So we haven't had a casserole in forever, so thought I would make this up tonight! It was really good - BUT it was really putsy....Brody was getting antsy by the end of it -- haha!! So if you have some time on your hands - or a helper - try it!
Ingredients: 12 oz wide egg noodles (7 3/4 cups) salt and pepper 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine 1 small onion, chopped fine 3 tablespoons all purpose flour 2 cups half-and-half 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and trimmed 4 ounces deli American cheese, chopped coarse 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed and patted dry 25 Ritz Crackers, crushed coarse
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a Dutch oven. Add noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until just al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain again and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl; set aside. In now-empty pot, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in half and half, a little at at time as you whisk to incorporate flour mixture and smooth out lumps. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, 8-10 minutes. (Chicken won’t be cooked all the way through, that’s okay)
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove pot from heat, transfer chicken to plate, and shred into bite-size pieces once cool enough to handle. Whisk American and cheddar cheeses into sauce until smooth. Stir shredded chicken, noodles, bell pepper mixture, peas, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/4 teaspoons pepper into cheese sauce.
Transfer mixture to 13×9 inch baking dish and top with crackers. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let casserole cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes.