51. J’s Hot Chicken Casserole

Lately, I’ve been interspersing a lot of blog-found recipes with the last few RSVP-card recipes, but this one has been on my mind since I got it. I was worried that Husband would not eat it, for his dislike of mayonnaise in general and chicken salad in particular, but when he glanced at the recipes I had left a few days ago, I decided to go with it.

This recipe is so classic midwestern, and it was the recipe given to me by my Husband’s grandmother J. She is perhaps the person I’m closest to in his family, because when we were dating he spent about 8 months living with her, so all my visits to him also involved visiting her. We would occasionally go out just him and I, but the majority of our time during those visits were spent with J, baking cookies or watching silly television or lighting a fire in the back porch chiminea and staying up late. She’s one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met, and when she moved away, I really missed her a lot. We still see her a few times a year, but I am amused by how much I would be happy just hanging out at her house most weekends. Recently, she gave me some hand-me-downs from her years as a teacher, and it is a nice feeling to put on her professional clothes and feel reminded of her presence. I get compliments on them all the time – so grandmother-in-law hand-me-downs must be pretty stylish!

I was skeptical because this recipe didn’t have any chicken in it, and now that I’ve made it I would definitely add some shredded chicken breast to it, but I wanted to try it exactly the way that J made it (for once!) and it was still pretty delicious. The water chestnuts make it a really interesting texture, crunchy without being super crispy, and the mayo and cheese really meld well together to me (even Husband didn’t mind the background taste of mayo). We’ve been using it as a side dish for a few days now because it made quite a big dish, and just like the hand-me-downs, it reminds me of J and makes me want to go visit her all the time. I hope to see her again soon.

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2 comments on “51. J’s Hot Chicken Casserole

  1. I love that you have such a strong feeling for the connections to your Grandmother in law. I appreciate every item my mother in law gives me and enjoy using anything she gives me with the thought of her!

    Like

  2. Judith says:

    I have chicken breasts in the refrigerator and was wondering what to do with a bit of leftovers. I’ve got rice and cheese, too. I think I’ll use this recipe as a starting point and come up with a little casserole of my own today.

    Like

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