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!
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…
Add garlic powder (Keep in mind the quantities you see here are for an almost triple recipe!)
Toss in cheese
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.
- 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
- 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!