I know, I know, a chicken recipe from a vegetarian. However, this recipe is easy for a vegetarian to make and it is divided into two casserole dishes. So I make it when someone has a baby or is sick and then have one left for my husband.
1 T butter
1 C finely chopped onion
2/3 C finely chopped celery
1 t black pepper
3/4 t salt
3 (8 oz) packages presliced mushrooms (we leave these out)
1/2 C dry sherry (or dry white wine)
2/3 C flour
3 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
2 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 C cream cheese
7 C hot cooked pasta (about 1 lb uncooked)
4 C chopped chicken breast (about 1 1/2 lb)
1 slice bread
Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a large stockpot coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, mushrooms, pepper, and salt and saute 4 min. or until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry; cook 1 minute. Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup; level with a knife. Gradually add flour to pan; cook 3 min., stirring constantly (mixture will be thick) with a whisk. Gradually add broth; stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add 1 3/4 C Parmesan and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until cream cheese melts. Add the pasta and chicken, and stir until blended. Divide the pasta mixture between 2 (8-in square) baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Place bread in food processor, pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form. Combine breadcrumbs, remaining Parmesan (1/2 C); sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes.
To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare until baking instructions. Cool completely in refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.
To prepare frozen casserole: Thaw casserole completely in refrigerator (about 24 hours). Preheat oven to 350. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap and discard. Cover casserole with foil, bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional hour or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes.