It’s officially Fall! Fall brings many wonderful things – cozy sweaters, pumpkins, football, leaves crunching underfoot. But one of the very best things about cooler weather is comfort food. And by comfort food, I mean casseroles. This is typically a category of food reserved for families, something you can throw together for a big crowd. I’m going to show you how to translate this into an easy, quick, and inexpensive meal for one or two. To maximize the affordability, we will be showcasing one protein in all three recipes. To maximize the yum, we will be including an unexpected twist on a classic casserole ingredient.
For the protein, we’re going with a dependable standby. Rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery store is one of the most versatile prepared foods out there. It’s great for chicken salad, soup, to serve as-is with a few easy sides, the list goes on. And don’t forget to save the remaining bits and bones for a nice stock. This recipe is also a wonderful way to use up any leftovers as well.
Now for the wild card. The majority of the time, casseroles will call for good old condensed cream of *insert flavor here* soup. The standbys are cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, and cream of celery. Other than adding creaminess, within these magical cans is the key to full flavor. And what’s the fullest flavor out there? Yep. Bacon. I didn’t even know that cream of bacon soup existed until I came across it the other day. Let me tell you, it was fate. It adds a boost that takes your average casserole to another level.
The first casserole of the week is a retro classic: Chicken Divan. In the beginning, this was as a chicken dish that incorporated Mornay sauce and broccoli. It was considered to be an upper scale entrée, but when canned cream soups became a popular and convenient substitute, Chicken Divan became much more accessible to the everyday cook. It’s evolved into an essential recipe upon which many other casseroles have been based. It’s very customizable, from the vegetables to the seasoning and topping. For my version, I chose to use asparagus. As for the flavor, cream of bacon takes center stage, adding a smoky element that compliments the chicken beautifully. For the topping, panko breadcrumbs provide a great crispy texture to contrast the silkiness of the sauce.
If you prefer broccoli or another topping (crushed cheese crackers would be lovely), feel free to play around with substitutes. However, I do think this is a magical combination and can’t be beat.
Air Fryer Chicken Divan
- Air fryer or oven
- 8.1 x 8.1 Pyrex oven safe glass dish
- 1.5 cups rotisserie chicken meat, sheadded
- 10.5 oz cream of bacon condensed soup
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 10 stalks asparagus
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup panko
- 2 tbps butter, melted
- olive oil or cooking spray
- Preheat your air fryer, or oven to 400 degrees.
- Chop asparagus into one to two inch pieces.
- Spray your baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray, and add shredded chicken followed by asparagus pieces.
- Mix cream of bacon and milk in a small bowl, and pour over top of the asparagus.
- Melt butter (I use a small cup and the microwave).
- Add the shredded cheese to your dish, top with panko, then pour melted butter over top.
- Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, making sure to brown the top, without burning your casserole.
If you’re interested in the dish I used for this recipe, you can find it with the link is below.Pyrex Basics 8.1″ Square (2 quart)
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