Yesterday I was talking all about how to make casseroles without the can of condensed cream soup. So, today I thought I’d share a quick recipe for an easy chicken noodle casserole that I made recently.
I’ve never been a huge fan of standard chicken noodle or tuna noodle casseroles. I always want them to have more veggies and more seasonings. So, when I had some leftover roast chicken a few weeks ago, I decided to make my own version of a chicken noodle casserole with a Southwest twist. I added corn and black beans, as well as some veggies from the garden and CSA. I also threw in some spices to make sure the casserole wasn’t lacking in Southwest flavor.
You can probably relate to the fact that when you’re making casseroles, some just turn out better than others. Or maybe that’s just me. I was pleasantly surprised with this casserole, though. It turned out really well, and my hubby was a big fan, too. It had just the right amount of flavor and spice. So, I’m saving the recipe and I’ll be making it again. I also split the casserole into two smaller dishes and stashed one in the freezer for post-baby!
I used the veggies that I already had on hand for this casserole, but if you don’t have the same ones, don’t worry about it. Just use whatever you do have on hand! If you want things to be a bit spicier, feel free to throw in a minced jalapeño (or another hot pepper). You can also garnish with cilantro or avocado, if you have those handy. Unfortunately, I didn’t!
Southwest Chicken Noodle Casserole
Makes one 9 by 13-inch casserole, serves 10 – 12
- 8 ounces egg noodles
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 green bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cooked corn kernels
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups crushed corn tortillas
(I had tortillas with lime, which added nice flavor!)
- Sour cream (optional)
- Fresh cherry tomatoes (optional)
Begin by cooking the egg noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and zucchini, and saute until tender but not mushy (about 6 – 8 minutes). Transfer the cookied veggies to a large mixing bowl. Add in the cooked noodles as well as the black beans, corn, and shredded chicken. Toss to combine, and set aside.
To prepare the sauce, reduce the heat to medium low and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in your skillet (no need to wash after cooking the veggies!). Add in the garlic, and cook until fragrant (just a few minutes). Sprinkle the flour into the skillet, and whisk to form a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook for about 4 – 5 minutes, until the roux is slightly golden and the flour is cooked. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and continue to cook for an additional minute or two.
Gradually add the milk, whisking to remove any lumps. Increase the temperature to medium and continue whisking until the sauce comes to a slow boil. You will notice that the sauce will thicken. When it does, remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the yogurt and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Pour the sauce over the noodles mixture in your mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Transfer to a greased casserole dish (about 9 by 13-inches, or two 8-inch dishes). If you are making this casserole ahead of time, stop here until you’re ready to bake the casserole.
When you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle the crushed tortillas over the casserole, and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes, until the casserole is bubbly and the top is golden.
Let the casserole cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream and fresh tomatoes, if desired.