The greatest thing about the invention of the Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole is the ease of it. I've made cordon bleu from scratch, and while it's not hard, it takes time. The casserole combines both the basic elements of traditional cordon bleu: chicken, ham, and swiss cheese, along with a built in sauce for that creamy, dreamy, yumminess that is chicken cordon bleu.
I pinned two different recipes for Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole on Pinterest and this was the night I finally got around to moving it from my "wish" list to my "been there/done that/plan to do it again" list.
This recipe (on the left) from Recipe Sweet was my biggest inspiration. I liked the sauce made from scratch, although I spiced mine up a little differently and I used whole pieces of chicken rather than rotisserie, not that there's anything wrong with using rotisserie chicken, it can be a great time-saver. I just used what I had on hand. I prefer white meat and Gene prefers dark meat so it was easy to make a His and a Hers side to our casserole, along with a last minute thought on my part of adding broccoli to cook in that wonderful sauce, added to the Hers side, of course, since Gene hates broccoli. But for non-broccoli-haters, it would be good strewn throughout the casserole to bubble away in the sauce.
My second inspiration was this Pinned recipe from Little B Cooks for a quick put together. The sauce is made from Cream of Chicken Soup which cuts the time down to almost negative minutes putting this one together and there are times when that is a HUGE plus! Both of these recipes call for pre-cooked chicken, rotisserie or other, which can save oven time but I started with the uncooked chicken breasts and thighs I had on hand. Either works beautifully.
Glenna's Cordon Bleu Casserole
Recipe adapted from Pinterest by Glenna Anderson Muse
4-6 5 oz Chicken Breasts, Thighs, or mix
Salt, Pepper, and no salt added All Purpose Seasong mix such as Cavender's, Paula Deen House, Emeril's, Paul Prudhomme, etc
8 oz. deli Ham, chopped roughly
8 oz. Swiss Cheese, sliced
1 batched Glenna's Jacked Up Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)
Cook's note on the sauce: if you don't have time to make the sauce from scratch, use 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup, thinned with 1/2 can of milk and 1 Tbsp mustard whisked in. The homemade sauce is better and adds more depth of flavor but the soup trick will work and still make for a very tasty dinner.
1. Spray a 9"x13" casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken in the bottom in a flat layer. Season liberally with salt, pepper, and Cavender's or other seasoning mix.
2. Layer cut up ham evenly over chicken.
3. Layer Swiss cheese slices over ham.
4. Make sauce and layer over cheese. Bake, foil covered, in 350 degree pre-heated oven for 60-70 minutes until sauce is bubbly and chicken is cooked through. Can remove foil for last 10 minutes of baking to brown top of casserole.
Cook's notes: The other recipes also call for a buttered bread crumb topping but I omitted it for my recipe. I also, at the last minute, stuck a serving of broccoli into one side of the dish for myself. Gene's not a big broccoli eater or I could have placed the broccoli between the cheese and sauce layers and it would have been delicious cooked in the sauce. Next time I might do that and hope Gene accidentally eats it and suddenly learns to love broccoli!
Glenna's Jacked Up Bechamel Sauce
Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
6 Tbsp Butter
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
4 Tbsp Flour
2 cups Milk (Depending on how rich you would like it, you can use anything from skim milk to half and half. I used 2% milk since that's what I had in the fridge)
1 cup Chicken broth
1 Tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp celery salt
Salt and white Pepper to taste
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Saute the onions and garlic in it until the onions soften.
2. Turn the heat to low. Sprinkle the flour over the butter/onions/garlic and whisk until the flour is combined. While continuing to whisk, add the chicken broth in a small stream until it is all whisked in and smooth. Whisk in the milk in the same manner. Add rest of ingredients and whisk smooth.
3. Turn heat back up to medium and continue to whisk until sauce thickens and bubbles. Do not scorch. Remove from heat.
Nutrition Counts for 1 chicken breast plus 1/6th ham and sauce: Calories: 507.5; Protein: 53.6; Carbs: 14.6; Fat: 25; Fiber: 1;