Chicken and Ham Casserole

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Large casserole made with pasta, chicken, and ham
Chicken and Ham Casserole

This Chicken and Ham Casserole is a great way to use up leftover chicken and ham.  The meats can, of course, be cooked special for this casserole; however, using leftovers lessens the prep work.  The combination of the two kinds of meats makes for a more interesting and substantial casserole than if only one kind was used.  However, despite its name, this casserole can be made with just either 2 cups of cooked chicken or 2 cups of cooked ham, instead of a cup of each.

I often find, if I have cooked a large ham, I get somewhat tired of it after a few days so I will frequently chop up the leftover meat and freeze it in one cup portions for other uses, including this casserole.  I do the same thing with chicken (or turkey, for that matter).  Add a side salad and some homemade biscuits, like either my Whole Wheat Biscuits, standard white Tea Biscuits, or Rustic Oat Bran Biscuits (as seen in photo below), and this casserole provides the base for a filling and satisfying meal.

Chicken and Ham Casserole Served with a Tossed Salad and Rustic Oat Bran Biscuit
Chicken and Ham Casserole

One of the big challenges when developing a casserole recipe is to get the right consistency for the liquid ingredients so that the casserole is neither too dry or too soupy. The other challenge is to get enough flavor boost into the casserole without over-doing it. The seasonings I have chosen for this casserole are what I would classify as being on the moderate side.  As always, I recommend making a recipe the way the developer has created it and then, if you find the seasonings are too sparse, increase them the next time you make the casserole and, likewise, if they are too strong for your taste, reduce the quantity in the next making.

Plate of Chicken and Ham Casserole accompanied by a tossed salad and biscuit
Chicken and Ham Casserole

The flavor of this casserole can be altered somewhat by the choice of cream-based soup used as well as the variety of cheese.  Use a can of your favorite cream soup; for example, Cream of Broccoli, Chicken, Mushroom, Broccoli and Cheese, or even Cream of Celery works.  In order to give good holding structure to the liquid base in the casserole, I do not recommend using fat-reduced soups in this casserole nor do I recommend using any fat-reduced milk below one that is 2%.  Whole milk is even better.  If you have some evaporated milk on hand, it will add to the creamy texture of the casserole.

While cheddar cheese is commonly used in casseroles, any cheese that will shred and melt easily will also work.  For example, the flavor of the casserole can be changed slightly if Swiss cheese or Monterey Jack cheese is substituted for the standard cheddar cheese.  Sometimes, I will use a combination of whatever cheeses I have on hand to make up the cup of shredded cheese so long as it weighs out to about a total of 2½ ounces and the cheeses are of good melting quality.

When sautéing the onions, mushrooms, celery, and onion, cook them only until the onions start to become translucent and the vegetables start to soften slightly.  Don’t over-sauté them to the point where they are completely limp – remember, they will cook further when the casserole goes into the oven.

A topping for this casserole can be made with either coarsely ground bread crumbs or crushed crackers (as in the photo below).  I typically use bread crumbs because I always have them on hand in the freezer and it’s one less thing to prepare at the time of making a casserole.  The topping is optional though it does dress up a casserole and makes it more appetizing looking as well as adds flavor and texture.

Chicken and Ham Casserole with a Crushed Cracker Topping
Chicken and Ham Casserole with Crushed Cracker Topping

This Ham and Chicken Casserole benefits from being allowed to sit at least 15 minutes before serving.  This allows the ingredients and sauce to set so the casserole spoons out and plates better.  Scooping out portions of the casserole too quickly after it comes from the oven may result in a more soupy/messy  casserole when plated. Casseroles are typically dense dishes so they hold their heat for several minutes and, allowing a casserole to sit for a few, won’t cool the casserole beyond the temperature of enjoyment. I will often have a batch of biscuits ready to go into the oven as soon as the casserole comes out and is “sitting”.

Biscuits in a Bowl
Rustic Oat Bran Biscuits

 

Chicken and Ham Casserole

Ingredients:

5 oz raw fusilli pasta, cooked according to package directions

1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
1 cup cooked ham, cubed

1 – 284ml (apx 10 oz) can of favorite cream soup (e.g., Cream of Chicken, Mushroom, Broccoli, Broccoli and Cheese Soup, etc.)
3 tbsp sour cream
1/3 cup milk (no less than 2%)
1½ tsp liquid chicken bouillon mixed with ¼ cup hot water
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Italian Seasoning or Herbes de Provence
½ – ¾ tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp dried parsley
Pinch cayenne
1/8 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper

1 cup shredded cheese (e.g., any of, or a combination of, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, or any other favorite melting cheese that shreds well)
3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese

½ tbsp olive oil
2½ – 3 tbsp butter
3 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup sweet pepper (red, yellow, or orange, or any combination thereof), coarsely chopped
½ cup celery, sliced
1/3 cup onion, diced

Topping (optional):
2½ tbsp butter, melted
½ cup coarsely ground bread crumbs (or crushed crackers)
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp dried Parsley
1/8 tsp dried Summer Savory (optional)

Method:

Boil water in large pot for fusilli. Grease 1½ quart casserole dish.

Assemble and measure out all ingredients. Chop vegetables. Shred the main cheese used and grate the Parmesan cheese.

In large bowl, mix the soup, sour cream, milk, liquid bouillon mixed with water, Dijon mustard, garlic powder or garlic salt, paprika, parsley, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir in cheeses. Set aside.

Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Begin cooking the pasta according to package directions, cooking just until pasta is al dente.

In large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil then melt the butter. Add the mushrooms, sweet pepper, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring continuously, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, just until onion starts to become translucent and the vegetables soften slightly. Do not over-sauté.

Drain and rinse the cooked pasta in cold water to prevent it from sticking together.

Add the pasta and sautéed vegetables to the soup mixture. Stir gently to completely combine ingredients. Lastly, stir in the cooked chicken and ham.

Transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish.

Topping:  Melt 2½ tbsp of butter to mix with the bread crumbs (or crushed crackers). In small bowl, mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs (or crackers), Parmesan Cheese, Parsley, and Summer Savory (optional). Stir with a fork. Sprinkle topping mixture over casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for approximately 28-30 minutes, just until edges of casserole become bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand at least 15 minutes to allow casserole ingredients to set before serving. Serve with a side salad and biscuits, rolls, or bread.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings

For Other Tasty Casserole Recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole
Beef Pasta Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Hawaiian Fiesta Casserole

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Chicken and Ham Casserole

This Chicken and Ham Casserole is a great way to use up leftover chicken and ham. Add a side salad and some homemade biscuits and a filling and satisfying meal awaits.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword casserole, Chicken, ham
Servings 6
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 5 oz raw fusilli pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup cooked ham, cubed
  • 1 – 284ml (apx 10 oz) can of favorite cream soup (e.g., Cream of Chicken, Mushroom, Broccoli, Broccoli and Cheese Soup, etc.)
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/3 cup milk (no less than 2%)
  • tsp liquid chicken bouillon mixed with ¼ cup hot water
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning or Herbes de Provence
  • ½ - ¾ tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (e.g., any of, or a combination of, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, or any other favorite melting cheese that shreds well)
  • 3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2½ - 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2/3 cup sweet pepper (red, yellow, or orange, or any combination thereof), coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup celery, sliced
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • Topping (optional):
  • tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup coarsely ground bread crumbs (or crushed crackers)
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp dried Parsley
  • 1/8 tsp dried Summer Savory (optional)

Instructions

  1. Boil water in large pot for fusilli. Grease 1½ quart casserole dish.
  2. Assemble and measure out all ingredients. Chop vegetables. Shred the main cheese used and grate the Parmesan cheese.
  3. In large bowl, mix the soup, sour cream, milk, liquid bouillon mixed with water, Dijon mustard, garlic powder or garlic salt, paprika, parsley, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir in cheeses. Set aside.
  4. Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Begin cooking the pasta according to package directions, cooking just until pasta is al dente.
  6. In large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil then melt the butter. Add the mushrooms, sweet pepper, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring continuously, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, just until onion starts to become translucent and the vegetables soften slightly. Do not over-sauté.
  7. Drain and rinse the cooked pasta in cold water to prevent it from sticking together.
  8. Add the pasta and sautéed vegetables to the soup mixture. Stir gently to completely combine ingredients. Lastly, stir in the cooked chicken and ham.
  9. Transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish. Melt 2½ tbsp of butter to mix with the bread crumbs (or crushed crackers). In small bowl, mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs (or crackers), Parmesan Cheese, Parsley, and Summer Savory (optional). Stir with a fork. Sprinkle topping mixture over casserole.

  10. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 28-30 minutes, just until edges of casserole become bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand at least 15 minutes to allow casserole ingredients to set before serving. Serve with a side salad and biscuits, rolls, or bread.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 6 servings

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Chicken, ham, and pasta form a main meal casserole alongside a green salad

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