Chicken casseroles are a Southern favorite, and this week I’m giving one that includes asparagus, which is at its peak right now.
Kraft Foods came out with a new product last year – Philadelphia Cooking Creme. I’ve been playing around with it, and this week and next I’ll pass along recipes that use this product.
In place of the usual chicken casserole combination of condensed cream of chicken soup and sour cream, the sauce for this casserole combines the Cooking Creme with some reduced-fat mayonnaise, reduced-fat sour cream, white wine, curry powder, salt and pepper.
I used the meat from a rotisserie chicken for the casserole, but you can also poach chicken breasts or boil a whole chicken to use.
One of the great things about this casserole is that, if you use pencil-thin asparagus, you don’t have to pre-cook it. If your asparagus is thick, cut it into pieces and microwave it in a covered container with a little water for two to three minutes before adding it to the other ingredients.
The casserole is also delicious with steamed broccoli florets in place of the asparagus.
For the cheese in the casserole, I like the combination of Swiss cheese with the asparagus, but you can substitute cheddar, Monterey Jack or mozzarella if you have those on hand.
Crushed crackers, sliced almonds and a little melted butter make a crunchy topping for the casserole.
I like to serve this over a bed of white rice. A fruit salad from the produce department and bakery rolls can complete the menu.
CHICKEN AND ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE
1 10-ounce container Philadelphia brand cooking crème, original flavor
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, preferably lemon pepper flavor, shredded, about 3 cups
1 bunch fresh asparagus, washed, dried and woody ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sleeve of round, buttery crackers, crushed
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons melted butter
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Combine cooking crème, mayonnaise, sour cream, white wine, curry powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Fold in the cheese, chicken and asparagus and then spread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Combine the crackers, almonds and melted butter in a bowl and then sprinkle over the top of the chicken mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.