Monday, November 02, 2009

A fast-cooked slow cooker recipe

Cheesy Chicken-Noodle Casserole
The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes Copyright 2001

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground chicken
2 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup condensed chicken broth (undiluted)
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into 2 inch cubes and softened
1 12-ounce package of medium egg noodles, cooked and drained

1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter

1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, breaking up with a spoon til meat is no longer pink. Drain off liquid and set chicken aside.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and celery and cook until softened. Add garlic, paprika, mustard, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, cook stirring for 1 minute. Blend in soup and chicken broth. Add cream cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Stir in reserved chicken.
3. To assemble casserole, spoon 1 cup chicken mixture in bottom of prepared stoneware. Add layer of noodles. Repeat until all ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of sauce.
4. To make topping, in separate bowl, toss bread crumbs with butter. Add cheese and spread over casserole.
5. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours, until hot and bubbly.
I mixed the noodles with the sauce in a baking dish, topped with topping and baked until bubbly.

I've had my eye on this recipe for a while but I just don't like the idea of pasta in a slow cooker. So I decided to do this as a baked casserole. Next time I will just make it a skillet recipe because I thought that this recipe was at its peak when the pasta was mixed with the cheesy sauce. The topping was really not necessary. I made it one day ahead of time and it was still creamy but on the verge of drying out I think.

I think this is stretching it as a slow cooker recipe. As long as you fully cook the chicken in the sauce, this is basically done before you even put it in the slow cooker so I just don't get what would happen after 4-8 hours in a crockpot.

This was rather good but of course it would be. I didn't make any healthy improvements. There are several things you could do to lighten this - use low-sodium or low-fat soup, use whole wheat noodles (I've had bad luck with whole wheat egg noodles tasting stale) or use light cream cheese - but I didn't do any of them. I suspect it would lighten up beautifully.

The younger boy liked it but my older son didn't try it. I usually don't force him to eat cheesy things but he might have liked this since it was cream cheese. It was just too crazy around the house to think straight. My husband was at the dentist and the time change really screwed up my kids yesterday. Thankfully, they seemed to be doing a bit better so far today.

I will add this to my ground chicken recipe round-up.

Question of the Day: Have you ever cooked pasta in a slow cooker? Would you?


Annie Jones said...

If I have, it must have been a long time ago. I would think pasta, if cooked too long in the crockpot, would just turn to mush. Pasta cooks so quickly that it would make more sense to make some kind of sauce in the crockpot, then cook the pasta for it on the stove.

Anonymous said...

No, I haven't. I guess I'd give it a whirl just to see how it turned out. It does seem rather useless though,since it's already cooked.


Heather said...

I tried to make pasta in the crock pot a couple of times several years ago when I first got the Fix It and Forget It cookbook... I never forgot it, that's for sure. Yuck. I think some people just like it how it turns out and I... don't.

Alison said...

I wasn't game for the slow cooker method so I doubled the quantity of the sauce, made it more liquidy by adding more stock and a can of 2% evap milk, and I layered the meat sauce into a pan with cheese (1/2 colby, 1/2 monterey jack) and lasagne noodles. It's in the oven right now and smells awesome. Thanks for the post!

KLS said...

The best way to cook noodles in the slow cooker is to add them at the end. Turn it up to high and throw in the noodles for the last 30 minutes or so.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the sauce recipe on this; however, instead of using noodles I assembled with slinly sliced potatoes (kind of like an au gratin) and topped with a white alfredo sauce...really, really good...but not figure friendly!

Anonymous said...

I have cooked pasta in the slow cooker atlot..and it always turned out.. lasagna is the best in the slow cooker

Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog and tried this recipe for a dinner party. I followed your advice and just used a skillet to combine everything. Also, I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese and Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup. Finally, I used a 9x13 pan (greased) and topped it with the breadcrumbs (350 degrees for 20 minutes). A big hit with the adults and our toddlers - thank you!

Sam said...

I made this dish tonight, I didn't bake it at all, and left out the cheese and crumbs. At the end before I mixed in the noodles I added a dash of Worcestershire sauce and I really liked the flavor it added. I used flat Amish noodles, and thought the dish was yummy enough to make again. 5 out of our 6 kids ate it.