Here's photo from our college days!
So, when I kept hearing rave reviews for her Cream Cheese Chicken I knew it was a must in the menu plan! Jen found the recipe on the 30 Meals in One Day site, which focuses on Once A Month Cooking menu plans. This recipe is great for making in bulk and freezing in portions - you can grab a bag for a quick dinner for yourself, or combine with a box of pasta & loaf of bread to make a great house-warming gift or care package. For example, a new mommy or sick friend.
Now... in my true fashion... I didn't follow the recipe exactly. But only because I knew I was making it for one meal; no make ahead and freezing this time! So, first is the make-ahead-freeze recipe:
Jen's Cream Cheese Chicken
- 1 .7-ounce envelope Italian Dressing mix
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 10.75-ounce can cream of chicken soup
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
- Turn your slow cooker on high and add butter. While butter is melting, cut chicken breasts in 1 inch strips. When the butter has completely melted, add dressing mix and stir until well mixed. Then add chicken strips; stir to coat strips with the butter and dressing mix. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
- Remove chicken to plate to cool, leaving the butter mixture in your slow cooker. Add soup and cream cheese; stir to melt and mix well until smooth and creamy. Remove sauce from cooker and allow to cool.
- Combine chicken and sauce; pour in a gallon re-sealable freezer bag. Seal. I would put it in another bag (just to be safe!) Label & date; place in freezer. Start the bag in your freezer laying completely flat - once it is frozen solid you can stand it up, move around, etc. without worrying about spillage.
- To serve: Thaw. Heat in a saucepan until pipping hot and bubbly. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.
See? Doesn't that sound wonderful?!?
Here is how I made the dish for a 'eat now' meal:
- The ingredient list and measurements are exactly the same.
- Melt butter in a large pan; once melted add Italian dressing mix and stir until combined.
- I cut the chicken breasts into chunks, approx 1" x 1". Add chunks to butter mixture and cook on medium-high heat until cooked through.
- While chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta; once pasta is ready, drain and set aside.
- Remove chicken from pan (I put them in a bowl and set in my microwave to stay warm). At this point my pasta was ready and strained - I removed a couple spoonfuls of that delicious butter and tossed with the pasta to keep it from sticking to itself.
- To the rest of your butter - still in the pan - add the soup and cream cheese. Stir well until melted, smooth and creamy; this takes just a few moments. Remove from heat.
- Now from here you have a couple options: 1) Shred up the chicken and mix into sauce; toss with pasta. 2) Keep the chicken chunky, mix into sauce and toss with pasta. 3) My route- keep it all separate and let people do what they will!
- Another option: add mushrooms (fresh or canned) when you add the soup and cream cheese. Yum! I had mushrooms on hand, but kept them separate too since some present think they're yucky.
- This makes several servings: safely 8, easily 6. I say that because everyone at dinner went back for seconds, and I had enough left over for my lunch! Since it is such a large portion, in the future I will make for dinner and then freeze the remaining chicken & sauce for future use.
Jen's dish was a big hit and will definitely find it's way into my menu again!
This recipe is linked to Foodie Friday - click over for great summer recipes!