into 9x13 casserole dish. Bake for twenty five minutes. Top with remaining onions and cheese, bake until cheese is melted, about five minutes more.

Freezing options: Instead of freezing this in your casserole dish, simply spoon it into a gallon ziploc bag. Lay the bag flat so that it will thaw out quicker and place it in your freezer.
On the day you want it, take it out the night before and refrigerate or place in fridge that morning.
If you forget to do all of this, no sweat! Just microwave the bag until it thaws just a bit, pour into your casserole, and bake!
To bake a casserole that is still frozen, simply place in the oven while the oven preheats. This allows the casserole to thaw quickly and then bake to perfection!

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  1. Loretta Rush says

    How much uncooked pasta do you use for two cups cooked? You said 2 cups cooked but show cooking it with the vegetables. I love your recipes and have really been enjoying your new book! Thank you for sharing!

      • Anna says

        It’s 2 cups uncooked :) When a recipe says “2 cups pasta, cooked and drained” it means to measure the pasta before cooking it. If it had said “2 cups cooked pasta” that would mean to measure after it’s cooked. She just showed photos of the entire cooking process. When I make this casserole, I actually measure the pasta by weight and do 1/2 lb, which is the weight of 2 C shell pasta. Different shapes of pasta have different volumes, so 2 C penne is not the same amount as 2 C shells. It’s just more consistent to weigh it if you don’t use small shells.

  2. Jen says

    Made this casserole for us last week and we loved it. I used leftover chicken from a whole chicken I had cooked in the crockpot earlier that week. Since there are two of us I baked half of a single batch and froze the other half for a freezer meal for another time. Loved how easy this was to throw together and how versitle it is. Thanks for another great go to recipe Christy.

  3. Freda says

    Someone may have asked this – I scanned but didn’t see it. Do you add the extra onions and cheese on top before you freeze it? Or do you wait and add those when you actually bake it?

    My husband’s out of town this weekend and I’m planning a cooking/freezing marathon! Thanks for answering!

  4. Chris A. says

    I have made this SO many times and it is always so good! Even the time I made it for a funeral meal and by mistake left the chicken in the fridge! I made two that day and planned on my family having one. My daughter mentioned she could not see any chicken in it and I said I was sure I put it in there. After supper found the chicken in fridge! Was so embarrassed I took one off without chicken but everyone said it was very tasty without it. I did make the other family a correct one at a later date so they could see how really good it was.

  5. Lisa Wydra says

    Wow. You were not kidding. I doubled the batch and we have a TON of it. I am going to bag up what we have left in quart freezer bags and freeze it. Hubby going to our lake cabin in Wisconsin soon for a few days and I am sending a few frozen bags up with him to use while he is there so he will have suppers :) I do that with a lot of our food for when I go out of town he has food to heat up or when he goes to the cabin. I will make small quart size bags from suppers and freeze it so I am not standing there making freezer meals all day for when I need meals for him. The kids even loved this one. Even the one that does not like veggies. Definitely a keeper for sure. I used large cans of chicken and added a little mozzarella cheese since I had a 1/2 bag to use up.

  6. Vannak2 says

    I initially discovered this recipe when pregnant with my middle child in 2010. I made a ton of freeze ahead meals and most were awful. This one was so good that it has become a family staple! I now have 3 kids and am laid up after surgery. My husband has been trying to keep up with feeding the family and the look of relief on his face when I told him this was in the freezer is the reason I keep making it!

    • says

      Bless him, what a wonderful man to try and fill your shoes!! I am so glad that you liked the recipe and that it has come to be so handy for your family. It is one of my all-time favorites for many of the same reasons. I love having a couple on hand for when I have a friend or family member in need of a quick easy meal for their family for whatever reason.

  7. Josey says

    Freezing in plastic bags instead of casserole pans- I love it! Thawing and then pouring into a dish makes this seem fresher somehow than pulling a ready to bake pan from the deep freeze. Just pour into a pan, sprinkle some cheese and bake- LOVE it.

  8. Emilie E says

    Has anyone tried to turn this into a freezer to crock pot meal, and if so how did it turn out? (I plan on using canned chicken so raw meat will not be an issue)

    PS. I made this before for a friend recovering from surgery took some rolls, salad dressing and bagged pre-washed lettuce; her and her kids loved it and her hubby was very appreciative (he was out of hot dogs ;p). Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  9. Muktar says

    I am so sory to hear about your loss of Ginger. I work with your Mom and know how difficult her last few weeks had been. I too have lost many four lggeed friends. AS time goes on your sadness will slowly pass BUT your fond memories will last forever. Just know she is in a better place where dogs sleep on clouds, eat treats abundantly and wait to be united with you once again. Lynn K.

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