Oh my goodness, this was a really yummy casserole! I found this online and it was so so good. And really, a pretty inexpensive dish to prepare, considering everyone typically has the spices already in their cupboard. I made a few changes to the recipe I found...can't wait for leftovers! The kids gobbled this one up. "You're the best mom in the whole world!" Gotta love that. I would think this would freeze really well for another day, or if you're making a meal for someone, just freeze before baking, then thaw and bake.
extra-virgin olive oil
2 7 oz bags fideo (Mexican vermicelli)
1 medium onion, chopped (I used about 1/2 an onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I might use a bit less of this if your kids don't like spicy food)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
32 oz chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I cooked & shredded 2 chicken breasts)
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
Sour cream, optional (this helps cool down the spiciness)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fideo and cook, stiring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the toasted noodles to a bowl. Set aside.
Add the onion to the skillet with an additional tablespoon of oil, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, coriander, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes to the pot. Add the cayenne pepper, increase the heat to high, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1-1/2 cups broth, the toasted fideo, salt, and pepper, to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes. Continue to add chicken broth to thin the mixture if needed while the noodles cook. When the noodles are tender, stir in the chicken.
Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, and cover loosely with foil. Bake until the cheese melts and the casserole is hot through and through, about 20 minutes. If desired, serve with some sour cream drizzled over the top.