I have a criteria for recipes that I cook. They have to be easy, quick, delicious, and they can’t cost an arm and a leg. Like most folks these day, I’ve always had to watch the budget. This casserole with chicken and noodles definitely fits the bill.
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This recipe has been in my family since I was about five years old. My mom got it from our neighbor across the alley (thank you Karmen B.!) and it was our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. I’m not sure what it was called originally, but it got renamed in our family because of when Mom always served it.
Now, I have to admit that I tend to play around and “tweak” recipes. The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s a very basic, and mild, casserole as is.
I’ve changed things up a lot at different times depending on what particular ingredients I’ve had around. I’ve used Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, and a combination of the cream soups.
Whatever combination, it always tastes good. I’ve even substituted a can of diced green chilies for the celery.
The original recipe called for chopped green pepper, chopped red pepper, and diced pimento. When the kids were younger I didn’t always add the bell peppers because they would pick them out.
However, as they’ve grown up and are less picky, I include the peppers again and I love the color they add. In fact, the green and red chunks in the casserole is probably what originally prompted my mom to serve it to us that first Christmas Eve (and it does give the dish a little oomph so it’s great to add if it suits your family’s taste).
Our love for the dish was what kept her serving it every year thereafter. At our house, it just wasn’t Christmas without this dish on the table.
Recipe For Christmas Eve Casserole
Christmas Eve Casserole: Chicken with Noodles & Cheese
- 2 large chicken breast, cooked and cubed you can substitute canned chicken
- 2 12-ounce bags wide egg noodles cooked, drain most of the water
- 3 large stalks celery diced
- 2 cans Cream of Celery Soup best substitutions are Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom
- 2 pounds Velveeta cheese, cubed you can use less if you prefer a less cheesy dish
- 1/2 medium onion chopped (optional)
- 1/2 large green bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 large red bell pepper chopped (you can substitute a small jar of pimentos)
- salt & pepper to taste
Cook and cube chicken breasts unless using canned.
If cooking your own chicken, reserve the broth that comes from cooking and add this to the water to cook the pasta – if adds good flavor.
Cook egg noodles according to package. When done to desired firmness drain most of liquid – leave about 1 cup of liquid to help melt cheeses and soups.
Add cheese to hot noodles and stir to begin melting.
Add remaining ingredients and stir together until well combined.
Bake in preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes till cheese is thoroughly melted and casserole is hot all the way through.
As you can see from the instructions, I’ve played around with this casserole a lot through the years. The great thing is that there really isn’t any way to mess it up. As long as you stick with the basics of chicken, noodles, cheese, and some cream soups, you’ll always come out with something that tastes good.
Does your family have a special food that’s always served at Christmas?
More delicious recipes to check out before you leave:
Mexican Manicotti is another of those super easy yet yummy recipes. This one always gets rave reviews…it’s frequently requested.
Penne Pasta with Ham & Peas is a great way to use up that holiday ham. This one isn’t cheesy but has a nice, mild flavor.
If you’ve got to take a dish to your mother-in-law’s house or to a potluck dinner these casserole and slow cooker carriers will help keep your dish from turning into a mess or spilling while it’s in transit. You can click the link or the photo to check them out.