Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Almond Chicken Casserole

We southerners sure love our casseroles!  I don't know what's more to love, having less dishes to clean or having all the food groups in one pan.  Either way, casseroles are convenient and simple and I love them!  This recipe came from "The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking".  It contains over 600 recipes from generations of southerners.  I am here to tell you, that it's a fabulous compilation of delicious dishes, most very indulgent (the southern way, of course).  The Blue Willow Inn is located in Social Circle, GA, just south of Atlanta.  It opened in January of 1991 in a renovated Greek revival mansion.  The food is delicious, southern style cuisine.  I promise you will not leave hungry!  The food has been consistently amazing and keeps customers coming back year after year. 
Nancy Morris of Covington, GA submitted this recipe to The Blue Willow Inn's recipe contest in 2004 in the meats and main dishes category.  Her Almond Chicken Casserole won first place and let me tell you, it's well deserved!!!  I made a few substitutions to the original recipe to make it healthier, but I didn't take away from the amazing end result.  Enjoy~

Almond Chicken Casserole

The "Bible of Southern Cooking"


Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chesnuts, drained
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup *I used Pacific foods organic condensed cream of mushroom soup (the flavor is great and it comes in a small carton, instead of a can)
2/3 cup mayonnaise *a low-fat, olive oil based mayo is recommended
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast *I used Trader Joe's skinless, boneless cooked chicken breasts (a huge time-saver and they taste great)
*you can use low-fat sour cream for half the mayo.  I have made it both ways and like the sour cream/mayo blend the best

Topping:
1 (8 ounce) can crescent rolls *Trader Joe's makes a healthier crescent roll made with unbleached flour and without hydrogenated fats
2/3 cup shredded swiss cheese *low-fat to lighten-up
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 tbsp organic butter *can use smart balance butter sticks

Here are some of the items that I loved for this dish that are healthier options:


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Put the chopped onion and celery into a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, combine the onion, celery, water chesnuts, mushroom soup and mayonnaise.  Cook this mixture until bubbly all the way through.  This will blend the flavors.  Add the chicken and pour into a 9x13 inch casserole dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  For the topping: unfold the crescent rolls and lay on top of the casserole.  Sprinkle with the shredded swiss and then with the almonds.  Melt the butter and drizzle on top.  Bake for 25 minutes. 

Into the oven:




Makes 10-12 servings.  Great served with a salad and steamed vegetables.

15 comments:

  1. Would never have heard of something like this.I've heard of chicken with cashew nuts, that's good. Will give this a try. :) Thanks for posting the recipe.

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  2. You're welcome, Rochelle! Thank you for visting my foodie blog. :)

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  3. How can you go wrong with all those flavorful ingredients in this delicious-looking dish???? Wish I had a Trader Joe's nearby! Keep up the good work Gal!

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  4. LOVED your definitions of Southern cooking :) and this casserole! Your cookbook looks like a "must have" too!

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  5. Well, I'm not southern and I love casseroles too! I think they are so "homey" and I love less dishes and being able to make ahead too. Thanks for sharing at Church Supper! Have a blessed week.

    Everyday Mom's Meals

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  6. This casserole looks delicious! I like that you made it healthier. I love shopping at Trader Joe's, I think their products are great!

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  7. This sounds SO delicious. Unfortunately there is not a Trader Joe's in our area, but I do look for healthier options. Am thinking this recipe will do well perhaps with left over turkey from thanksgiving as well! Thank you for sharing!

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  8. wow...looks yummyyyy!!! I should definitely try this one :) Your recipes have got a variety!

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  9. We just enjoyed this delicious casserole for supper! I added a little white wine to the sauce and served it with steamed asparagus. So good! Thanks for this addition to our make-ahead-'n-freeze casserole list.

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  10. A Question, If I cook this casserole today and then just reheat it up for a dinner I'm having on Sat night do I bother freezing or would it last in the Fridge?

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  11. Thank you all!!! I am so glad that you love the casserole. :) To the last comment, I think that you would be fine to assemble the casserole today and then bake it on Saturday. Just keep it in the fridge and cover with plastic wrap. I don't think that the texture of the crescent roll dough is as good re-heated as it is the day you bake it. Don't get me wrong, we think the leftovers are delicious, but if you are serving it to guests then I would wait until Saturday to bake. :)

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  12. Amee, found your link on Frugal Local Kitchen blog on the Rose Romano post! Now I have a new blog to read-my downfall to my blog production--OPBs (other people's blogs!)

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  13. lol, Nancy, I know what you mean! Glad to have you here. :)

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  14. Hi! I just came across this recipe and love your site. You have a new follower. :) Quick question - I'm making this for a new mom, so I need to make ahead and freeze. What are the instructions I should tell her for reheating? Thanks!

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  15. Thank you! I would assemble the casserole without the crescent roll topping to freeze. Thaw frozen casserole in the refrigerator overnight and then add the crescent rolls, butter and almonds and bake per recipe instructions. Otherwise, your crust will get soggy. :)

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