Kerri Vau’s Chicken Spectacular

by Cate on August 18, 2008

There comes a time when we turn a blind eye to the nutritional stats on a recipe.  Why?  Because someone we love loves the recipe.  Now I need to pause for a second while The Husband picks himself up off the floor, since he’s unused to such public displays of verbal affection.  Ok, think we’re clear now.

Kerri Vau’s Chicken Spectacular.  I have no idea who Kerri Vau is, other than the fact that she’s a real estate agent in Ukiah, California, or she was back in 1997 when the recipe was published and I first made it.  [Tell me I’m not the only one who remembers such random information like when they first made a recipe!]  I got it from an issue of either Woman’s Day or Family Circle magazine.  Recipes from those two magazines look so identical in font and format, I can never tell them apart.  The only reason I remember when I first made the recipe is that I recall the surrounding circumstances of its second trip to our table.  It was in our second apartment, and we were busy planning our wedding.  One night, we were meeting with our wedding DJ (who, as an aside, totally let me go with the brain-dead move of having a mix for our first dance – ugh!), and since it was dinnertime, I offered him a plate of the casserole I had just made.  Between him and The Husband, they polished off the entire casserole dish.  Forget that it serves six. 

Now some eleven years later, there are very few recipes that I make like this … pour a can of this and a package of that into a casserole dish and bake.  I just roll a different way now.  But when I first made it, The Husband devoured it.  And as any good wife-to-be would, I made it semi-frequently because it was the only way he’d eat green beans.  And to this day, it remains the only way.  If you hide it, he’ll eat it.

I haven’t made the dish in the last few years or so, because it does way more for him than me, but when I do make it, it’s because he loves it.  I happened to come across the recipe clipping the other night, and in my quest to get all our tried-and-true recipes on the Sweetnicks site, I made it.  It was the first time I glanced at the nutritional stats.  Suffice it to say that some things are better left unknown.  The things we do for love…

When we sat down at the table recently to eat it, I watched him as he took the first few bites.

“What?” he asked, catching me looking at him.

“Nothing,” I said, and started eating myself.

“You haven’t made this in awhile,” he said.

Awww, he remembered.  Good man.  Good man.

Hungry for more chicken casserole recipes?
Serious Eats has a Southern version here.
Gluten-Free Mommy has a Broccoli Cheese Casserole.
Homesick Texan makes the very popular King Ranch Chicken Casserole.
Sarah from Sarah’s Cucina Bella takes a slightly different approach with her Tagine.
And Kalyn’s Kitchen shares a low-carb version here.

A year ago todayoverflow in the linens department.
Two years ago todaydiscovering an underutilized cookbook.
Three years ago todaysome things never change, including Nicholas’ continuing love for spaghetti with plain red sauce.

Kerri Vau’s Chicken Spectacular
Serves 6

1 package (6 ounces) wild and long-grain rice mix, cooked according to package directions
3 cups skinned and boned cooked chicken, cut in 1-inch pieces (I use rotisserie chicken)
1 can (15-1/2 oz) French-style green beans, drained, or 1 box (9 oz) frozen French-style green beans, thawed and drained
1 can (10-3/4 oz) condensed cream of celery soup
6 oz shredded Cheddar cheese (1-1/2 cups)
1 cup mayo (I use light)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 jar (2 oz) chopped pimientos

Heat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a 2-quart shallow ovenproof baking dish.  Mix all ingredients in casserole until blended.  (Wrap and refrigerate at this point if making ahead.)  Bake 25-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

claire August 18, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Yeah, with soup, cheese, and mayo this is one of those you don’t want to see the nutritional values. I bet Paula Deen would like this recipe, too! :-) I guess if you love someone, you’ll spoil them a bit!


Maria August 19, 2008 at 11:03 am

I feel like I missed the boat. The only one dish meal I’ve ever had I made up myself a few years ago. It contains shredded or cubed chicken, mushrooms, garlic, lots of cheese, and rice.

I think I’m going to added casseroles to my winter to-do list.


Kate August 19, 2008 at 5:55 pm

I make something similar every once in a (long) while — it’s one of the few things the boyfriend will take thirds of; and every single time he tells me I should make it more often.

Mine has swiss cheese instead of cheddar, sour cream instead of mayo, a little bit of sherry, cream of chicken soup instead of cream of celery, and is topped with breadcrumbs before baking. It’s actually just as good–and not nearly as guilt-inducing–with the 98% fat-free soup and low-fat sour cream.


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