A Quick Casserole Starts With Cream Of Mushroom And Chicken Soups

Creamy canned mushroom and chicken soups have long been featured in recipes for quick cooking, making dinner time easy and tasty for all palettes. These tinned kitchen stars are versatile enough for a wide range of dishes, including (and especially) casseroles. Who doesn't love a down-home mix-up of proteins, veggies, starches, and warm, soupy goodness, all baked in a single baking dish? Even better, these recipes are usually ready within an hour. 

Some casserole recipes call for plopping all the ingredients, including the cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups, directly into the baking dish. Others, including our recipe for classic chicken casserole, require cooking the meat and starch separately before combining them with everything else inside the casserole pan. This is typically a good idea when components have differing cook times. In this case, the chicken gets boiled for about 15 minutes first, while the egg noodles take only five minutes to reach al dente status before heading to the oven. 

Regardless of how you build a casserole, it bakes to comfort food status when infused with these two canned soups. Seasoned chefs may have perfected the art of soup-based casseroles, but developing new ideas based on personal taste and family proclivities is also fun. After all, you're creating a new generation of comfort foods using canned condensed soups popularized more than 100 years ago. 

Casserole ideas using cream of mushroom and chicken soups

It's important to note that cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups are condensed, meaning they're generally not intended for direct consumption without adding other liquids. Left in their thick, creamy, condensed state, these two soups are belles of the casserole ball. You can mostly thank Dr. John T. Dorrance for this; he's the accepted inventor of condensed soups, including Campbell's Cream of Mushroom

Today's casserole recipes using his invention largely depend on the ingenuity of home cooks. Tasting Table's recipe creator, Molly Pisula, notes that her classic chicken casserole recipe, made with cream of mushroom and chicken soups, conjures memories of warming childhood casseroles emerging from her mother's oven. In her twist on a chicken casserole, she mixes pre-cooked boneless chicken breasts and al dente egg noodles with both the condensed soups, then adds sour cream, thyme, and oregano and tops it with breadcrumbs and melted butter. 

On super busy days — or even lazy ones — many home cooks opt for one-pan-wonder casseroles using either one (or both) condensed soups. Classic tuna and green bean casseroles typically call for a can of cream of mushroom, as does a simplified beef stroganoff, which, in its original form, employs fresh mushrooms. Or, you can create a quick and yummy one-dish casserole by mixing uncooked rice with both types of condensed soups, adding a layer of sliced carrots and celery, and topping with cubed, uncooked chicken breast.