Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Shells and Cheese

It's been awhile, but I finally have a new recipe to share. Chicken Cordon Bleu Shells & Cheese! We love Chicken Cordon Bleu...but this was just as savory and a lot more fun to make...and eat!  It's a scrumptious casserole full of  flavor and texture. It would also be a great meal to take to someone because it can be thrown together and kept in the refrigerator for a day or two until it can be baked off.

1/2 box or 7 oz of medium sized pasta shells. (I used the whole wheat variety)
1 lb of chicken breast
1 1/2 c. of  cubed ham
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
3 tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
6 oz (or 6 slices) of Swiss cheese cubed
3 oz (or 3 slices) of provolone cheese cubed
2 c. of 2% milk
1/4 c. of good white wine
1 slice of french bread, approx 1 1/2 inch thick
1 tbsp butter
1/4 c. Parmesan
1/4 tsp. parsley

Cube chicken breast, season with salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of parsley and garlic powder and cook in olive oil over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir in 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard and set aside.

Prepare pasta, cooking until Al dente. Drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour until fully incorporated (mixture will appear clumpy, but will be broken up in the next step) Cook for a few moments, stirring constantly. Slowly add 2 cups of milk, whisking until all lumps are dissolved. Cook until mixture begins to bubble and is thickened. Remove from heat* and stir in Swiss and Provolone cheeses until incorporated, reserving a handful of Swiss (or about 2 oz) for the top of the casserole. 

 *Hint, if heat is still on while cheese is added it could break down the cheese, causing sauce to become grainy.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, chicken, ham, and cheese sauce. Add 1/4 cup of white wine and stir in the remaining Tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Place in a greased casserole dish. Top with remaining Swiss cheese.

Tear french bread into small chunks and place in a food processor with butter, Parmesan, and parsley. Pulse until small crumbs form. Crumble over pasta mixture.
Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until crumb topping is golden and cheese is bubbly.

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