My casserole making days began with a can of cream of soups. I still use them from time to time because they provide that comforting 1980’s flavor. I keep them in the pantry because I never know when I want one. Tonight I wanted to make a casserole without one and to find pantry ingredients I felt most people would have on hand. The goal was fast and easy, comforting, and still have some nutrition. I said some.
Bacon, oh bacon. I decided to lead with bacon in the title, it’s flavor is tasted in every bite. However, if you want more of a crisp, precook your bacon or place your bacon in strips along the top of the casserole and crumble at the end of the baking and mix it in. The way I did it, some pieces crisped up, but others did not. They were cooked through, but still soft.
I used frozen broccoli instead of fresh. I didn’t have fresh, it didn’t look great at the market, and I confess, I was tired and just wanted to be fast…so ‘Team Go Frozen!’ I know I say “to taste” for both black pepper and salt and that is actually hard to do with raw chicken and potentially raw bacon in the mix, so use your own cooking judgment for this.
4 cups chicken; cubed
4-6 pieces of bacon; whole or cut up into pieces
1½-2 cups of broccoli; chopped
2-3 oz mushrooms; diced
½ cup chopped onion; finely diced
4 oz cheddar cheese; grated-plus a bit more for topping
¼ tsp black pepper; to taste
¼ tsp salt; to taste
⅓ tsp granulated garlic
½ cup ranch dressing
½ cup bbq sauce
¼ dairy–milk, half & half, heavy cream
3 cups leftover rice; COOKED
Determine how the bacon will be handled.
Mixing in the bacon: In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients. Mix well. Place in a baking dish, top with a bit of extra cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350º preheated oven. Bake for 35 minutes and then remove the foil and cook for 5 more minutes uncovered.
Topping with Bacon: Add all ingredients except the bacon to a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Place in a baking dish. Layer the strips of bacon over the top of the casserole. Bake in a 350º preheated oven. Bake for 35 minutes and then remove from oven. Carefully crumble the bacon and mix into the casserole. Make smooth and top with cheese, bake for 5 more minutes uncovered.
Serve and enjoy.