Although it's officially spring, the weather here in New York still feels like winter. Cold enough that a casserole for dinner sounded good. My kids have gotten used to me asking, "How would you rate tonight's dinner?" that my daughter often volunteers her rating before I even ask. Another dinner that I made this past week (my Secret Recipe Club recipe which will be revealed April 8) was first rated 10 thumbs up! But once my daughter tasted this she edited her previous rating. "That one gets down a little to maybe 8 1/2 or 9 and this dinner gets 10 stars!" This has all the flavors and components of Chicken Cordon Blue in a one dish meal. This was a dinner that we all enjoyed....even my picky eater of a son! A couple of days after I made this my dad came over to watch the kids so my husband and I could go out to dinner with my brother. I had some of this leftover that I told him he could eat for dinner. He enjoyed this so much that he's been asking me for the recipe. A reminder to myself to read through a recipe in its entirety either the night before or earlier in the day. If you don't pre-make some of this, it can take over 2+ hours. I had some Tyson already cooked grilled chicken breasts in the freezer which I thawed in the microwave and then marinated while I finished prepping this. So, it didn't get the hour of marinating time but it saved me about 30 minutes of chicken cooking time. Plus, the chicken had a grilled/smoky flavor that added a nice touch to the dish. I also bought the already diced cooked ham which saved chopping time. With a pint of heavy cream this is not a "light" dish but it is really tasty!
recipe adapted from I Thee Cook
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cooked and chopped
1 cup Honey Dijon Salad Dressing
1/2 Pound diced ham
1 pound large pasta shells
1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp prepared Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt, and then to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
8oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
8oz Swiss Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Place chicken in a zip lock bag with honey dijon dressing and marinate for an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes.
While chicken is baking cook pasta according to package directions drain and set aside.
To prepare the cheese sauce add the heavy cream to a sauce pan and heat over medium low heat, whisk in the flour and add the rest of the ingredients in the order they are written. Continue cooking and stirring frequently until sauce is thickened and cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over pasta stir to coat. Add chicken and ham. Mix into pasta.
Grease a 9 x 12 casserole dish and pour pasta mixture into dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top and bake for 25-35 minutes.
Family Rating: 2 thumbs up.
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