Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

  Sigh.  I wish I’d been able to take a picture of this in natural light.  It’s so dark, dark, dark here in Michigan that I feel like I’m living in perpetual twilight.  The time of day, not the hyper-dramatic teen books/movies.  …I don’t think I’m caught in a love triangle between teen vampires and werewolves anyhow…
  I’m still working on learning how to use my new camera with a light box, and while I know I’m improving (all I have to do is look at this blown out, over-exposed picture of my creamy avocado pasta for proof), it’s slow work and I’m frustrated that you guys are getting lower quality pics than I’d like.
  Good thing I get to take dinner breaks:
  Here’s what you need:
~3 cups chicken, chopped into small pieces and cooked*
~6 slices Swiss cheese
Deli ham, cut into pieces**
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
~10 Saltine crackers
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp parsley
2 cups cooked rice (optional)
*Just a reminder for fellow lazy cooks, smaller pieces cook faster, chop first.
**I left my ham in slices.  Next time I would follow directions and chop the ham. It made serving difficult.
  I was in a bad mood when I made this.  I don’t recall exactly what was going on, but I would hazard that pregnancy hormones had at least a bit of a hand in there.  Regardless, I was in a “screw you recipe writer” kind of mood.  Rice didn’t sound all that appetizing and I didn’t have any cooked…which means it would have been more work…so we didn’t have any rice with ours.  I’m sure if I’d have followed the original directions and had rice on the bottom of the dish it would have soaked up a bunch of creamy soup and become delicious, creamy, gloppy rice…but, bad mood/lazy cooking trumped cream o’ glop, so it didn’t happen this time.
  So here’s how we make this:
  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Use your method of choice to grease a 9″x13″ baking dish (I always use olive oil on a paper towel).  If you’re not too grouchy for rice, place that in the bottom of the dish.  Chopped chicken comes next, so spread that in the dish.  Place slices of swiss cheese over top of your chicken and top with cut up ham.  Because I didn’t chop my ham, I created a bit of a cheese/ham/sauce lasagna at this point, layering swiss with slices of ham, a layer of sauce…more cheese (darn, extra cheese) and then the rest of the ham.  I might still use this approach with chopped ham, just because I’m all about adding more cheese to things, but it wouldn’t necessarily be required.  Either way, end with a layer of soup.
  Now we’re going to make our cracker topping.  Cranky pants?  Time to smash some stuff and feel better.  Put your crackers in a baggie with your paprika, garlic salt and parsley and mash it all until those crackers are pulverized into nice little bits.  Feel a little better, don’t you?  Sprinkle this on top of your soup and toss the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes to bake.
  Obviously this isn’t top of the health list with those cans of cream soup in it, but I think most of you already knew that it wouldn’t be when you read the title.  Is it even possible to make non-fatty, non-crazy salty chicken cordon bleu?  Whatever guys, moderation is the key.
  Because I didn’t add the rice I wound up with a lot of extra soup.  If you take the bad-mood-chef approach, I think I’d only add one can of the soup instead of both.  We all enjoyed this, but next time I think I’ll try doing it a little more in line with the original.  And you know, hopefully with less cursing.

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