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Classic comfort: Chicken noodle casserole

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Here's a classic recipe from Richard Swearinger that combines the best of three culinary basics; noodles, chicken and casserole!

Chicken Noodle Casserole
Ingredients
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs chicken legs and/or thighs
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp salt
1 slice bread
1 12-oz pkg jumbo or extra-large egg noodles
1 8-oz container cheddar French onion, French onion or sour cream dip
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Nonstick cooking spray
2 Tbsp fresh parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 375 (degrees) F. In a Dutch oven, cook two-thirds each of the celery and onion in hot oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add chicken, pepper, thyme and salt; cook for 2 minutes. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to boiler; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink.

2. Meanwhile, for the topping, tear bread in small pieces. Finely chop remaining celery and onion. In a small bowl toss together the bread, celery and onions; set aside.

3. With a slotted spoon transfer chicken to cutting board. Add noodles to simmering broth; boil gently 7 to 8 minutes just until tender, stirring occasionally. With slotted spoon transfer the noodles, celery and onions to 3-quart baking dish.

4. For the sauce, in a bowl whisk together sour cream dip and flour. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot broth until smooth. Add to broth in Dutch oven; cook and stir until boiling.

5. Meanwhile, discard the skin and bones from the chicken. Chop chicken, then add to noodles in dish. Gently stir in sauce. Sprinkle with topping, then lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.

6. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes until heated through and topping begins to brown. Top with parsley just before serving.

Makes 8 servings
Prep time: 15 min.
Cooking time: 65 min.

Source: “Delicious on a Dollar” by Richard Swearinger-Better Homes and Gardens, Feb. 2012

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