Tonight I'm invited to a party that will feature homemade limoncello, and all of the guests have been asked to bring lemon-y foods. I was going to go for some kind of obvious dessert, but then I remembered a casserole recipe that I was pretty sure was buried in my recipe box.
The card is in my handwriting, so there's no telling where it originated (although the presence of Miracle Whip as an ingredient suggests that it may have come from Kraft). It was intended to be served as individual portions in bowls made from deep-fried egg roll wrappers.
For practical reasons, I'm not going to spend my afternoon making a dozen little fried bowls and then attempt to keep them intact on a 30-minute car trip, so I've modified the recipe to sidestep that requirement.
Lemon Chicken Casserole
- 2 tsp. minced onion
- 1 cup minced celery
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup Miracle Whip
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. grated lemon peel
- 2 3/4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
- 1 cup chow mein noodles or other crispy fried noodles
- Mix together the onion, celery, almonds, Miracle Whip, salt, lemon juice, lemon peel and chicken.
- Place in a standard casserole dish and top with cheese followed by fried noodles.
- Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned on top.
If you want to go the individual portion route, form each egg roll wrapper into a bowl around an empty 1-pound metal can, deep fry (removing the can before the wrapper hardens too thoroughly) and drain on paper towels. Fill each with a scoop of the hot casserole (sans chow mein noodles) and serve.
I haven't had this dish in years but I remember it being quite tangy from the lemon, Miracle Whip and sharp cheddar. I'm looking forward to trying it again this evening.
Post-Cooking Update: I found a big container of fried wontons at my grocery store in the deli/bakery section. I crunched some up to make about a cup of crumbs for the top of the casserole and it was delicious.
Also, I'd like to give a shout-out to my Pampered Chef microplane grater. It was the best tool for zesting a lemon that I have ever used. I'm not being compensated in any way for that opinion, but it had to be said.
Photo credit: Moyan Brenn