This recipe is derived from what I call “Thanksgiving Casserole” which is, of course, made up of leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. Friends of my father shared their version of this dish with us at a potluck several years and it was so good, I had to make it at home too. I’ve tinkered around with some variation of it several times now, the only problem is that Thanksgiving only comes but once a year and I’m not really all excited about cooking a big turkey dinner more than once a year, so when mom asked me to make this for her birthday dinner, I had to improvise. Now, I have the Chicken and Stuffing Casserole for anytime of the year and the Thanksgiving Casserole for the leftovers after Thanksgiving.
I think I enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers more than the actual meal anyway. You know how when you spend all day cooking, the actual dinner may not be very appealing by the time you sit down to eat, but the leftovers are excellent the next day? Then you eat turkey sandwiches for days and get tired of that also. Well, the Thanksgiving casserole is the perfect solution. Simply mix together your turkey, gravy and vegetables, then top with the stuffing, or do you call it dressing? Then bake it in the oven until it’s warmed throughout.
You probably don’t need a recipe for the casserole made with leftovers because your turkey dinner is probably delicious, too. But, if it’s not, stay tuned, I’ll share my family Thanksgiving traditions and recipes in November. In the meantime, here is a dish that is equally as good.
Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
A hearty, flavorful casserole that's easier to put together than Thanksgiving dinner, but just as tasty.
- 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1 1/2 - 2 lbs
- 7 cups water
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 4 tsp chicken bouillon
- 1/2 tsp salt optional
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 tsbp butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 3 cups broth reserved from chicken
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 2 6 oz boxes Stove Top chicken flavored stuffing
- 1 lb Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage
- celery and onions reserved from chicken
Dice celery and onion then place in a pot with the chicken breasts and water. Add the bouillon, salt, garlic powder, oregano, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove chicken from the pot then set aside to cool. Strain the broth from the onion and celery then set aside. (You'll use some of the broth for the gravy and [optional] some of the broth along with the celery and onions for the stuffing.)
Cook the vegetables according to the package directions. Set aside.
Thoroughly cook the sausage, breaking up into bite size pieces. Set aside.
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. You should get about 3 1/2 - 4 cups of chicken.
In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat then add the flour. Whisk constantly until the mixture is slightly brown. Then gradually add 3 cups of the chicken broth, whisking constantly until the gravy starts a low boil. Continue for approximately 3 minutes or until flour is fully cooked.
Prepare the stuffing according to package directions. (Optional - substitute the water in the directions with some of the leftover broth from the chicken. For example, 2 boxes of Stove Top would need 3 cups of water. You can use 2 cups of broth + 1 cup of water. Just as long as the liquid still equals 3 cups. The broth just adds a little extra flavor. Also, optional, rather than wasting the cooked celery and onions from the chicken broth, consider adding it to the stuffing.)
Add the sausage to the prepared stuffing.
In the bottom of a large casserole dish, mix the chicken, vegetables and gravy. Spread to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add spoonfuls of the stuffing mixture and carefully spread it over the top of the chicken mixture until the entire chicken mixture is covered.
Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. NOTE: If you're making this ahead of time and it has been refrigerated, you'll need to cover with aluminum foil then bake for 40-45 minutes. If you like the stuffing a little crispy, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Stuffing or Dressing? What do you call it? Let me know in the comments below.