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A creamy casserole for those chilly fall nights

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 12:01 am

Just as summer demands salads, fall calls for casseroles.

The combination of a chill in the air and the chaos of kids heading back to school means many families are looking for easy, warming one-pot meals that come together quickly and with little mess or fuss.

So when we created this recipe, we kept things simple. In fact, to cut down on mess and time, it is mixed right in the dish it is baked in. We also turned to that ultimate workhorse of the weeknight kitchen — the rotisserie chicken. Add a few vegetables and a creamy sauce made from pantry staples, and dinner's on the table in no time.

Some folks may turn up their noses at using cream-of-anything soup in a casserole. But busy families have been turning to it for decades for three simple reasons — it works, it's delicious and it's effortless.

CREAMY CHICKEN AND POTATO CASSEROLE

Bagged hash brown potatoes (not the frozen type) can be found in the refrigerator section of your grocer, often near the eggs.

Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active)

Servings: 8

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

10 3/4-ounce can condensed cream-of-chicken soup

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

20-ounce package hash brown potatoes

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 cup green beans, cut into pieces

1/2 cup grated carrot

Meat from a 2-pound rotisserie chicken, cubed, skin and bones discarded

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish, stir together the mayonnaise, soup, milk, pepper, salt, thyme and garlic powder. Stir in the potatoes, zucchini, green beans, carrots and chicken. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and the breadcrumbs. Bake for 40 minutes, or until bubbling and the vegetables are tender.

Per serving: 420 calories; 120 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 100 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 32 g protein; and 700 mg sodium.