Cooking for me is therapeutic. There are days that I am a little down or sometimes overwhelmed and I know exactly where to go. Standing in front of my pantry is like waiting in a therapist’s office. I don’t need to talk. I need to create and feel a sense of accomplishment. I need to focus on the project and not the problems.
There are days that I go in with no idea what I am going to make. It may be one of my Mom’s old favorites or something completely made up as I go along. Sometimes, it’s a spin off one of my Mom’s recipes that updates it to a totally different recipe. That is what I did with this recipe last night. I took her recipe for Chicken and Stuffing and changed the entire recipe to something out of this world delicious! As a matter of fact, as I write this, I don’t even have a name for it yet. It will come to me once I finish taking pictures.
Chicken Ham and Cheese Casserole
2 packs of chicken tenders
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 slices deli ham
12 slices Swiss or Mozzarella cheese
1 box Stove Top Stuffing
1 stick butter, melted
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2½ cups chicken broth
1½ cups half and half or whole milk
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Combine chicken broth and ½ cup milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the flour and seasonings together. Pour in remaining milk. Whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. (Mixture will be thick.) Pour the flour/milk mixture into the saucepan with the broth mixture. Whisk and stir constantly as mixture simmers. Continue to let simmer until mixture is smooth and thick. Around 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the bottom of a 13 x 9" baking dish with a layer of the sauce. Add uncooked rice and stir well.
Line the chicken tenders on top of the sauce and rice so they are packed in tight. You want no room between the tenders. Line the bottom and along the sides. Next brush the tenders with Dijon mustard making sure to cover them with a light coating.
Lay slices of cheese on top of the tenders, making sure to completely cover the chicken.
Then lay a double slices of ham on top of the cheese.
Spoon your sauce on top of ham slices completely covering. Then add one more layer of cheese on top of the sauce.
Sprinkle entire box of dry stuffing as you final layer, completely covering the top. Then pour melted butter all over the stuffing trying to moisten all of it. Cover and bake for one hour or until chicken is done and casserole is hot and bubbly.
No time to make sauce? Use Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
Omit salt if using soup
In a small mixing bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, milk, parsley, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until smooth, thick and creamy. Use in place of the homemade sauce above.
Photography is the property of and copyrighted to Welcome Home.