Chicken a la King Casserole With Noodles

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
We adapted this chicken and pasta recipe from a vintage community cookbook from North Carolina. It’s an easy preparation and makes an excellent family meal for any night of the week. It’s great for potlucks, too.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons Kosher salt (plus more, to taste)
3 to 3 1/2 cups noodles (uncooked, about 6 ounces)
2 large ribs celery (diced)
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
2/3 cup evaporated milk (or light cream)
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos (drained)
2 cups chicken (cooked, diced)
1 cup/4 ounces cheddar cheese (shredded)
Optional: 1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted)
1 cup soft fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 F. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

Put about 2 to 2 1/2 quarts of water in a large saucepan with 2 teaspoons of salt. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Add the noodles and reduce the heat to medium. Boil the noodles following the package directions.

Drain well and transfer them to a large bowl. Set aside.

In the same saucepan, combine the celery with the condensed soup and evaporated milk or light cream; simmer over low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the pimientos, diced cooked chicken, and cheese. Continue cooking, stirring, until the cheese has melted.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and stir until well combined.

Spoon the chicken and noodle mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds, if using.

Combine the fresh bread crumbs with the melted butter. Stir with a fork until the crumbs are well coated with butter.

Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the casserole.

Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the bread crumb topping is browned.

Tips
Use poached or baked chicken breasts, the meat from a rotisserie chicken, or convenient fully cooked chicken breast strips.
To toast slivered almonds on the stovetop put them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the skillet and stirring frequently until the nuts are golden brown and aromatic.

Recipe Variations
Add 4 to 6 ounces of sautéed sliced mushrooms to the sauce mixture or add 1 small can or jar of drained sliced mushrooms.
Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion to the sauce along with the celery.
Replace the chicken with diced leftover turkey or ham.
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