Make 1 Ahead, Bake 1 Now: Chicken Potato Casserole

1 cooked rotisserie chicken, about 4 c cubed
2 (10 oz) cans condensed reduced fat and sodium cream of chicken soup
16 oz sour cream
1/2 c milk
4 c shredded mild Cheddar cheese (2 x 8 oz bags), divided
32 oz (7 c) bag frozen hash brown potatoes
16 oz bag frozen peas and carrots
Optional: 1/4 c frozen diced onions
1.5 c crushed potato chip crumbs (from an 11 oz bag)

Later: You’ll need another 1.5 c crushed potato chips on baking day for the frozen casserole.

Cook’s Notes:

  • As the original author of this recipe notes, “this super simple and delicious recipe is perfect to freeze ahead of time.” I doubled Linda’s recipe, and then baked one for my family and froze the second for a friend who is ill. I made a few tweaks to her recipe to accommodate my friend’s tastes (no bell peppers!) Either way you make it, each casserole yields 8 to 10 servings.
  • To get 3 c of crushed potato chips, you’ll use most of an 11 oz bag.
  • A 2-quart baking dish is either 8-inches square or 8 x 11-inches. I used 9-inch square pans. The one to freeze fit well in a foil pan with a plastic lid with dimensions of 9-3/8 x 9-3/8 x 2-3/8 inches (23.8 cm x 23.8 cm x 6 cm).

Heat oven to 350°F. Skin the chicken. Take the chicken off the bone and cut into chunks.

Lightly coat two 2-quart baking pans with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine soup, sour cream, milk, chicken and 3 c shredded cheese. Reserve one-quarter of the mixture. Divide the remaining soup mixture evenly and spread half in each of the two prepared baking pans.

Break up the frozen vegetables. Place half of the frozen hash browns and peas and carrots (and optional onions) in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on High for 2 minutes to thaw.

Place the potato chips in a zip-top bag, seal the bag, and crush them to a fine-crumb consistency with a rolling pin. Note: You can do this step while the casseroles bake.

Make 1 Ahead…
In the pan you will freeze, sprinkle frozen hash browns and peas and carrots (and optional onions) on top of the soup mixture. Press down lightly. Top frozen vegetables with half of the remaining soup mixture. Spread the soup mixture evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c cheese. Wrap casserole in freezer wrap or heavy-duty foil and freeze.

To cook the casserole, thaw it overnight in refrigerator. Uncover and bake at 350°F for 60 to 70 minutes until bubbly. Top with 1.5 c crushed potato chips and bake 10 minutes longer. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Bake 1 Now…
Remove thawed vegetables from microwave. In the pan you will bake, sprinkle thawed hash browns and peas and carrots (and optional onions) on top of the soup mixture and press down lightly. Top frozen vegetables with half of the remaining soup mixture. Spread the soup mixture evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350°F for 60 minutes until bubbly.

Top with 1.5 c crushed potato chips and bake 10 minutes longer.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Source: modified from Linda Larsen, Your Guide to Busy Cooks, http://busycooks.about.com/od/precookedpoultryrecipes/r/chickenpotcasse.htm

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