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Do you suddenly get a craving for something and then find out that you don’t have all the ingredients you need? That happens quite frequently at my house. Just the other day I decided that chicken and dressing casserole sounded pretty darn good. But I didn’t have any breadcrumbs to make the dressing part of the dish. I live in a rural area and the closest grocery store is about 20 minutes away. But the local grocery doesn’t always have what I need and the closest WalMart is about 45 minutes away.
Make Your Own
It just so happened that I had made homemade bread several days before. So I thought “why not make my own breadcrumbs”. It’s really quite easy. It might be a few extra steps to get to the finished product but hey, in the long run, I thought “it will really be homemade”. And I will be able to have what I was “hungry” for. So that is exactly what I did. I made my own breadcrumbs.
- 6 cups soft fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 heaping tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 5 tablespoons dried minced onion
- 1/3 cup dried celery flakes*
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 scant teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf marjoram
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the bread onto baking sheets and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until bread is dry and crumbly. In a large bowl or large plastic food storage bag, combine the breadcrumbs with the spices. *Amazon carries several brands of celery flakes such as Penzeys Spices or Marshalls Creek Spices
The above recipe is similar to stove top. As it happens my husband would rather have “homemade dressing”, he doesn’t care for stove top, so I improvised and cut 8 slices of day-old bread into cubes, I spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and baked them for 15 minutes until dry and browned, You really need to keep on eye on them as they will burn. I turned them every 5 minutes.
I then put the bread cubes into a large storage bag and added the spices and mixed well with my hands. I omitted the celery flakes as I prefer the crunch of celery in my dressing. I just added chopped celery into the chicken broth/water and butter when I was preparing the stuffing/dressing.
- To prepare the stuffing, bring 1 1/4 cups of water or chicken broth and 3 tablespoons of butter to a boil. Stir in 3 cups of stuffing mix. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Taste and add salt, as needed.
If you prefer you can add the celery flakes then prepare as above. Fluff with a fork and serve. You can serve this as a side dish. Improvising is the name of the game and I improvised the above recipe to suit my needs while making chicken and dressing casserole. After all, that is how cooks come up with new recipes. Improvising and experimenting.
I used boneless chicken breast. I rubbed three chicken breasts with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and baked in a preheated 375-degree oven until the chicken was done and juices ran clear. Approximately 35 to 40 minutes. I then let the chicken cool and cut it up into chunks. If you prefer you can shred the chicken with 2 forks. You can also use a rotisserie chicken from the deli, but I just happened to have chicken breasts in the freezer. But I have used both in this recipe. With the rotisserie chicken, you get a combination of both white and dark meat.
My Version of Chicken and Dressing Casserole
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare dressing. Shred or chunk chicken and put in a large bowl. Add 1 can (10 1/2 oz) of cream of chicken soup and 1 can (10 1/2 oz) of cream of celery soup to the chicken. Add 1 can of milk and 1/4 cup sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste. I never measure my salt or pepper unless I am baking bread or the recipe specifies a certain amount. (Some like their food saltier than others or vise versa).
Add prepared dressing to the chicken mixture and mix well. Spoon into a baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I use this pan. It is a three piece set and can be used for baking, roasting or broiling. (I absolutely love this pan) You can get it here
Cover and bake 30 minutes. I prefer to cook my chicken beforehand if I’m not using a rotisserie chicken. But if you use uncooked chicken just bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is done. (juices run clear). I know some who like to spoon the chicken in the baking pan and spread the dressing evenly on top. I like to mix my chicken in the dressing that way I am sure to get chicken with every bite!
There You Have It!
I like to use a green vegetable as a side dish. I usually go with broccoli or green beans. A very simple and satisfying meal to please your family. Remember to experiment with your baked meals you never know what you will end up with! It may be a flop but you just might end up with a winner and when that happens, the feeling of a job well done goes a long way. Please feel free to comment below and let me know what you think.