Subscribe

Turn Your Summer Chicken Salad into a Hot and Bubbly Casserole

- Hector M Sanchez
Hector M Sanchez

Oh, chicken salad, how do we love thee? You are the fail-safe recipe we turn to for every summer picnic or church social, the perfect dish to make with leftover Sunday roast chicken, and the ideal stuffing for juicy, red beefsteak tomatoes for a quick, weeknight dinner. Once summer begins to wane and your thoughts turn to warmer meals, how do you take this summer classic into the fall? Well, if you are a true Southern girl, a casserole dish will be within arms’ reach, so simply turn your favorite chicken salad into a hot chicken salad casserole.

You can make a few adjustments to your favorite cold chicken salad and turn it into a hot, bubbly chicken casserole. Think about it – what is in your chicken salad that doesn’t translate into a chicken casserole? Along with flavorful chicken, you stir-in your favorite fruits such as dried cranberries, pineapple, or grapes, add your favorite toasted nuts, and use a choice (or combination) of dairy products, such as sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise, to bind all the ingredients together. Sounds like the start of a great casserole.

If you need to bulk up the salad, add some wild rice, orzo, or angel hair pasta. Have some chopped broccoli or English peas in the freezer? Give them a quick blanch and stir into the salad for a colorful and healthy twist. As the “salad” begins to heat up in the oven, the ingredients will start absorbing more of the dairy products, so before mixing everything together, add some milk to the dairy products to make more of a sauce and keep the casserole from being too dry.

More from Southern Living

We all know that what makes a good weeknight casserole great is the topping, right? Don’t skip this step when turning your chicken salad into a hot chicken salad casserole. Your possibilities for a tasty topping are endless, and they include buttered breadcrumbs, crumbled cooked bacon, shredded cheese, toasted nuts, and the wonderfully whimsical favorite, crushed potato chips.

WATCH: How To Make Simple Whole Roasted Chicken

Casseroles may just be the perfect dish – you can fix-and-freeze them then bake them up for a weeknight family meal, enjoy with a group at a dinner party, or share with a friend when she needs some consolation. No need to put away your favorite summertime chicken salad recipe when you can turn it into a casserole you can enjoy year round.

Outbrain

More from Southern Living