Don't you love a good pop culture recipe? This chicken casserole is easy, delicious, and made in the same dish that shows up (again and again...) in the Netflix spoof, The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window.
The Casserole That Wouldn't Die
I love a good psychological thriller. I can't get enough. Movies, limited series, books.. let me at it. I also love a good-natured parody of things that I love, so when Netflix released the brilliantly-done spoof, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, I knew I'd adore it... and I did! The show hits on so many tropes present in psych thrillers such as the main character having a drinking problem, psychiatric meds causing questionable memory recall, long-winded inner monologues, and so much more.
Kristen Bell and the rest of the cast do an amazing job taking a terribly-written-on-purpose script and taking it totally seriously. The result is hilarious, and if you're a psychological thriller fan, you'll love it too. Give it a watch.
If you've seen the show (if not, I will avoid major spoilers in this post) then you know that the main character, Anna, is seen several times with the same chicken casserole in the same blue and white dish. It's a ubiquitous part of the show and an interesting plot device. What's more interesting is that many times over the course of Season 1, the dish meets an untimely demise, whether it's full of chicken casserole at the time or not.
"It's Okay, I Have More!"
Despite the fact that the casserole dish is a vintage piece of Corningware that is no longer available, Anna is unbothered each time the dish get smashed, claiming she has more. And she does, because barely an episode goes by before the same casserole dish is seen again, pristine new, and full of the same chicken casserole.
In addition to the casserole dish crashing to the ground, Anna is constantly forgetting to use oven mitts when removing the casserole from the oven or microwave. Perhaps this is another clue that Anna might not be "all there" in her head?
Not to mention she's had the same handyman fixing her mailbox daily... for years. But I digress.
What IS The Casserole Dish Anna Uses?
The dish is a 1.5 quart Corningware dish in the vintage pattern - Blue Cornflower - from the popular mid-century line. I knew as soon as I saw the show that I wanted to get my hands on a casserole dish and create a blog post around it, so while I meant to post this recipe closer to the show's release date in late January 2022, I had to wait until I found a similar dish (for a reasonable price, heh heh)
I ended up finding the dish on eBay and paid around $25 for it, which I thought was reasonable for vintage Corningware. The only difference between my dish and Anna's is that mine has a glass lid, and Anna's has a solid lid printed with the pattern.
While you can't find the exact size dish if you want to purchase new, Corningware does have a couple of pieces of Blue Cornflower dishes available as a nod to the popular pattern: see them here.
The Details of Anna's Casserole
Now here's where you might get mad at me. In Episode 1, we get a montage of Anna actually preparing her casserole. We see her tenderizing some fresh chicken breast, pouring out a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, draining some pasta (it looks like egg noodles to me), adding some sort of white shredded cheese, and topping the whole thing with bread crumbs.
But when creating my own version, I took some creative freedom and drew from a scene later in the show when police officers show up at Anna's door and one of them notices (yet another) casserole sitting on her counter...
In the scene above, you can see the police offer asking for a slice of chicken casserole. The concoction that Anna put together in the paragraph above would not result in a casserole that's able to be sliced. Now, one could argue that since this police officer has no reason to know how Anna likes to make her casserole, his comment was made simply out of ignorance.
Alas, here's where I'm exercising my creative rights (or something...) and I chose to make a sturdier, almost meatloaf-like casserole that can, indeed, be sliced. My version uses ground chicken mixed with some sauteed aromatics for lots of flavor, and I kept Anna's inclusion of cheese and a buttered bread crumb topping.
But Here's A More Netflix-Accurate Version
If a more by-the-book (er, by-the-show) version of this chicken casserole fits your tastes a little better, then here's one you can whip together instead based on what I was able to piece together from Episode 1 of the show:
Anna's Chicken Casserole (Show Version)
- 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 2 cups cooked egg noodles
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (or Monterrey Jack)
- Additional seasonings (see below)
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs combined with ½ stick unsalted butter (melted)
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine first 4 ingredients in a 1.5 quart casserole dish. Top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden and casserole is heated through.
Anna is not seen adding any seasonings to her casserole, but I would recommend tasting the mixture before baking and stirring in pinches of salt, pepper, and/or other seasonings as desired or needed.
If you want the slice-able version that I came up with that's more reminiscent of a chicken meatloaf... scroll down to the recipe card!
What Should I Serve It With?
My version of Anna's Casserole is loaded with protein and would go great with any of your favorite vegetable side dishes. Add a buttered dinner roll or biscuit and you have a meal! Here are some ideas:
- Mashed potatoes, white or sweet
- Fried skillet potatoes with onions
- A loaded baked potato (or sweet potato)
- Roasted or steamed vegetables like Brussels sprouts, asparagus, carrots, or broccoli
- Cooked greens (turnip, collard, etc) with a few dashes of hot sauce
- Serve a slice over a seasoned bed of rice
And if you REALLY want to be accurate to the Netflix show... you could drink a whole bottle of red wine - that fits in a single glass - with this casserole, too! Not that I would recommend doing that at all, so... maybe don't do that.
Can This Casserole Be Frozen?
Yes, it can! You can assemble the unbaked casserole in an aluminum disposable baking dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and freeze for 3 months (for best quality) When planning to freeze, do not add the buttered bread crumps to the casserole. Wait until you're ready to bake the casserole to add the crumbs.
When ready to bake: I recommend defrosting the casserole overnight in the refrigerator, then top with buttered bread crumbs and bake according to recipe directions. You can, technically, bake it while still frozen, but it will take much longer to reach a safe internal temperature of 165F (90 - 120 minutes) and the bread crumb topping may get too brown during that time. If baking from frozen, add the bread crumbs halfway through the bake and tent with aluminum foil if needed to prevent over-browning.Print
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