Chicken & Kale Casserole with Cheddar Sauce & Parmesan-Thyme Breadcrumbs

Chicken & Kale Casserole

with Cheddar Sauce & Parmesan-Thyme Breadcrumbs

40 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

In this warming casserole, filled with shredded chicken and sautéed kale, egg noodles add satisfyingly chewy texture—and hold onto the toasty, savory flavors of our cheddar cheese sauce. Once you’ve boiled them briefly, rinsing the al dente noodles under cold water stops them from softening further, ensuring the perfect consistency after you’ve finished them in the oven. For a lightly crunchy, gourmet finish, we’re topping off the casserole with a layer of panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and fresh thyme.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
Cook the noodles:
1 Cook the noodles:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the noodles. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving 1¾ cups of the noodle cooking water, thoroughly drain the cooked noodles; rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Cook & shred the chicken:
2 Cook & shred the chicken:

While the noodles cook, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate or cutting board, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pot. Using 2 forks, carefully shred the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Prepare the ingredients:
3 Prepare the ingredients:

While the chicken cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and small dice the onion. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves. Grate the cheddar cheese.

Start the filling:
4 Start the filling:

Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pot of reserved fond and heat on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, onion and half the thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the kale; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the kale has wilted.

Finish the filling:
5 Finish the filling:

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the spice blend to the pot of vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the spices are fragrant. Add the milk and reserved noodle cooking water; season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened. Turn off the heat. Add the cheddar cheese, shredded chicken and cooked noodles. Stir until thoroughly combined; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a baking dish.

Bake the casserole & serve your dish:
6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish:

While the filling simmers, in a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and remaining thyme; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in enough olive oil to moisten the mixture. Evenly spoon the mixture over the baking dish of finished filling. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top. Let stand for at least 2 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Cook the noodles:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the noodles. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving 1¾ cups of the noodle cooking water, thoroughly drain the cooked noodles; rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

2 Cook & shred the chicken:

While the noodles cook, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate or cutting board, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pot. Using 2 forks, carefully shred the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Cook & shred the chicken:
3 Prepare the ingredients:

While the chicken cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and small dice the onion. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves. Grate the cheddar cheese.

4 Start the filling:

Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pot of reserved fond and heat on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, onion and half the thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the kale; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the kale has wilted.

Start the filling:
Finish the filling:
5 Finish the filling:

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the spice blend to the pot of vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the spices are fragrant. Add the milk and reserved noodle cooking water; season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened. Turn off the heat. Add the cheddar cheese, shredded chicken and cooked noodles. Stir until thoroughly combined; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a baking dish.

6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish:

While the filling simmers, in a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and remaining thyme; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in enough olive oil to moisten the mixture. Evenly spoon the mixture over the baking dish of finished filling. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top. Let stand for at least 2 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Bake the casserole & serve your dish:
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