I met one of my oldest friends, Terri, through playing Dungeons & Dragons many years ago. In addition to our love of role-playing, we also both love gardening, canning, and cooking, and she passed on several recipes to me. This is one of those recipes.
This casserole can be time consuming to make from scratch, but several parts of it can be made and saved ahead of time, to just be combined when ready. If you keep pre-cooked chicken in the freezer, as I try to do when I can, and have homemade chicken broth in the freezer or pantry, or canned broth, most of the work is already done and you can skip ahead to assembling the casserole.
If not, we start with a pot of water. This will be the base of our broth. I usually start with about 3 quarts of water or so.
Put your pot of water on High, and assemble your broth ingredients. I use onion powder, garlic powder, 5 chicken bouillon cubes, and some butter to start the broth. We’ll also need two cans of cream of chicken soup (or homemade if you have it) and some stuffing mix to assemble the casserole. I prefer stuffing crumbs to cubes for this recipe, but you can use cubes instead if you like.
Put the broth ingredients in the pot as its heating and prepare whatever chicken you are going to use.
I use two large boneless skinless chicken breasts, or about two pounds of meat. I keep mine frozen, and for this recipe you don’t need to defrost them first. As soon as the water comes to a boil in the pot, carefully add the chicken breasts. Reduce the heat just enough so the pot won’t boil over, and let the chicken boil until done, 20 to 40 minutes.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the broth and let it cool until you can handle it. Let the broth continue to boil while you chop up the chicken into bite-size chunks. Place the chicken into your casserole dish. I use a 2 1/2-quart casserole for this recipe.
In a bowl, combine your cream of chicken soup with 1 cup of milk. Use a whisk to get rid of lumps as you mix them. Pour the mixture over the chicken in the casserole dish.
Continue boiling down your broth until there is approximately 2 cups left in the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a bit first if you plan to use your hands to mix the stuffing. I let it cool 15 minutes on the counter.
Add your stuffing mix to the broth and mix together. You can use a spoon, but I prefer to use my hands, that way I can better feel how wet or dry the mix is and whether it needs more mixing.
Then arrange the stuffing on top of your casserole.
Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Your finished casserole should be hot and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
If you have pre-cooked chicken, you can make the broth using only 1 quart of water, boiling it down to half. If you use canned or homemade broth, just place 2 cups in a pan and heat it just to boiling, then mix your stuffing with it. If you use your own broth but start with raw chicken, boil the chicken in plain water until done then chop, and heat your broth to mix with the stuffing as above. In this case, discard the water used to boil the chicken.
As an aside, when I started making this recipe years ago, stuffing came in a 16 ounce (1 pound) bag. These days it comes in a 14 ounce bag for the same price. Manufacturers apparently realized that if they just keep raising prices, eventually consumers complain and stop buying their product. So instead, they just put less product in the packaging, then eventually make the packaging smaller, hoping we won’t notice the difference. I’ve noticed. Take a look at the products you buy, they’re all getting smaller and less for the same money. It’s the same as raising the price.
2 tablespoons of butter
Garlic powder and onion powder to taste
5 chicken bouillon cubes
2 pounds of chicken meat
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of milk
1/2 of a 14oz bag of stuffing mix (16 oz if you can still find it)
Place 3 quarts of water in a pot and bring to a boil. While it’s heating, add onion and garlic powder to taste, as well as 2 tablespoons of butter and 5 chicken bouillon cubes.
When the water comes to a boil, add chicken and cook 20 to 40 minutes or until done. Time will vary based on the type and size of chicken you use. When chicken is done, remove from pot and let cool enough to handle, then chop into bite-size pieces. Let broth continue to boil while chopping. Place chopped chicken into the bottom of a 2.5-quart casserole dish.
Combine soup and milk in a bowl, whisk until smooth then pour over chicken.
Boil broth until 2 cups remain, then remove from heat and cool a bit. Combine stuffing mix with broth and arrange over the casserole.
Cover and bake casserole at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Casserole should be hot and bubbly. Cool for a few minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.