one casserole to rule them all...

Little did you know that today is the day you’ve been waiting for…a day to rival all other days. Today is the day my family’s famous Price Family Cheesy Chicken recipe hits the Internet! If you aren’t super excited about that announcement, then you clearly haven’t tasted it yet. Just you wait.... This is also a super fun recipe because it’s easy, inexpensive, feeds a lot, and messy to make (but not too messy, don’t worry!).

2 cans big & buttery croissants
1 family-sized can and 1 regular-sized can of cream of chicken soup
3–4 boneless chicken breasts
2 large cartons low-sodium chicken broth
1 large bag shredded cheddar cheese

First, cook the chicken. My mom and I prefer to do this in a crock-pot so the pieces stay really tender (boiling also works well). Dump both cartons of broth into your crock-pot or stovetop pot and add the chicken pieces. Cook a few hours in the crock-pot on high or until they reach safe serving temperature (165 F). Drain and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, either chop the chicken or shred it into manageable pieces.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Now, in a medium bowl, combine the chicken, the large can of cream of chicken soup, and 1& 1/2 cups of cheese. This will be a sloppy mess and look kind of gross, but just trust me here. Set the bowl aside and open the croissants. (If you’re like me, at the “expose line to air to open” stage, I get as freaked out as Buddy the Elf cranking a jack-in-the-box…uggg!) Unroll the croissants and stack them on your cutting board or a plate. Spray your casserole dish with nonstick spray and set the dish nearby.

Now the messy part (and yes, there really is no better way to do this), take one croissant triangle in hand and with your other hand, scoop a small handful of chicken-soup mixture into the center of the triangle…enough to fill it, but not running out everywhere. Fold the croissant over into a little pouch and place it in the casserole dish. Continue doing this until you’ve lined the whole dish with little awesome chicken-y bread pouches. Note: My mom really likes to pack them in, but I prefer to leave around a half-inch of room at the top of the dish and give each pouch a bit of space to expand…that’s up to you.

If you have any remaining chicken mixture, add the small can of soup to it; if not, just use the can of soup. Pour this over the casserole and spread it around to lightly cover the whole dish. Put some foil on that masterpiece and bake it for around an hour. I say around because it really just depends on your oven and how densely you packed the dish…just make sure the croissant dough is cooked in the middle and you’ll be dandy!

Once it’s done, take the bag of cheese and put a ridiculous amount across the whole top of the casserole, pop it back in the oven for 10–15 min till the cheese melts and then serve while hot! (I don't have a pic of the final product because it really just looks like a glass dish full of cheese)

DISCLAIMER: I kid you not with this warning…you will want to eat too much of this stuff, but don’t do it! For your own sake, don’t. Like all good Southern homestyle food, Cheesy Chicken settles like a brick in your stomach and if you eat too much too quickly, you will absolutely regret it. No fatalities as of yet, but I'm serious...it's dangerous.

Some other notes:
  • I like to add sautéed mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, and Texas Pete, but not everyone likes that so the recipe above is the original. However, adding veggies creates lots of tasty variations and helps you feel less awful about eating something this unhealthy - haha. I’ve also seen some recipes that use sour cream or cream cheese instead of soup, but ours is better, for sure.
  • If you don’t like sloppy casseroles, you can always increase your chicken or decrease the amount of soup in the bowl mixture, but I think it’s better when it’s nice and saucy.
  • Before baking, you can freeze Cheesy Chicken for a week or so just fine, and after baking, it reheats okay as a leftover, but it definitely isn’t as good as when it is fresh.

Paring ideas: Try to avoid serving anything too starchy with this dish. I prefer grilled veggies or fresh fruit and a nice salad. On this occasion, I served it with a romaine/strawberry/sesame seeds/feta cheese salad and fresh grapes. It’s a heavy dish so keep the rest of the meal light.

**Also: Once you try it and love it and want to share it with all your friends, make sure to give credit where it’s due…my aunt Terri. Ya know, in case someday I get a sweet cookbook deal and want to include this recipe.**

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