Sometimes you just need easy. You need not feel guilty about pulling out a box of cornbread stuffing (O.K., Stove Top), looking on the back of the box and just letting her rip. I have embellished the time honored recipe of chicken and stuffing casserole on the back of the box. I am sure mine is superior.
And so I will feel better about presenting this, yes, pitifully easy recipe I will give you a couple of tips. First off, almost anything you make except cornflakes and milk is improved upon by adding lemon juice. Lemon juice brightens up vegetables (yes, kale haters, even kale). It gives punch to any pan sauce. It adds dimension to dips. Don’t waste the rind. Grate down to the white part (no white part – bitter!) and add the grated lemon zest to almost anything (not cornflakes).
My second tip is about mushrooms, which are improperly prepared too much of the time. About 90 percent of the constitution of a mushroom is water. And when you put them in a pan over medium heat they will produce that water right in the pan. Do not despair. Work through the pain. Crank the heat up and continue sauteing until all the water is gone and the mushrooms have turned a deep golden brown.
And I have to tell you one of the things I love about my sad, unimaginative chicken and stuffing casserole is that you don’t need to cook the chicken first. The thing I hate about casseroles is that they take so much effort on the front end, prepping all the ingredients, that when you’re done you just want to shoot yourself. This is pitifully easy and it tastes really yummy.
Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
1 box cornbread stuffing
2 chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup sour cream
Juice of ½ lemon
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces mushrooms
8 ounces frozen green beans, thawed
Prepare the stuffing according to the package directions. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and mix with the soup, sour cream, lemon juice and smoked paprika. Melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms until they have given up their liquid and are nicely browned. Mix the mushrooms and green beans with the chicken and put it in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with the stuffing.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and chicken is cooked through.